Apple will officially release iOS 11 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on September 19th but you can try the final version of the update right now if you can’t wait.
The company’s released an iOS 11 Gold Master for developers. The GM should mirror the final version that’s released for the general public on Tuesday. Apple’s also released a public iOS 11 beta into the Beta Software Program which means anyone with an Apple ID can try iOS 11 for free.
Your testing will help Apple improve future versions of iOS 11. It also gives you a chance to test out some of iOS 11’s most exciting features (Siri Voice Translation, screen recording, Do Not Disturb While Driving, etc) before everyone else.
That said, there are some reasons to avoid the iOS 11 beta especially now that we have an official iOS 11 release date. It’ll break your jailbreak and it’s still pretty buggy.
Install If You Want to Record Your Screen
The iOS 11 update comes with a nifty feature that allows you to record your screen.
Apple calls the new feature (surprise!) Screen Recording which allows you to take a videos of your screen. This could come in handy if you’re trying to show a friend how to access something or if you’re trying to help a family member troubleshoot an iOS problem.
The feature is extremely easy to use and you can add it to Control Center (via Control Center’s settings) for easy access.
Simply tap the icon and then tap it again when finished to save a video to your Camera Roll
Install If You Want to Improve iOS 11
Have you ever installed a new iOS update only to discover problems on board your device? If you’ve experienced frustrating iOS problems, you might want to give the iOS 11 beta a shot.
The iOS 11 beta lets you try out new features but it also helps Apple improve the software. Fixes for the issues you report might not make it into the final version but we could see them emerge in future iOS 11 releases.
If you’re sick and tired of running into problems with iOS updates, do something about it. Download the iOS 11 beta and hunt for bugs.
Install It If You Hate iOS 10’s Volume Slider
If you hate iOS 10’s intrusive video slider (we do), you might want to give the iOS 11 beta a go.
iOS 10’s volume HUD, seen in the screen capture here, pops up in the middle of the screen when you’re adjusting the volume in local videos and some video apps. It’s extremely annoying.
Apple’s made some welcome changes in iOS 11. The volume slider is now absent across most of iOS. For example, if you’re viewing a video of a concert you attended last night, you won’t see a slider anywhere on the screen.
In certain video apps you’ll now get a simplified video slider that appears in the top right corner of the screen. It’s not perfect but it’s much better than what Apple’s got going on in iOS 10. (Note: Some apps, like Netflix, still use iOS 10’s volume slider.)
If you consume a ton of video content on your device, and/or you hate iOS 10’s video slider as much as we do, give iOS 11 beta a try.
Install iOS 11 Beta for the New Control Center
The iOS 11 beta delivers a brand new Control Center. We aren’t in love with its look but it’s a huge improvement over the version found in iOS 10.
iOS 11’s Control Center, the menu that you get when you swipe up from the bottom of an iPhone or and iPad, comes with some awesome customization options. You can now decide what controls show up in the Control Center menu.
In Settings you can toggle different apps on and off. Are you an avid Notes user? Put a shortcut to Notes in Control Center.
Want easy access to a toggle for text size? You can add a shortcut to Text Size to the menu. And if there’s something you don’t want or need in Control Center, you can get rid of it.
You can also use your device’s 3D Touch (if you have it) on any of these controls to open up even more controls and options.
Install for Do Not Disturb While Driving
The iOS 11 beta features Do Not Disturb While Driving, one of the features the company highlighted on stage during WWDC 2017.
Do Not Disturb While Driving blanks out your screen while driving. It also prevents you from seeing alerts you don’t need to see, all in an effort to make your drive safer.
The feature will also send out an auto reply to people texting you telling them you’re driving. If you need to, you can whitelist select people so that their messages can get through to you.
The rest of the time your screen will be blank which should help you avoid unnecessary distractions.
Install If You Listen to Music on Your AirPods
If you own a pair of AirPods and you listen to music on said AirPods, you might think about trying the iOS 11 beta on a spare iPhone.
If you’re running iOS 10, there are two ways to change the song. You can pull up Siri with a double tap and use proper voice commands. Or, you can pull out your phone and manually switch the track by tapping on the appropriate button on the home screen. Apple’s (thankfully) simplified this in iOS 11.
If you’re running the iOS 11 beta you can switch tracks with a double tap of either earpiece. To do this, you simply go into your AirPods Bluetooth settings and setup the double tap settings.
Install It for Siri Voice Translation
If you’ve got a spare device sitting around and you’re currently traveling or about to leave on a trip, consider trying the iOS 11 beta for this new Siri feature.
iOS 11 delivers a number of important upgrades to iOS’ virtual assistant but travelers should key in on just one: Instant voice translation.
With iOS 11 beta on board, Siri can translate English into Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish simply by using your voice. There are tons of voice translation tools on the App Store but many of them are expensive.
Install It If You’re Horrible With Your Storage
If you have problems managing your device’s storage and you need help figuring out what to delete, you might try the iOS 11 beta.
iOS 11 beta comes with some recommended ways to free up storage on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
When you open up Storage in your Settings you’ll get personalized recommendations that could help you free up some much needed space on your device’s hard drive.
When we went in, Apple suggested that we offload unused applications. Other recommendations include reviewing large attachments and reviewing large conversations on iMessage.
If you don’t have a ton of time to spend on cleaning up your device’s storage, these could help you free up storage rather quickly.
Install iOS 11 Beta If You’re an IT Professional
If you’re an IT professional you probably want to install the iOS 11 beta on a device in order to test applications and services ahead of the iOS 11 release date.
Enterprise problems are extremely common after iOS updates. We get complaints about Exchange and various other apps and services after every single iOS update release including Apple’s most recent iOS 10 release, iOS 10.3.3.
If you’re an IT professional who supports end users at your company, you’ll probably want to stress test iOS 11 for bugs and problems.
Testing iOS 11 early will help prepare you for the inevitable support calls and trouble tickets from iOS 11 users later this year.
Don’t Install iOS 11 Beta If You Hate Dealing with Problems
If you only own one iPhone or iPad, and/or hate dealing with problems, you’ll probably want to avoid the iOS 11 beta.
In its iOS Beta FAQ Apple “strongly” recommends installing iOS beta software on secondary devices rather than primary ones. Here’s why.
The iOS 11 beta is pre-release software which means it’s an unfinished product. As such, it’s riddled with bugs and various issues. You could also brick your device.
The current list of iOS 11 beta problems includes issues with first and third-party apps, sound issues, random reboots, lag on older devices, abnormal battery drain, busted apps, Wi-Fi, and more.
The latest iOS 11 beta, iOS 11 beta 10, is a little more stable than the previous version but it’s not immune to problems. Far from it. It’s plagued with a number of frustrating issues.
Don’t Install If You Haven’t Prepared
If you haven’t prepared for the iOS 11 beta you probably don’t want to install the iOS 11 beta on your device. Blindly installing early software can lead to major headaches.
The iOS 11 beta is a huge update that has the potential to wreck havoc on your phone, tablet, or if you’re extremely unlucky, your life.
This is why we recommend doing some prep work before you install the iOS 11 beta on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. A little preparation will go a long way toward preventing major problems.
Don’t Install It Just to Try watchOS 4 Beta
Don’t install the iOS 11 beta just to try the new watchOS 4 update for the Apple Watch.
watchOS 4 comes with some interesting features including new watch faces including a new Siri face that displays dynamic information. There are also some nice additions for those of you who use your watch to listen to music and/or workout.
If you want to try watchOS 4 ahead of its fall release you’ll need to update your device to iOS 11 beta. It’s tempting but most of you will want to avoid making this move.
If you install iOS 11 beta and hate it, you can downgrade to iOS 10. If you install the watchOS 4 beta and hate it, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
There is currently no way to manually downgrade from watchOS 4. To get the beta off your device you’ll need to take your watch into an Apple Store and have them roll it back for you. This isn’t instantaneous. It’ll take a few days to complete.
Don’t Install If You’re Jailbroken
If you’re using a jailbroken iPhone or iPad or if you’re simply looking to jailbreak your device, avoid the iOS 11 beta.
Jailbreak developers have teased an iOS 11 beta jailbreak and it’s unclear if one is in the cards for early version of iOS 11. Nothing is confirmed but we’d put a lot of money on developers waiting for the official iOS 11 release in the fall.
If you want to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad you need to be on an older version of iOS 10 or Apple’s iOS 9 operating system. Unfortunately, there’s no way to downgrade to anything older than iOS 10.3.3.