Should You Install Beta Versions of IOS 10 and MacOS Sierra?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m not a developer or anything like that, but I’m very excited about the new improvements in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra . How safe is it for them to install beta versions? What happens if I do this?

Regards, Bleeding Edgar

This article was originally published in 2014 but has been updated for macOS Sierra and iOS 11.

Dear BE! Since last month’s announcements, we’re very happy with both iOS 10 and Sierra, but as with most Apple beta releases, it’s pretty hard to recommend that anyone non-developer check them out, even if they’re called public beta releases. Let’s start with iOS 10 before moving on to Sierra.

Take your time to install iOS 10 until fall

Apple has repeatedly shown us over the years that installing beta versions of iOS is always a bad idea. They are buggy, unstable, difficult to use, drain your battery and make a lot of your apps unusable. iOS 10 is no different.

As a general guideline, installing beta software on any device you use on a daily basis is a bad idea. This is especially true for your phone, which you use for a wide variety of purposes. In the case of iOS 10, you will likely lose the ability to use a few of your favorite apps, and your phone will be a little awkward to use.

Aside from the cool new lock screen, the biggest new feature in iOS 10 is the new Messages app, which is completely useless unless you’re talking to someone else who also has iOS 10 beta installed. iOS 10’s such as the improved Photos app, the redesigned (but still terrible) Apple Music, and the smarter Apple Maps app are great, but you can probably live without them for a few months before the public release. …

However, if you have an additional device, the beta will be pretty stable all things considered. So, if you have something like an iPad that you don’t use often, you can safely check out the beta without worrying too much, although let’s be honest, iOS 10 doesn’t do a lot of cool things for the iPad.

If you decide that this is too bad for you, you can go back to iOS 9.3.2, but it will take a little time. Downgrading all data on your device will be erased and reinstalled, so make sure you’re ready for this:

  1. Download the iOS 9.3.2 IPSW file for your device (a list of direct links can be found here ).
  2. Put your phone into recovery mode: turn off your phone, connect it to your computer while holding the Home button until the device turns on and asks you to connect to iTunes.
  3. In iTunes, Option-click the Restore iPhone button, select the IPSW file, and wait for iTunes to install iOS 9 again.

After installation, your iOS device will revert back to iOS 9, but all your data is gone, so you’ll have to wait for it to sync again.

Install Sierra on a separate partition

Apple is a relatively cautious company when it comes to desktop operating systems, so while there are bound to be bugs in the public beta, they probably won’t wreck your system. However, public beta or not, this is still a beta product, so don’t expect it to run smoothly.

All of this suggests that apart from Siri integration, there isn’t much new here, so most of us would be better off just waiting for the official release. In our limited testing, Sierra was pretty slow and glitchy, so it really isn’t ready to run on your primary Mac.

In any case, if you are still itching to check out the beta, you should do so on a partition and not rewrite El Capitan. This way, you can play around and test the new operating system without interfering with your computer. Even if you are installing Sierra on a new partition, make sure you have a backup on your computer . Once you’ve taken care of that, here’s how to partition your disk and install Sierra safely:

  1. Open Disk Utility (Applications> Utilities).
  2. Select your Mac’s hard drive.
  3. Click the Split button.
  4. Click the + sign and decide what partition size you want (10-30 GB for Sierra and multiple apps will work, depending on how much you plan to use).
  5. Name your section and click Apply.
  6. Run the Sierra installer.
  7. When prompted to select a drive, click Show All Drives and select the partition you just created.

That’s all. Sierra will be installed on a new partition and still have OS X El Capitan when you want your computer to actually work. You can choose which one to launch by holding Option while starting up your computer.

As we discussed earlier , life at the forefront can get hectic. When software is in beta, the people who create it don’t expect it to work, so you shouldn’t. However, early participation in beta releases can be a rewarding experience if you’re willing to report bugs and resolve issues. Just make sure you don’t want your devices to actually work.

Good luck Lifehacker


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