TiPb Advisory: Not a Developer and Thinking of Going to 3.0? Think Twice!

When Apple released iPhone OS 2.0 over a year ago, very few people had access to the betas and screenshots were few and far between. Was it because early developers were seasoned, professional Mac veterans who took the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) seriously? Who knows. What we do know is that iPhone OS 3.0, following last Tuesday's beta release, is running rampant over the internet. Somewhat less than honorable "developers" are even offering to "sell" access to the 3.0 beta. Yikes.

This has led to a lot of users getting, or at least thinking about getting, the 3.0 beta for their own iPhones.

Well, think carefully. And think twice!

This is not finished software. This is a beta, and not in the Google/Gmail perpetual meaningless beta sense. This is a true beta in that it is not meant for production iPhones, used as primary devices, out in the real world.

Who knows what kind of de-bug, trace, non-optimized, or generally not finished code is running in the current, and first iPhone OS 3.0 beta.

If you're a legitimate developer, using 3.0 on a test device to check for compatibility for your apps and report bugs back to Apple is one thing. To think you can use it for regular, day-to-day use is quite another.

It may be slow. Lists may disappear. Sound may cut out. Connection may time out. Battery time may worsen. 3rd party apps may crash or otherwise not work well. And you may need to reset your iPhone daily, if not several times a day, to work around the beta nature of the current build. That's what happens with a real beta.

Also, these beta's expire, and if you don't have quick access to the next beta, you'll be without your iPhone -- and that's assuming Apple doesn't wait hours or days between expiry and the next beta release.

And dropping back down to 2.2.1 isn't always easy. The baseband is changed, and hacking back to 2.2.1 has left some users with issues they didn't have previously as well.

So, yes, iPhone OS 3.0 has lots of amazing features, and we hope very much it will be killer stable come "summer"-time when Apple releases it via iTunes for everyone.

Until then, read our iPhone 3.0 walkthrough. Watch Apple's video. If you're not into testing pre-release software, if you're not patient, if you need a reliable, primary iPhone, if you want it to "just work" think twice before loading the iPhone 3.0 beta. Then think again. One look at our forums shows it isn't a smooth ride.

(And tech pundits who've told readers and listeners it's no big deal, and to go for it, should also think twice and remember they're often cutting edge users themselves, with many devices to fall back on -- not the case for everyone.)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

TiPb Advisory: Not a Developer and Thinking of Going to 3.0? Think Twice!


I'm JB, and so I'm patient. Maybe...one day...I won't HAVE to be JB. Ahhh - the words to John Lennon's "Imagine" are coming to mind. ;)

I can state without reservation, please wait. If I had to do it all over again, I would have. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back to 2.X once you make the upgrade. 3.0 bugs and performance issues are not theoretical. I reboot my phone now several times daily. Battery life is worse. My phone just freezes up for ten or fifteen seconds at a time (which is really annoying when the phone is ringing and you can't pick it up).
I have no doubt these problems will be fixed before shipment, but do yourself a favor. Wait for the final code.

you guys kill me who are you to tell people what they can and cant do with the phone they paid for a freind of mine uses it everyday with not a probllem at all and you guys come on here and give all these reasons not to upgrade why dont you just let people do with they want do you honestly believe becasue of this blog it will deterr people from installing it your dead wrong

There is lots of bugs so far in 3.0, so I've no idea why a non developer would want to use it.

Everybody complained about the release version of 2.0, but this 3.0 beta is a million times worse than that. Virtually every aspect of the OS is buggy. Sometimes buttons just aren't there. I think I can actually watch how Safari loads and renders web pages, which used to just happen in the background. Every app I have has crashed. I sacrifice two goats to the gods every time I try to launch the iPod app, in hopes they will have mercy on my iPhone.

They're not telling people not to do it, they're advising people not to do it. Big difference. Take your mommy and daddy issues elsewhere.

Learn not to make such horrible run-on sentences. And they are advising, not telling people to do a anything.

Really, @Matty...it's pretty silly to suggest that the contributors of this blog (who are simply voicing their recommendations) have any control over its readers. :-/

Well, I think this post completely goes without saying. Beta is beta no matter what a developer's spin on it. But it is beta, not alpha. By beta, most things should generally be working but potentially require workarounds. Bugs are possible, at any stage of the game.
Personally, there is enough new stuff going on in this beta that if it meant giving up a few items (like my beloved jailbreak) in order to experience and test them out then I'd be all for it. I guess that makes me one of those geeky early adopter types. When I was a Treo user, I was one of those who applied beta firmware images from overseas leaks to get fixes ASAP that Palm wasn't letting out the GA door fast enough too.
To each his own... but beta is exactly that no matter who says it. Just because Google may have deadened people's sensitive to the term, it doesn't mean I trust my data any more with those products than I do with anyone else's beta -- and it's why I have been very slow to adopt many of the newer google tools in daily use.

I loaded the beta earlier this week just because it gave my iphone a bit of intrigue again. The beta does have bugs and I found a couple again today. Can I live with them knowing that my iphone has taken a massive leap forward and made me take it about to show people again. Its Fantastic - copy and paste is great, search is great, MMS is great, ipod works - sound vanished after I tried the voice recorder - but I love it. It makes me feel involved and I am even considering buying a mac because I feel someone cares enough to dish out a beta that I think is as good as any sony ericsoon Symbian release I every had.
Keep it up.

Matty sounds like he thinks he deserves the non released 3.0 software. I say... Go get it matty, you'll get exactly what you deserve. Oh! And don't forget to tell all your freinds to get it too! They will love you for it!
Btw... Excellent article!

a friend f mine uses it and its just fine you people kill me go kill a zipper head if ya got problems otherwise opinions are your own which are worth nothing

Yes, you clearly have a problem with people telling you what to do. You should take that up with your parents, not tipb. I'm sorry if your curfew never exceeded 11:00 PM, but the last thing you should do is take it out on us. That's being passive agressive. That's a no-no. M'kay?

At the end of the day if you are not a dev and were given a copy or a bittorrent you have no right to use the bloody f/w anyway. Stop whineing that tipb have actually taken the time to advise the impatient that they might render thier iPhone useless.
Would you steal you car before it left the factory when you were going to pick it up from the dealer anyway in a month when it was finishedb eing built? Thought not.

I have the 3.0 fw and it's sometimes laggy but IMO better than the released 2.0 and no dropped calls. I can live with this and cut and paste and mms. Enjoy going to the archaic viewmymessage.com site.

The fact that the 3.0 release this summer is likely to be screwy, there's no way in Hell I'd touch it now.

I am using safari 4.0 and its a beta - enjoy 3.0. Not all in life is error free. It makes for an interesting life and stop pot shoting at each other.

I am going to sell it 150 per apple account. 50 bucks profit per account. Lulz to that, pwn the noobs who say no. Money is had, and it aint no thing. peace!

3.0 BETA 2 has no issues. Works very fast and smooth!! Even better than 2.2.1!!!! Try it yourself!! Click on the link above!!!