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Apple’s provided a pre-release version of iOS 12 to developers with plans to release it to the general public in June. In this guide we’re going to walk prospective and current iOS 12 beta users through the most important things to know, right now, about Apple’s next operating system.

Earlier this month Apple confirmed iOS 11’s successor. iOS 12 is official and the company plans to launch it later this year alongside new iPhones and at least one new iPad Pro.

Ahead of the official release date, Apple’s pushed the iOS 12 beta live. The beta gives iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users a chance to stress test the software for bugs and use some of the update’s new features which include Memoji, upgrades to Notifications, and tweaks to the popular Do Not Disturb mode.

The company recently released the second version of the iOS 12 beta, but Apple will release several more iterations of the update before it releases the final version to millions of customers around the world,

With interest rising, we want to guide you through some essential things to know about the early version of iOS 12.

iOS 12 Beta

As of right now, the iOS 12 beta is limited to those with an Apple developer account. An Apple developer account requires a yearly membership fee which means most people should wait for the public iOS 12 beta.

Later this month, Apple will push the iOS 12 beta into its Beta Software Program. The Beta Software Program is a free service and simply requires an Apple ID and a little bit of patience.

Apple hasn’t confirmed a release date for the public iOS 12 beta, but you can expect it to arrive sometime next week. If you can’t wait that long, here’s how to get the iOS 12 beta on your phone or tablet right now.

If you’d prefer to wait for the public iOS 12 beta, here’s how to signup ahead of the release.

Before you decide to move off iOS 11 (or whatever you’re currently running), you’ll want to do some prep work and research. The iOS 12 beta is tempting, but most people are better off staying on iOS 12. Here are a few steps to take before installing iOS 12 beta on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

You’ll also need a device that’s compatible with iOS 12. Fortunately, Apple decided to upgrade all devices capable of running its iOS 11 update including the iPhone 5s.

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad (2018)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2

If you do decide to download the iOS 12 beta on a phone or tablet, here’s how long you can expect the download and installation to take.

Those installing beta software for the first time can expect the entire process to take 30 minutes or more to complete.

iOS 12 Beta Problems

The iOS 12 beta is pre-release software which means it’s unfinished. The purpose of the beta is to weed out bugs and performance issues before the software drops for millions of iPhones and iPad around the globe.

Unsurprisingly, the iOS 12 beta is causing problems for many beta testers. Apple’s acknowledged several issues it’s working on and beta testers have discovered a long list of additional bugs.

The current list of problems includes some of the usual suspects: Severe battery drain, issues with various apps, connectivity problems, and UI lag. There are also some broken features:

  • The Weather widget is busted in the latest iOS 12 beta.
  • Group FaceTime calls cannot be initiated between iOS 12 beta 1 and iOS 12 beta 2 users.
  • FaceTime might unexpectedly quit on launch.
  • Updating from iOS 10.2 and earlier to iOS 12 beta 2 via iTunes is not supported.
  • CarPlay might not connect to certain vehicles.

These are just a few examples. There are plenty of other bugs and issues plaguing the current version of the iOS 12 beta. Future releases will be more polished, but you can expect bugs and performance issues to linger throughout Apple’s testing period.

If you depend on your apps to get you through the day or simply can’t handle dealing with major problems, you’ll probably want to avoid the iOS 12 beta.

You Can Only Downgrade to iOS 11.4

This is extremely important.

If you do decide to try the iOS 12 beta on your phone or tablet, note that you will only be able to return to Apple’s iOS 11.4 update and nothing older.

Apple’s stopped signing on iOS 11.3.1 and below which means you’re stuck with iOS 11.4 (and the company’s iOS 11.4.1 update) once you move your device to iOS 12 beta.

For more on the iOS 12 beta downgrade process, please take a look at our guide.

iOS 12 Release Date

The iOS 12 beta is going to stay in beta for several months.

Apple hasn’t confirmed an official iOS 12 release date, but the company has provided us with an official release window.

The iOS 12 release date lands sometime this fall, probably in September alongside the company’s new iPhone X models and 2018 iPad Pro.

Apple typically confirms iOS release dates on stage alongside new hardware and releases the software a few days before the new hardware arrives on shelves.

iOS 12 Beta Jailbreak

If you still jailbreak your devices, and you’re interested in jailbreaking iOS 12 beta, don’t hold your breath.

Jailbreak developers still haven’t released a public jailbreak for iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, iOS 11.2.5, iOS 11.2.6, iOS 11.3, iOS 11.3.1, or iOS 11.4.

The only way you can jailbreak a device running iOS 11 is if it’s running iOS 11.0-iOS 11.1.2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to downgrade to any of those versions.

If jailbreak developers do release a new public jailbreak, it’ll likely be for a newer version of iOS 11 and not iOS 12 beta.

For more on jailbreak, take a look at our roundup.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 12 Beta & 11 Reasons You Should

Install iOS 12 Beta to Help Improve iOS 12

Install iOS 12 Beta to Help Improve iOS 12

While you might get caught up in iOS 12’s features, don’t forget your testing can help Apple improve the final product. If you want a better version of iOS 12 for yourself and everyone else this fall, think about trying the iOS 12 beta on your device. 

Using pre-release software on your device could lead to problems, but your testing could Apple squash bugs and deliver a smoother performance in the final version. 

If you find an issue on board the iOS 12 beta, make sure you report it to Apple. This way, its engineers can get to work on a fix.

Apple will likely release six or more beta updates and there’s a chance your efforts will lead to a fix in a future release. 

If you’re sick and tired of dealing with iOS bugs and performance issues on your mobile devices, give the iOS 12 beta a go today.

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