Before you rush off to grab your iPad or iPhone, there are significant drawbacks to the public beta of Apple’s iOS 9 on your device. The most important one? Notice the word beta. The iOS 9 beta is not a finished product, and I think we all remember the glitches that plagued the rollout of iOS 8 updates.

It is not the polished version we will see in the fall. Bugs will be present in the beta build of iOS 9. The release is the first time Apple has released a beta version of iOS to the general public.

Why is the company releasing it into the wild? To fix any glitches before the official rollout. iOS 8 hurt Apple with tales of bug and glitches lighting up social media and forums. A public beta gets the software in the hands of more users. More users mean a variety of usage habits can be tested.

It’s impossible for Apple to test internally each way a person will use a device. A beta gives the company access to a larger sample size.

How Do You Get the iOS 9 Beta?

Downloading the beta is different from the standard software update to tapping on settings. You’ll need to visit Apple’s website for the beta program. Login with your Apple ID and you’re all set to be Apple’s newly minted beta tester.

At this point, stop. Before you download the software, backup your device. Don’t just do the standard iCloud backup, either. You know the adage two is one, one is none? It applies here. Have a secondary backup on your computer as a safety net.

Once you’re set with backups dotting your house, download and install. It won’t be stable, but you’ll get a look at Apple’s newest features.

apple public beta program

iOS 9 will include Apple News, the company’s news curation service. Other features include a nice keyboard update that will be more specific when you have caps-lock set. The keyboard element is one of the chief pieces of evidence we are nearing a new, larger iPad.

Public transit directions are being added to Apple Maps. That’s great news for a tourist like me. Staring at a subway map after years in Gadsden, Alabama is a fascinating sight for those around me. Wait, I take this line, switch to this one and then take the other one home? Taxi or it’s time to open the Uber app.

Siri is also getting an upgrade, becoming more contextual. She’ll learn your habits, good or bad, and hopefully not wax philosophically at you for asking naive questions. The update is in response to Microsoft’s digital assistant rolling out in Windows 10 and the emergence of Google Now.

Plenty of features and you can volunteer as a guinea pig. Should you? If you love a good beta like me, go for it. Just back everything up. If I sound like your IT guy, it’s because I’ve been there, lost it all.

The commercial release of iOS9 is slated for this fall. About the time we see the new iPhones and hopefully the iPad Pro. Do I need a larger iPad? Nope, but I want one.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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