Why You Really Shouldn’t Be Installing the WatchOS Beta on Your Apple Watch

The upcoming Apple WatchOS 8 brings many exciting new features to your Apple Watch; wallpaper in portrait mode, sharing GIFs in messages, and setting multiple timers at the same time are just some of the great changes worth exploring. With watchOS 8 beta, you can try out all of these new features right now. But here’s our advice: don’t.

Beta or not beta

So all beta releases come with a risk. When you install beta software on your device – be it an iPhone, laptop, or Apple Watch – you are installing software that is not yet complete. Your experience with this software helps the developers identify any bugs or issues that they can fix before releasing the software to the general public.

Sometimes mistakes are just minor annoyances. However, in other cases, they are terrible and make your device unusable. Apps crashing, animations are slow, the whole system freezes or restarts unexpectedly … anything can happen.

There is usually a way out of this beta trap – you need to uninstall the beta from your device and then restore it to factory settings to revert to a stable, non-beta version of that software. The downside is that you will lose any data you didn’t back up before installing the beta, but hey, at least you got this beta from your device. But watchOS is different.

How Beta WatchOS Is Different From Apple

With watchOS, however, it’s a different story. Apple does not allow you to downgrade to watchOS after installing new software. After installing the beta version of watchOS, everything is; you’re stuck with this potentially buggy, unstable OS until the next Apple update.

This does not mean that there are many reports of watchOS issues. We’re not saying, “If you install this beta, your clock is toast.” Your Apple Watch can be fully beta-tested, just like many other beta testers’ watches. The problem is, if the beta isn’t responding well to your watch, there isn’t much you can do about it.

In case something goes wrong, all you can do is wait for Apple to release a beta update that will hopefully fix your issue, or wait for Apple to ship the latest RC (Release Candidate), which is the same software received by the general public.

Why can’t you downgrade your Apple Watch OS?

The reason is simple: Apple Watch does not have the ability to physically connect to an external device, such as an iPhone or Mac. It communicates completely via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If your watch software becomes damaged, which is possible during a downgrade, you will not be able to connect it to your device to restore it. If the damage affects the watch’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, you won’t be able to communicate with the watch.

As a result of this scenario, the Apple Watch will be locked and you will need to send it to Apple for a possible fix. This doesn’t quite line up with the advertised “pleasure and convenience” of the Apple Watch, so the company avoids all of that as much as possible. This, unfortunately, does not mean downgrading to an earlier version of the OS.

So, if you are not prepared to take that kind of risk, we say, don’t worry. WatchOS 8 arrives sometime this fall, perhaps even next month. However, if you just cannot wait, know that you have been warned. If something goes wrong, at least an official release is just around the corner.


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