I currently have an iPhone 4 (GSM) and I'm signed up to the iOS development program, meaning I can install iOS 5.0 on it. The problem is that I use this same phone as a personal phone, I'm wondering if it's a good idea to install a beta OS on it or not. I'd really like to be able to take advantage of some of the newer features that iOS 5.0 introduces right now rather than having to wait until the fall.

The main things I'm concerned about are:

  • Major limitations (e.g. if an entire app or one of its major features doesn't work on the beta, I'd want to know about it).
  • Data loss
  • Being able to sync with Google Accounts (I currently use Google Sync to synchronize as much data as possible, ideally I want to keep using it in addition to Apple's new sync/backup service. Is there any way to do this or are they mutually exclusive?)
  • Any other issues you can think of which should cause me to be wary.
  • 1
    At least wait for few more betas.
    – mspasov
    Jun 18, 2011 at 10:02
  • This is aimed at others viewing the question, not you senseful: if you arent please don't install it even if it was stable enough. The betas care for developers to get a headstart on app compatibility and to test and report bugs. Not for non developers to show it off to their friends and clog the developer forums by asking how to install or yell that something isn't working and demand it to be fixed.
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 20, 2011 at 7:19
  • Just to let you know I did install it on my personal iPhone, prey because my development phone and personal iPhone are one and the same and all my data that I need like emails and contacts are synced to Google. So should the phone stop working I haven't lost any data. The bugs and problems that occur while using it seem a reasonable compromise to paying £400 for a second phone. I also backed up my photos and have them saved on my PC which I'm glad I did as setting up the phone doesn't always go smoothly. So I'd yes you can but be careful.
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 20, 2011 at 7:29

2 Answers 2


Apple actively states that you should in no way install development releases on any hardware you rely on. More specifically they state that "you should install this on dedicated development hardware" meaning a second phone.

  • If you are even the slightest bit concerned about stability, don't install it.
  • If you are not going to use it to develop/test against, don't install it.

And, my personal favorite:

  • If you have to ask this question, don't install it!
  • 4
    This is all standard comments for any beta - assume any beta will corrupt anything it can
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 9, 2011 at 1:51

It's important to understand that when Apple uses the term "beta" they only mean "somewhat functional, most major features in place". It could fail repeatedly, and definitely, definitely has a ton of bugs, many of which could be data-destroying or could lock up the device.

In the last 4-5 years a lot of web apps -- and Google does this a ton -- use the term "beta" to mean "not quite feature-complete but otherwise good-to-go". This alternate meaning seems to have unintentionally led people to believe that it's what "beta" always means.

When Apple changes iOS 5 to "golden master" status they'll mean that it probably still has bugs that need to be fixed before it goes live but should be pretty close to the final version, barring any late-breaking discoveries, and should be pretty safe to use. That won't be until right before it's released, however.

  • Apple doesn't use the term Release Candidate, or at least I haven't seen it the one time I was involved (iOS 4). It was: Beta 1 -> Beta 2 -> Beta 3 -> Beta 4 -> GM Seed less than a week before iOS 4 rolled out to the masses. Jun 19, 2011 at 17:01
  • @Jason Ah, indeed you're right. I think of it as a release candidate because it really isn't a "golden master" since there are commonly one or two revisions of said master before it goes live. "Golden master" is supposed to mean the final version, the one from which all distributed copies are made, while release candidates allow for changes. Alas. Jun 20, 2011 at 1:51
  • GM Seed stands for Gold Master Seed. Jun 20, 2011 at 6:33
  • GM either stands for "Golden Master" or for "Gold Master", Apple uses it both ways: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_master -- either way, it means the final version to be sent off for reproduction as CDs or DVDs. That means the final version. I am noting that practically that's not was Apple does, however: Xcode 4, for example, had two different GM Seeds. Jun 20, 2011 at 10:39
  • I don't think that's true to the extent you're saying it is: macrumors.com/2011/02/03/… Yes, it was up, disappeared, then went back. But I don't think there was a functional change of content. If it was, surely it was an installer change, one not requiring OS 10.7+, and not a change to Xcode itself. Jun 20, 2011 at 16:57

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