PSA: iOS 13 Beta Is Bad, Stay Away From It

iOS 12 betas really spoiled us. They were surprisingly stable. Stable enough to be a daily driver. iOS 13 beta is not that. It’s quite bad. It’s filled with weird UI glitches, functionality and privacy bugs. Not to mention the battery issues. Plus, iCloud syncing for some apps is broken. This is true for both the developer betas and the public betas. Yes, the dark mode is epic, but you should wait for the final release in fall to try it out.

Why You Shouldn’t Install iOS 13 Beta Right Now

If you follow Apple bloggers on Twitter, you might be familiar with the stability concerns over iOS 13 betas. Ever since the first iOS 13 beta came out, the writing was on the wall. And it did not get much better with Beta 2 and Beta 3. This was going to be a rough couple of months for the handful of us Apple writers and developers who have to run iOS beta builds for work.

But if you’re one of those adventurous people who likes installing iOS betas for fun, you should probably find a new hobby for the next couple of months. If you’re really curious about it, just read our iOS 13 features list or browse through our iOS 13 coverage so far.

Weird Bugs

iOS 13 What's New Beta

There’s no way around it. The iOS 13 bugs that I’ve experienced are quite weird. And unlike any that I’ve seen in the past couple of years (and I’ve been running them for 5 years now). Here are some of the OS level and feature level bugs that I’ve encountered.

  • I can’t call anyone, or receive calls from anyone who is not in my contact book (I call this, the best bug ever).
  • I can’t send an SMS to anyone who is not in my contact book.
  • Do Not Disturb does not work.
  • Because of the SMS thing, I could not authenticate and use Google Pay (a popular money transfer app in India).
  • WhatsApp chat restore from iCloud just would not work. And because WhatsApp does not let you restore a backup on a later date (which does not make sense to me), I’ve now lost a couple of years of messages and photos in WhatsApp chats (which to be honest, is not that big of a loss for me, but it might be for someone else).
  • New Automation feature in Shortcuts just doesn’t work.

Huge Battery Drain

Suddenly, last Friday, my iPhone X’s battery started draining rapidly. The entire battery would run itself down in just a couple of hours when the iPhone was idle. And this is a known and common issue. A friend who has an iPhone 6s Plus has faced the same issue. Like many other bugs, there is no way to pinpoint as to why it happened and when it will happen to you. And that uncertainty makes running iOS 13 beta a risky proposition especially if you’re planning to install it on a daily driver.

iCloud Sync Issues

All betas are unstable and buggy. They are, after all, betas. But according to Ulysses developers, iOS 13, iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina Betas are “extraordinarily unstable and buggy“. The problem specifically for Ulysses is iCloud. Or rather, the new improvement and changes to iCloud syncing which are leading to missing data. Not a good thing if you’re writing a novel, or working on assignments in Ulysses.

According to Ulysses, this issue is known to Apple (“Under certain conditions, your iCloud Drive might be missing data after upgrading to iOS 13 beta“), and it will be fixed before iOS 13 release, but right now, it’s an issue. And it’s not just limited to Ulysses, it affects any app that uses iCloud sync.

App Issues

App unreliability is part of a beta and iOS 13 beta is no different. This is for both stock apps and third-party apps. Music app’s new Now Playing screen with lyrics screen is very unreliable. Fortnite developers have actually asked players not to use iOS 13 beta.

Security Issues

Recently, beta bugs have gone to the security realm. If someone has access to your iOS 13 device, they can actually access all the website logins and passwords from the iCloud Keychain feature. All they need to do is keep tapping the option over and over again and the Face ID authentication will disappear.

Beta 4 is Not the Answer

Hope is a funny thing. If you’re hanging in there, hoping that Beta 4 or Beta 5 will swoop in and solve all problems, it does not seem likely. The way these betas are going, these issues aren’t going to be solved in a week or two. It’s best if you downgrade to iOS 12 and wait for the final iOS 13 release later this fall.

But If You Must Install a Beta

But if you have to install an iOS 13 beta, either for work or if you’re installing it on a daily driver, you should install the Public Beta. At least it is easier to go back to a stable iOS 12 build from it. Learn how to install iOS 13 Public Beta here.

Your iOS 13 Beta Experience

Are you running iOS 13 beta on your iPhone? Or iPadOS 13 beta on your iPad Pro? Share your bugs and experience with us in the comments below.