iOS 12 public beta: Should you install it?

The iOS 12 public beta is out. But should you install it? Is it slow and buggy? What's battery life like? Will it kill your iPhone?

The iOS 12 public beta that Apple promised back at WWDC 2018 has finally landed. But should you install it on your iPhones, iPads, or iPod touch devices?

See also : Apple products you shouldn't buy (June 2018 edition)

As with most things in life, the answer is "it depends."

I've been running the iOS 12 developer preview beta on test devices for a couple of weeks now and my feelings about it are somewhat mixed. I've gone into some detail about this here, but here are the highlights:

  • It's a beta, and there are plenty of bugs (as you'd expect). That said, it's not as terrible as the iOS 11 beta at this point in time.
  • Performance issues such as frame drops and lags are still present.
  • Performance on older devices is not great, but it's become better with the latest developer release. On a zero to 10 scale, going from unbearable to awesome, I'd have to say that the iOS 12 beta hovers around a 2 to 3, whereas the same hardware running iOS 11 feels closer to a 4 or 5.
  • Performance is interesting. Benchmark tests suggest that iOS 12 is faster than iOS 11 on the same hardware, but in the real world apps feel laggy and irritating to use. However, on the upside, accessing the keyboard and camera both feel faster, smoother, and more reliable.

OK, but should you install it?

If you've got an older iPhone you can throw it onto to play with, then why not. If your only iPhone or iPad is also your daily driver, then I'd say if you have to ask that sort of question, my answer is going to be a resounding "no." Running betas on the device you're trying to use for real work is a great way to have you hating your life.

OK, so you still want the iOS 12 public beta. Here's how to get it.

If you want access to the public beta, you need to sign up for it. You can do that here. Before you go any further, you might want to look at my list of precautions and caveats related to running beta software on your iPhone. At the very least I suggest you have a full backup of your device done (I recommend you make an encrypted local backup using iTunes).

If you do decide to run iOS 12 public beta, and later realize that it's making you hate life, you can uninstall it by following these instructions.

Good luck!

Previous and related coverage:

iOS 12/watchOS 5/tvOS 12: Which devices are supported?

iOS 12 brings some good news for you folks running older iPhones and iPads. But when it comes to watchOS 5, 1st-generation Apple Watches are left out in the cold (even if yours is the $10K solid gold Edition version!).

The 10 best smartphones of 2018

A couple more phones have been launched since MWC and further use of others encouraged us to update the list of top smartphones.

iOS 12: The hidden feature I won't be switching on

Given how unstable some iOS updates can be, I don't think I'll be switching on the iOS 12 automatic update feature anytime soon.

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