TiPb Advisory: Not a developer and thinking of going to 4.0? Think twice!


iPhone OS 4.0 is already readily available over the internet. Somewhat less than honorable “developers” are even offering to “sell” access to the 4.0 beta. This has led to a lot of users getting, or at least thinking about getting, the 4.0 beta for their own iPhones (it's currently not even loading on iPod touches -- and forcing complete restores for recovery, so don't even consider that at the moment!). Well before you take the jump think carefully. And think twice!

Read more after the break!

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 4.0 beta. If you’re a legitimate developer, using 4.0 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.

First kiss iTunes backups goodbye and don't expect working multitasking as no 3rd party apps have been updated to support it. 4.0 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. You get the idea and 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 the previous build isn’t always easy or possible.

So, yes, iPhone OS 4.0 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 4.0 coverage. 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 4.0 beta. Then think again. One look at our developer forum 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.)


Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

More Posts



← Previously

Apple debuts "Shopper" iPhone commercial

Next up →

Adobe fires back at Apple over cross-compiler ban

There are 59 comments. Add yours.

Baustin says:

This is kind of like saying don't use a hair dryer in the bath tub....but it needs to be said

Mitchell says:

So who has the link? Someone post it into this !!!

Edie says:

This OS 4.0 is seriously amazing! I can't wait. The 7 out of 100 new features already surpassed what I wanted. iPhone 2010 will be a success! (:

Rob says:

I am not a developer and I now have 4.0 installed, and I have to say it is good but proper buggy, this is my only phone but that's the chance u take, as I said it's good though :-)

jonar1us says:

thanx for the warning... ;-)

Cuthain says:

While this advice is sound (if a bit alarmist in delivery), it gets a little old hearing it after every release.

Craig says:

Yeah baustin why can't I use the hair dryer in the bath tub?

Monster says:

Works just fine for me , the only things we dont have access to right now is iBooks and iAd and a few other things but everything else is working great. all my Apps work i can back up and restore with iTunes just fine. the Mail is sweet able to check all emails in one in box. Folders is great way to clean up your iPhone. Multitasking works Great!! the backgroound for the lock screen and home screen also work. i noticed alot of people posting that they dont have these features ?? maybe you have it installed on a 3G which is going to lack alot. keep it 3GS!!!!

cyberbob says:

@Monster: Which "apps" are working for you in the background that aren't the native apps already capable of running in the background. So far, my apps close down and start back up the way the always did. I'm a dev and can tell you from running this and the betas before it, don't do it. This build may be stable enough for now, but in the last betas for 3.0, some of the newer builds were much worse than the original. And if you get stuck with a crappy build and can't go back, you'll be kicking yourself.
It's risky enough if you are a dev and have access to some sort of support and multiple devices, but if you are dealing with the dregs who are violating the Apple agreements to sell you a spot, you pretty much deserve what you get. How can you trust those who'll underhandedly do this to continue to provide you updates in the firmware.

Jeremy says:

@Cuthain, the reason for the warning is simply due to the sheer amount of emails we get that start out with "help me with iPhone 4.0!"... Or "multitasking does not work!?"...

nick sabin says:

Can someone tell me if you can put a folder in a folder? I doubt it but I thought I'd ask anyway.

dloveprod says:

Whatever you do if your on windows with no mac don't pay them 99 dollars, 4.0 won't install with itunes on windows.

iMuggle says:

This is good advice. I recently posted up a blog about the same thing.
@Dionte if you aren't a developer, you shouldn't have 4.0 to begin with. And any developer would know, you do NOT install a beta with iTunes! You install it with Xcode! Whether mac OR pc. and if you don't have a mac, you don't have ACCESS to Xcode and the full SDK, which means you can't develop, and have no business with 4.0 as of now anyways. Betas are released for compatibility and as a benefit for developers and those working on apps.
I am with Jeremy on this. I woke up to a plethora of e-mails this morning asking for me to add them to a developer account or why 4.0 wasn't multitasking and why it was laggy. It's a BETA. If you are not a developer, you should not have it installed. Point blank.
If your UDID is NOT on file with Apple in the developer portal, when the official is launched through iTunes, you're going to have some problems.

Carl says:

I seriously enjoy blow drying my hair before getting out of the tub. It really is more efficient, but I guess it's not for everybody.

Carl says:

No folder in folder Nick.

Matt Weimer says:

Thanks for the post Jeremy haha. Glad my thought made it to the front. Just for a note, I do have a touch aswell. Just a little too curious I am.

Monster says:

i have Dev. Account also. i know what im doing why are you so negative? this is suppose to be fun but from the sounds of it you may be one of those grumpy Developers thats sits in a dark room 24/7 writing code if so im sorry.
as for the Apps that i have ArcadeHoops, AngryBirds, Waldo, alot of photo apps, Pandora works great!!
enjoying 4.0!!
@nick Sabin
yea no you cant put a folder into a folder.

Zak Saber says:

I'm enjoying OS 4.0, but I might restore now

Lady Kaede says:

Nice public service announcement. Thanks Rene. It seems apparent that few of your regulars are developers (unfortunately - this place would be great for them).

iMuggle says:

lmao, i have a hard time believing you are a developer when you just made false claims regarding multi-tasking and you obviously do not understand. just because an app shows up in the multitasking bar, does NOT mean it is multitasking. FYI, I also have Waldo, does not multitask. Shows up in bar, does not open back up to where you left off, opens at the beginning. lmao. The game does not have 4.0 multitasking support yet, neither do any of the apps you just listed.
@Evil Homer is simply telling you what responsible devs would already know.

Matt Weimer says:

It really seems like its some sort of secret society ( or trying to be ), I mean congratulations you have the Beta. What if I paid for the Developers Account. Still wouldn't mean I know what I am doing on there. But I have all iPhones since release and have own Mac's for over 12 years, so I get just as excited like everyone else and wanna see how the new 4.0 runs. I'm not going to write on my super secret blog about the 'Bugs' simply just want to use it.

macharborguy says:

not even gonna touch the beta. although the simulator would be nice, I am not the type of geek that can afford to left my phone screw up because I installed not-ready-for-release software.

iMuggle says:

@Rob, you are one of the first sensible posts on here! Congrats!
@Matt Weimer it isn't a super secret society, it's called we work on apps and develop. yes, some people buy the dev license to install betas, congrats, you paid 100$ to have a free firmware 8 weeks or so early. the point is, it is not STABLE. it is not meant to be installed on a device you rely on, but on a TESTING device, for ....TESTING. Developers have access to this so the general public can enjoy their apps being 4.0 compatible out the door on launch day. I really don't see what is so hard to understand about that.

Matt Weimer says:

It is completely easy to understand. I didn't just get an iPhone yesterday. Like I said in a previous post I have an iPhone AND an iTouch. Maybe it is hard for you to understand, I simply want it to try it out. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I have a secondary device I can use so why not? Just for kicks. I really don't see what is so hard to understand about that.

Monster says:

@iMuggle what do you want a video??? im sorry it doesnt work for you.. do you want a screen shot of my dev. account?

BrianTufo says:

this is getting intense. i'm just going to wait for the final polished 4.0 and be on my merry way!

Matt(sZ) says:

Monster, you're lying, point blank...
The updated Pandora that supports multitasking isn't available, and I'd absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to see some of your iTunes syncing action on video.
Maybe you accidently downloaded OS 4.1.... Smfh

Mitchell says:

Someone please tell me how to update to the 4.0 software without a dev account! And how to do it please I beg you!

John says:

How does the Bluetooth keyboard API work for those brave enough to try it. This and multitasking are the only things I wanted from 4.0. All I need now is for ATT to get their AZZ in gear and let loose tethering.

Mitchell says:

@Rob how do you have it? Cab you help me please?

Monster says:

will post link to video as soon as its up....

Gopi says:

I'm wondering whether a 3G iPad and the beta on my iPhone would be a good pairing. Unified inbox and Bluetooth keyboard would rock. Make iPhone more usable.
How well does swapping keyboard between devices work? Current iPhone can't be prodded into outgoing to a device, so the keyboard will only talk to the last device you paired. Have to repair from scratch if the device doesn't have a "make outgoing" option.

Mitchell says:

@Monster how do you do it, please help me I need this

cyberbob says:

@Monster: I'm not being negative but I'm telling you that their are software rewrites that have to be done to the existing apps before they will multitask. Unless you have access to a pre-release of Pandora, it's not running in the background. I have Pandora running as well and as soon and you switch to another app, it will PAUSE it but it will not continue playing while you do something in another app. I appears to pickup the song where it left off when you open it again, but that's it. That is not multitasking.
However, since you claim to be a dev, I will wait and see if this old dog can learn a new trick from you and reserve judgement until I see your proof. Also, anyone who claims to be a dev does not accuse other devs of sitting in a dark room, coding in isolation. That's a stereotype you picked up from a movie or something. You probably think the tech in "Hackers" is real too... :-)

tail24 says:

For 3.0 I bought a developers code and got to use 3.0 beta 3 4 and 5. Then I took a over Memorial Day weekend for a long weekend then one of the betas crashed, I was phoneless for the whole weekend and didnt have a laptop to update/rollback from it sucked. I should have thought to update to newest beta before I went a way but hey thats the risk with dealing with betas.

dloveprod says:

Both of my mac friends fell through today, gosh darnit!

Carolinamic says:

I had an experience like tail24 on 3.0, but I didn't have the developers license or a laptop to get in touch with the dude that I bought it from. The worst part about my experince though was that the Verizon of the beta that I had time out right before the plane I was on took off. I was highly pissed. I had to go the whole time of my trip without my phone/iPod. That was enuff for me to not think twice about a beta, but that's just me.

Mitchell says:

Can someone provide a download please !

killakow says:

@evilhomer can i have your autograph? faggot

Matt(sZ) says:

I have a feeling that "Killer" is "Monster", and Mitchell, just be patient dude, this beta release isn't stable enough for everyday use, as of now you'd be better off jailbreaking your device, that's if you aren't already on 3.1.3

Art VanBurenBoy says:

Guess monster is trying to figure out how to post a video. Lmao

Monster says:

video is ready , I'll upload it after dinner. Don't want to upset my wife/sister. :lol:

Zak Saber says:

I had fun with OS 4.0 beta 1, but I downgraded back to OS 3.1.3. The beta was too buggy.

Anto says:

Do u guys really think 100 features are for real? I gueas it is just the way steve being hyperbolic not literally true.

Art VanBurenBoy says:

when 3.0 was announced , they said it'd have 100 new feautres too. But there was probably a dozen true , useful actual updates.
Same goes for this one.

YourMobileGuru says:

LOL All the more reason to love the Droid. Custom roms...

iquinn says:

@Monster So where is that video? Like everyone else is saying the apps are not yet ready to work with OS 4.0. It really is people like you that screw up sites like this for honest users that may not know about the beta nature of 4.0. I am a web dev and even I am not going to mess with 4.0 until Apple says that it is ready. This would be like me sending a link to one of my dev sites before all the testing has been done to just anyone. @iMuggle @EvilHomer, thanks for keeping it real and looking out for the rest of the users on this site. And thanks to TiPb for this blog post

Crunch says:

Yup. OS 4 is great. No more jailbreak necessary for multitasking. :D

Alexander Felke says:

You would have to be a complete idiot if you where to download iPhone4 or even buy it since Apple can release updates at any time that render the current beta useless and thus your device in 30 seconds. Being a registered developer of course I downloaded the beta, but I wonder what the NDA is worth when there's screenshots and feature lists showing up on the web.

Wyatt says:

I am no developer yet, but reading through these posts I am shocked and rather disappointed with some of what I have read. Beta anything is just that; a testing bed for the upcoming product. It is incomplete, full of bugs, partly untested and mostly not supported by the issuing company. So if you call yourself a developer and are telling people that it is okay to install you are acting irresponsibly without conscious or regard for your own actions. If you're not a developer an doing the same thing then you are no different. Beta software is for testing an not regular use and you shouldn't be promoting anything but that. I'm not trying to take any moral high ground as I like to have fun and check out beta stuff too but, you can't go download stuff all willy nilly and expect it to just be okay. You better know what you are dealing with because I you lose anyhing important it may be permanent, no one will be able to help you and you can't blame anyone.
Anyway, it is unfortunate that warning like this have to be posted but some people just don't listen and try to call foul later when something permanently breaks just like when iPhone OS 3.0 was in beta. A few people had issues upgrading to the official "Gold Master" all for the sake of having it first. Sometimes it's just not worth it. 'Nuf said.

Julie L. says:

Interesting, you guys going on about how buggy 4.0 beta is... I'm betting that the released 4.0 will be buggy as heck. No way I'm going to update my 3GS before 4.1 (or before I have a good look at the postings of early adopters).

Matt(sZ) says:

It won't Julie, that's the entire purpose of it being seeded to developers, it won't be as buggy as it is in it's current state.

antonioj says:

To make things clear: there are apps that now stay in background that didn't before in 3.x, theire just not 3rd party apps: Clock, Settings, Photos, Notes, all Apple apps - they all multitask in 4.0 beta 1

Akalan says:

When does 4.0 beta 1 expire??

Children says:

There is apparently an important bundle for you to realize about it. I actually feel you have made certain good things inside capabilities in addition.

Bed Bugs Extermination says:

Don’t let the bed bugs bite, that had been an old timer saying coming from days past, these days it’s true again why?