In episode 39 of Macpreneur, I explored the two different kinds of beta software program that Apple offers as well as the pros & cons of signing up for them.
In today’s show, I’ll explain how to safely beta test iOS and iPadOS and in the next one, I’ll cover macOS.
The purpose of these 2 episodes is twofold:
- Give you a step-by-step procedure that will minimise the risk of data loss
- Help you get out of the beta program before the end if needed.
At the time of recording, I’ve been testing iPadOS 13 on my iPad Mini 4 for about a week now, starting with public beta 2 and two days ago, I’ve installed public beta 3.
So far, I’ve already reported 8 bugs and bricked my device once, which needed a factory reset and a second installation of iPadOS 13 beta.
Compared to the public betas of iOS 12 last year, it’s much less stable, most probably because Apple is making more significant changes to the underlying core of iOS this year.
There was a serious security bug in public beta 2 that someone else discovered and by which it was possible to bypass Touch ID/Face ID and the passcode to access the iCloud keychain passwords. The trick was to tap multiple times on “Website & App passwords” without authenticating until it finally gave in and let you access.
I was able to reproduce it with public beta 2 and it looks like this bug has been fixed with public beta 3.
It’s too early to talk about my impressions about the new features of iOS & iPadOS 13 yet and I’ll dedicate an episode just for that.
Today’s episode will focus on the public beta program for both the iPhone and the iPad and has been split in three main parts:
- First, I’ll talk about the installation process
- Then how to report bugs and problems
- And finally how to get out of the beta program earlier if needed.
Preparing for the beta testing phase is very important if you want to avoid losing precious data.
In episode 39, I even suggested to use a separate Apple ID to avoid compromising data synced through iCloud or not being able to synchronise some data if the database needed to be upgraded.
Personally, I have 2 main AppleIDs, one that I use for my business and the other one that I use for my own stuff and for Family Sharing
Therefore, I’m using my personal Apple ID for the public beta testing phase to avoid any problems with sensitive information, like iCloud keychain or the business stuff synced over iCloud.
With iOS 13, it’s the Reminders database that is changing and needs to be upgraded if you want to test the new features.
This means that if you upgrade the reminders database on your device running the beta version of iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, your other devices, still on iOS 12 or earlier won’t be able to sync.
It’s not mandatory though, you can decide not to upgrade the database on iOS 13, but then you won’t be able to test the new features of the reminders app on your iPhone or iPad.
So apart from the Reminders database, I haven’t seen any other changes like that.
Part 1: Installation process
Here are the main steps that I’ll explore one by one later on:
- Make a local encrypted backup
- Archive the backup
- Sign up for the public beta program
- Install a certificate on your device
- Install the public beta version
Optionally, you can also prepare your device with another Apple ID and make another archived backup
Step 1: Make a local encrypted backup
- Connect your iOS device to a computer (Mac or PC) with enough available disk space
- If needed, trust the computer and enter the device passcode
- Launch Finder if Catalina / iTunes if Mojave or earlier (and Windows)
- Underneath the volume button, click on an icon looking like an iPhone
- Make sure you’re in the Summary page and what we want is the “Backups” section
- On the Left: Automatic backup settings:
- if iCloud ticked, it means the automatic backup is done to iCloud
- If “This Computer” is ticked, it means that automatic backups are done to the computer (if you tick this option, it will stop doing backups to iCloud)
- Regardless of the automatic setting, we want the backup on the computer to be encrypted so, if needed, make sure to tick “Encrypt local backup” (if it’s the first time, you’ll need to specify a password, choose a strong one
- On the right: Manually backup & restore
- Click on “Back Up Now”
- Wait until it’s fully finished
Step 2: Archive the backup to prevent it from being overwritten during a subsequent local backup
- Access your local backup:
- Catalina: Click on “Manage Backups”
- Mojave or earlier: Press CMD Comma then Click on the “Devices” tab
- Windows: Press CTRL Comma then Click on the “Devices” tab
- Right-click on the backup you just did
- Select the option that says “Archive”
Step 3: Sign up for the public beta program
- Visit beta.apple.com
- Click on the Signup button and enter your Apple ID credentials
Step 4: Install a certificate on your device
- Launch Safari on the iOS device where you want to install the beta
- Visit beta.apple.com/profile
- Sign in with your Apple ID (if needed)
- Download and install the certificate
- Restart your device
Step 5: Install the public beta version
- Open Settings > General > Software Update
- The currently available public beta version of iOS or iPadOS will be available
- Tap on “Download & Install”
Optionally: Prepare your device with another Apple ID and make another archived backup before installing the certificate
It’s practical only with iPad or a secondary iPhone without SIM card => don’t do that with your main iPhone. My iPad Mini 4 was tied to my EasyTECH Apple ID and I wanted to beta test iPadOS 13 with my personal Apple ID
Here’s the process:
- Sign out of iCloud & iTunes via Settings > Apple ID > Sign Out
- Enter your Apple ID password to turn off “Find My iPhone”
- No need to keep the data on your iPhone because it will be wiped in a few minutes
- Check that FaceTime & iMessage was turned off and not connected with the Apple ID anymore
- Visit Settings > General > Reset
- Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”
- Configure your device with the secondary Apple ID
- Make an encrypted backup and archive it (see Step 1 & 2)
Part 2: Reporting bugs
- Add screen recording to control center
- Settings > Control Centre > Customise Controls
- Press on the + button next to “Screen recording”
- Make screenshots and screen recordings
- Submit a bug report via Feedback Assistant
- Looks like a simplified Mail client
- Tap on “New Feedback” or the compose icon
- Tap on “iOS & iPadOS”
- Fill in the form: dynamic => based on the issue or the app involved
- Add screenshots or screen recordings
- Tap on “Submit” (top right corner)
Part 3: Getting out of the public beta program
Main steps if earlier than the official release
- Sign out of iCloud, iTunes & App Store, iMessage & FaceTime
- Put device into recovery mode (https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/restore)
- Restore the archived backup
After the official release, just remove the certificate
- Visit Settings > General > Profiles & Device Management
- Tap on the iOS Beta Software Profile
- Tap Remove Profile
- Restart your device
And you, are you already beta testing iOS or iPadOS, and if it’s the case, what are your first impressions?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
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