Thursday, May 11, 2017

10 Things to Do Before the iOS 11 Beta Release

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Unless Apple drastically changes how it releases its iOS updates, we should see an iOS 11 beta emerge for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in early June. With a release on the horizon, we want to help first timers prepare for the iOS 11 beta release.

On June 5th, Apple executives will take the stage at the company’s annual developer conference. And it’s there we expect the company to outline the future of macOS and the iOS software that powers its mobile devices.

An iOS 11 update isn’t confirmed for WWDC 2017 but it will almost certainly be one of the stars of the show. And if Apple follows its standard release protocol, we should see an early version of iOS 11 emerge shortly after the keynote concludes.

We expect Apple to release an iOS 11 beta in early June giving select iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users a chance to try the software’s changes ahead of an official release date in the fall alongside new iPhone models.

Thanks to Apple’s Beta Software Program, anyone can try iOS software early, for free. And with an official release probably months away, we expect the iOS 11 beta to draw a bunch of first-time beta testers.

If you’re thinking about trying the iOS 11 beta, make sure you’re ready, particularly if this beta will be your first excursion into the world of early iOS software.

While it might seem early, we recommend doing some prep work ahead of WWDC 2017 and the inevitable iOS 11 beta release.

Read the Rules

Before the iOS 11 arrives you’ll want to get familiar with Apple’s rules and regulations.

If you think you might want to register as a developer, you’ll want to take a look at Apple’s beta website for developers.

If you think you’ll opt for the free Beta Software Program, you’ll want to read Apple’s official FAQ for the Beta Software Program.

Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for before the iOS 11 beta arrives.

Decide How to Download the iOS 11 Beta

There will almost certainly be two versions of the iOS 11 beta, a developer version and a public version. You’ll want to decide which is right for you, ahead WWDC.

Here are a few things to consider before June 5th.

  • An iOS developer account is $99 USD per year.

  • Last year, developers got the iOS 10 beta first. Apple released the iOS 10 beta to developers shortly after the WWDC 2016 keynote in mid-June. Public beta testers got access to the iOS 10 beta in July.

  • Incremental beta releases typically roll out to developers first.

  • The public beta is free.

  • In our experience, we’ve found public iOS betas less buggy than the developer versions.

You’ll also want to get familiar with the download process itself. It can be a little confusing for first-time beta users.

We’ve put together a walkthrough that will take you step-by-step through the iOS beta download and installation process.

Make sure you feel comfortable with it before the WWDC 2017.

How to Signup for the iOS 11 Beta Right Now

If you’re determined to try the iOS 11 update ahead of its release date it might be a good idea to get the signup process out-of-the-way.

If you want to go the developer route, you can pay your $99 entry fee right now and sit back wait for WWDC to arrive.

If you don’t want to pay for access, you can use a valid Apple ID and signup via the Beta Software Program.

The developer signup is normally down for a while after the announcement at WWDC so signing up now will ensure that you’ll be among the first to try the early version of iOS 11.

Prepare for iOS 11 Beta Problems

Testing iOS software months ahead of release might sound like a dream but it can quickly turn into a nightmare.

The main purpose of the iOS 11 beta will be to stress test unfinished software for bugs ahead of its public release date.

If you can’t handle dealing with major problems (battery drain, apps not working, etc), you’ll want to avoid the iOS 11 beta.

The first versions of the iOS 11 beta will probably be the buggiest so it’s a good idea to get familiar with fixes for common iOS beta issues.

Our list of fixes for common iOS 10 problems and our fixes for common iOS 10.3.2 beta problems are good places to start.

There, we outline potential fixes for battery drain, app issues, installation problems, AirPod problems, and more.

Bookmark the pages, commit some of these fixes to memory and you’ll be in better position when you do run into an issue with iOS 11 beta.

Get Familiar with the Downgrade Process

If you get tired of testing early software you’ll always be able to downgrade to the most up-to-date version of iOS 10.

If you aren’t familiar with the downgrade process now would be a great time to get familiar with the steps you’ll need to take in order to get off the iOS 11 beta.

Our downgrade guide will walk you through the most important things you need to know ahead of the iOS 11 beta release.

If you don’t feel comfortable with these steps, you might want to avoid the iOS 11 beta.

Find Another Device if You Only Have One

If you only own one iOS device we recommend finding another “test device” before Apple releases iOS 11 beta.

In its FAQ for the public Beta Software Program, Apple makes two recommendations that we strongly agree with.

  1. Install only on non-production devices that are not business critical.

  2. We strongly recommend installing on a secondary system or device, or on a secondary partition on your Mac.

Installing early software like iOS 11 beta on your primary device has the potential to drive you mad and it could also interfere with your job or schoolwork.

If you really want to test iOS 11 you’ll want to dig up, borrow, or buy an old iOS device. This way, if you run into a performance problem or an issue with one of your apps or services, your productivity won’t take a hit.

Find Another Device If You Own an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c

All signs point to Apple dropping support for 32-bit devices with the release of iOS 11 beta.

At this point, we aren’t expecting an iOS 11 beta release for popular 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c.

If you own one of these devices, and you really want to try iOS 11 and the beta, you’ll want to investigate an upgrade ahead WWDC.

You probably don’t want to commit real cash until we know for sure (and we’ll know for sure on June 5th) but you’ll certainly want to get the wheels in motion now.

Start Backing Up Your Data

If you don’t regularly back up the data stored on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, now would be a good time to make it a habit.

Installing a piece of beta software on your device can be unpredictable so you’ll want to make sure all of your important data s safe up before you make the move.

If you don’t know where to start, allow us totake you through the backup process via iTunes. If you don’t want to make a backup through iTunes, you can also make a backup via Apple’s iCloud service.

Backing up your device’s data is extremely important and you’ll want to do it on a regular basis throughout the year.

Clean Up Your Device

We expect iOS 11 beta should be a pretty sizable update. A couple hundred MBs at least, maybe even 1GB or so depending on the device. If you’re running out of space on your device’s hard drive, and you plan to test iOS 11, now would be a good time to do some spring cleaning.

Head into your Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage and start deleting apps and other files you no longer need or use.

Freeing up a few GB of space will ensure that your device is ready for the iOS 11 beta download and it could also have a positive impact on your device’s performance.

Know the Limitations

You should also get familiar with the limitations that often come with early software. Here are a few items to keep in mind as we push toward WWDC.

If you have to downgrade from iOS 11 beta you won’t be able to downgrade to older versions of iOS. Apple isn’t signing off on old iOS 10 updates, iOS 9 or iOS 8. Once you download the beta, you’re stuck with iOS 10 and its recent versions.

There probably won’t be an iOS 11 beta jailbreak available on day one. If you download the iOS 11 beta and there’s no jailbreak available, you’ll lose your jailbreak.

If Apple releases a watchOS beta for Apple Watch and you want to test it, you’ll need to download the iOS 11 beta to a device. You can’t downgrade the Apple Watch, so if you do that you might not be able to downgrade your iPhone and use both.

If Apple’s iOS 11 update comes with cross-platform functionality for macOS or tvOS, you’ll need to download one or both of those betas to get access to those features.

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