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  5. iOS 8.3 public beta: Five things you need to know

iOS 8.3 public beta: Five things you need to know

iOS 8.3 public beta: Five things you need to know

It's tough keeping up with the updates to Apple's mobile operating system.

No sooner is iOS 8.2 pushed out than iOS 8.3 gets a release.

But this one is different. Very different.

It's the first that us regular Joes can try out for ourselves.

That's right, Apple is using us as guinea pigs.

So will you sign up? Read on for everything you need to know.

1 We're the lab rats

pinky and the brain

iOS 8.3 Beta is the first iOS beta – i.e. unfinished version – Apple has let the public get its hands on.

Previously, it would 'seed' betas to developers so they could play around with it and get to grips with how to make apps.

However, last summer, the Cupertino company rolled out public tests for Mac OS X Yosemite, the latest version of its desktop operating system.

This let members of the public take it for a road test. And it was obviously deemed a success, or Apple wouldn't plough the same path with iOS.

2 You'll have to be patient

apple store queue

Because it's not a finished version, don't expect it to run as slickly as the version on your current iPhone. There will be bugs.

Apple has had a bad run recently when it comes to buggy iOS updates.

iOS 8 was one of the buggiest builds yet – Safari ran slowly, apps wouldn't download or update, FaceTime and iMessage didn't work, the battery wore down much quicker than it should, the camera app worked upside down, the phone call function didn't work...

Obviously it differed for every user. But this is just a selection of the problems.

Apple released iOS 8.1 shortly after, but this had its own troubles. The battery still drained too quickly, Wi-Fi dropped out and Safari was still a write off.

In other words, this is a very early version, and Apple wants you to report problems so it can fix them.

In fact it's probably rolled it out to the public to avoid the pitfalls of the past. So brace yourself for a bumpy ride.

3 It's available now

apple beta

Interested in taking part? You can sign up now – just head to the Apple Beta Software Program site and click 'Sign up'.

The programme is still rolling out, so once you've registered you might not see a link to join the iOS programme right away. Again, patience is a virtue.

4 Better back up

itunes jpeg

Apple strongly advises users testing the beta software to back up their iPhone to iTunes.

This is because it's unstable, and because if you get sick of the bugs and want to go back to an earlier, more polished, version of iOS, you'll have to erase the beta software, reinstall the latest shipping version of iOS, and then restore from your iTunes backup.


5 What's new?

emojis ios 8.3

iOS 8.3 brings with it improved performance, increased stability, bug fixes – though as we've noted, it's bound to have its fair share of original bugs – and a redesigned Emoji keyboard.

It also adds additional language and country support.

It will build upon iOS 8.2, which brought Apple Watch support, improvements to Apple Health and bug fixes of its own.

Can't squish enough of them bugs.

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