With beta software comes beta responsibility

iOS 9 for iPhone and iPad, and OS X El Capitan have just gone into public beta. And that means it's time once again to gently remind everyone—including ourselves!—that Wheaton's Law is in full effect. So, what does that means?

Betas are not advanced access programs

The iOS and OS X public betas, like the developer betas, aren't sneaky ways to get the finished, release quality software dropped into your iPhone, iPad, or Mac a few months early.

They're just what they say up front—beta. There will be bugs. There will be compatibility issues. There will be frustrations galore.

Not for daily drivers

Choosing to install beta software is just that—a choice. It's a declaration that we're okay leaving the safe, sure path of release software and are willing to take the rougher, less stable path that comes with testing unfinished software.

If anything goes wrong, it's on us. That's why Apple advises against installing the beta on your primary iPhone or iPad, and why you really should listen to that advice, especially if your devices are critical to your daily life, education, or business.


Third, betas have bugs. That's what betas are for—testing to find and hopefully fix all the bugs. iMore doesn't report on beta bugs because they're not public facing. For the vast majority of mainstream customers still running the release version of iOS, they simply don't exist.

If you find a bug, absolutely please report it, and as soon and as often as possible.

Review restraint

Some apps might not work properly sometimes. Though iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan appear to be largely compatible with previous versions, you never know when edge cases will present themselves. That means, from time to time, apps might crash, freeze, or otherwise behave strangely.

Sometimes developers can fix that by updating the existing app. If they need to update for iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan specifically, however, there's nothing they can do right now. And it'll stay that way

Be patient, be kind, be cool

All this to say, if you install iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan—or any beta software—it's on you. Don't complain that Apple ruined your iPhone or iPad, don't expect a bug-free experience, and whatever you do, please do not leave bad reviews for apps that don't work properly with the beta software you chose to install.

You put on your big beta pants. You proclaimed yourself a higher order geek. Accept everything that came with it...

...at least until the release versions ship this fall. Then it's open season.