Apple on July 7 released beta versions of its newest mobile and computer operating systems, iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, which anyone can choose to download. If you want to experience the latest innovations in putting stickers in text messages and notification windows before the vast majority of iPhone and Mac users, all you have to do is sign up on Apple’s website.
But unless you’re a fan of living on the digital edge, you should probably hold off until the fully tested versions of the operating systems are released in the autumn.
As Joanna Stern at the Wall Street Journal points out (paywall), if there are any bugs with the new software and you want to revert to older, non-problematic software, it’s a bit of a hassle. You have to delete the beta from your phone, and restore a backup of your phone from iTunes—something you should always have handy if you’re planning on installing unfinished software.
Beta operating systems can be unstable, crash suddenly, act unexpectedly, and even potentially render your phone useless.
If you have an older phone or laptop, there’s an even higher chance that something could go wrong, as Apple tends to start developing software for its most newest products first, and working back from there.
And even if there are no glaring bugs in Apple’s operating systems, you may find that not all of your apps are compatible with iOS 10 yet, as many developers are still working on updating their apps before the full launch in the fall. Quartz’s own Sam Williams, who co-developed our iOS app, has held off from downloading the new operating system. “Most developers aren’t installing it yet on their personal phones,” he says. “And if they aren’t willing to risk it, best if everybody else holds off.”
If you’re still willing to take the risk, you’ll first have to register with Apple as a public beta tester, and the company will send you instructions on how to install the software. Or you could just wait a couple more months until the software’s ready.