How to Safely Update to iOS 18 Developer Beta

Apple’s iOS 18 Developer betas offer a glimpse of the new features and functions coming to the iPhone this fall. However, installing them on your primary device can be a risky proposition. These software updates are mostly released early so that developers can test their apps on the upcoming software.

But if you’re not a developer and still want to check out these updates, you can check out this guide before installing the beta. Here’s what you need to know.

Benefits of installing the iOS 18 beta

1. Early access to new features

Early access to the new iOS 18 is very exciting. For me, it goes beyond curiosity. Getting my hands on the beta allows me to report software bugs and test new features.

A few months ago, Apple introduced iOS 18. It includes a number of new features, from the revamped Photos app to the highly anticipated Apple Intelligence. The stable public version will arrive in the fall of 2024. However, you can get early access to the Developer and Public Beta versions if you sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program.

In iOS 18 Developer Beta 3, I can customize Control Center, adjust the sizes of app icons on the Home screen, and request Remote Control via Screen Share, among other things. Of course, not all the features are available yet. We may gradually see more as Apple releases subsequent iOS betas, although Apple Intelligence will likely arrive much later.

2. Apple needs your opinion

One of the reasons Apple releases betas is because it needs a diverse group of testers, including developers and regular iPhone users. iOS 18 is still new, and the company understands that there are a lot of hidden bugs to work out. The fastest way for developers to address issues and fix them is for volunteers to proactively explore the new iOS environment.

3. Technology enthusiast

For tech geeks like me, the chance to tinker with unreleased features is pure gold. That’s why I jumped at the chance to investigate the iOS 18 Developer beta. With early entry, not only can I test out new features myself, but I can also use my experience to create helpful guides for other Apple fans.

Sure, there might be a little bragging when you show off that sleek new interface to your non-techie friends (we’ve all been there!). But the real reward is the knowledge and the chance to be a part of Apple’s innovation.

The Dangers of Beta

While the benefits described above may seem tempting, you should be aware of the risks that come with using a Developer Beta version.

1. Performance issues

Since the day I updated my iPhone to the iOS 18 beta, the battery life has been terrible. It gets really hot while charging and the app crashes are also annoying.

This is one of the biggest drawbacks of installing beta versions. As mentioned, such software updates are in their raw form and are expected to cause performance issues that you may not want on your main device.

2. Application Compatibility Issues

If you like peace and quiet, betas are not for you. It is highly likely that many apps that run on the new version of iOS will crash. Additionally, some app features that you rely on may unexpectedly disappear or work incorrectly during the beta stage.

3. Data loss

It doesn’t happen very often, but it is possible and you could lose all of your data, such as media, contacts, documents, etc. It is extremely important to have a solid backup plan in place before installing any beta software.

4. Reduce the chaos level

I came across many posts on Reddit and the Apple Forum where Apple users were asking for help downgrading to iOS 17. This can be a complex process and may require completely wiping your device, thereby deleting all data.

Image Sources: Reddit

How to prepare for beta installation

The drawbacks may seem daunting, but there are a few steps you can take to safely test betas. Follow these steps before updating to iOS 18 Developer Beta:

Get a second device

Avoid installing beta versions, especially Developer Beta versions, on your primary device. In most cases, developers who often test new beta versions use their second iPhone.

This allows you to explore beta features without compromising the stability and security of your everyday device. You can use an old iPhone if it’s still compatible, or buy a used model online.

Create a backup

If you don’t have a spare iPhone, it’s important to back up your main phone. This will act as a safety net in case you accidentally wipe your device during the update process.

Here are some backup options:

1. iCloud backup

Using iCloud is the fastest and most convenient way to back up your data. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone and click your name at the top.Click on your name in the Settings appClick on your name in the Settings app
  2. To choose iCloud Settings.Select iCloud and open itSelect iCloud and open it
  3. Now slide down and under Device backups, touch iCloud backup.Turn on iCloud backupTurn on iCloud backup
  4. Make sure Back up this iPhone it is on.
  5. Then tap Back up now.Click Back Up NowClick Back Up Now

Follow the on-screen instructions to back up your device to the Apple server. You may need to purchase additional storage space, as Apple only provides 5 GB for free.

2. Create a backup on your computer

If you don’t want to buy more space, you can back up your data directly to your computer. Connect your iPhone to your MacBook and use the Finder to sync your files.

Once you have done all of the above, open the Settings app and go to General > Software Update > Beta Updates. Select iOS 18 Developer Beta to start the update.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Mac, you can also check out the macOS 15 Developer beta. I suggest checking app compatibility first to make sure you’ll still have access to your favorite personal and professional apps.