Should You Install the iOS 10 Public Beta?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

Maybe, but be careful

Apple has shipped iOS 10 beta 2 to developers and a public beta to the, well, public, and I've had some time to spend with the new release on my iPhone 6s Plus and iPad Air 2. In my original post on beta 1, I emphatically stated NO to the title question, but this new beta has me prepared to upgrade my recommendation to "maybe."

It's a slightly wishy-washy answer, but it's where we're at in the beta cycle. Of note, this is far sooner than I felt at all positive about last year's iOS 9 beta. That release wasn't solid until the 5th or 6th beta, so this level of stability in such an early build is great to see.

But there are still a great many things wrong with this beta, and I've collected them below. Please note that these bugs are not going to be universal, but they are true for me, so if anything below is a deal breaker for you, maybe wait a few more weeks for a more reliable beta.

Finally, you can always restore your iPhone to a backup of iOS 9 if this all goes horribly wrong for you, so make sure you have one of those either in iCloud or iTunes before you make the upgrade.

What's been fixed in this beta?

Stability seems much better on day one. I have not had any Springboard crashes, while had I a few every day with the old beta. The App Store specifically seems to have gotten a lot more reliable, as my apps are finally installing/updating when I ask them to.

Today view widgets are far better in this release. Third party apps like Television Time and Launcher no longer get chopped off and are able to not only show their content, but I can interact with them reliably again. Oddly, while Apple has seemed to fix whatever was making third party widgets from displaying properly, they have introduced a bug that chops their own widgets off at the bottom. Odd.

Performance has also gotten a boost from beta 1, but there are still plenty of times were animations stutter and things simply aren't up to the usual iOS standards. So while this is indeed an improvement, know that your phone will indeed still be slower than it was on iOS 9.

A bunch of little things also got better in this beta. I won't go through them all here, but EverythingApplePro has a good rundown of a bunch of the small, new things in this beta.

What's wrong with this beta?

Things can still go horribly wrong. I've heard one report so far of the installation locking up and causing someone to lose some data. This has not been my experience, but it is always possible, and is something you need to know before using any beta software. Make a backup!

Battery life has gotten better over beta 1, but it's still not a good as it was on iOS 9. Also note that this is a beta, and battery life can be all over the place. I've only had 1 day with this beta 2, but I could have a completely different experience tomorrow.

Spotlight remains unreliable. Sometimes it's nice and fast, but a quarter or so of the time it simply does't bring up any results.

Rotation likes to get stuck so you may find your phone will simply stop rotating as it should. It's not terrible when it's stuck in portrait, but may god have mercy on your soul when your iPhone gets stuck in landscape.

YouTube works, but I have had issues with it recognizing rotation so videos all play in portrait orientation, even though they should go landscape. There’s also a glitch with buttons flat out disappearing (although still functioning) along the top as you navigate the app.

Plex is completely broken for me. Attempting to load a video has it skip immediately to the end and display the countdown for the next episode in the queue. Literally nothing plays, which is brutal, considering how much media I run through this app.

Reeder mostly works, but I have had many crashes when trying to open articles, save them for later, or sharing them via the share sheet. Again, not unusable but frustrating.

Facebook has had some crashing issues for me. It’s not every time, but I’ve had it when trying to simply post to my timeline.

iMessage enhancements are great, but they are only useful if you are messaging other people on the iOS 10 beta, so you likely won't be able to use any of the new goodies for a few months.