Why You Probably Shouldn’t Install iOS 7 Right Now [Opinion]

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In the words of Apple itself, iOS 7 is the biggest change to their mobile operating system since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007. It’s more functional then ever, it’s prettier than ever: it’s the very definition of digital design purified and clarified down to the very basics of form merged with function.

Understandably, that means that many people are tempted to install it on their devices, either by forking over $99 for an Apple developer account or paying five or ten bucks to someone online to register your UDID for you.

We know it’s hard to wait, but you really shouldn’t do it. Here’s why.

There’s a lot of new stuff to love about iOS 7. The totally redesigned Multitasking app-switcher. The new lock screen. The revamped Notification Center. A super-charged Siri. A new, easily-accessed quick settings bar. Pretty much every app you can think of has been revamped and stripped down to its essence. At every level, iOS 7 is a slick revitalization, rejuvenation and resurrection of the core iOS experience: for the first time ever, the same man who designs the iOS hardware has given birth to the design of its software.

There’s more reasons for holding off on installing iOS 7 than there are to install it.

So it’s natural that you’d want to give iOS 7 a spin. But the truth of the matter is that, unless you’re a developer, there’s more reasons for holding off on installing iOS 7 than there are to install it.

First of all, there’s the matter of getting it on your device to begin with. The only way to get iOS 7 on your device without violating their Terms of Service is to pay $99 for an Apple Developer account. That’s a lot of money to pay to get some unfinished, buggy software on your iPhone a little bit early (more on the understandable bugginess of iOS 7 in a minute).

Of course, you can always pay some stranger $5 or $10 to register your device UDID, which would allow you to install the beta. There’s loads of people who do this: just Google up ‘UDID registration.’ That’s a far more palatable price than $99, of course, but it’s a far shadier prospect: not only do you have no way of determining that your device will actually be registered when you fork over your money, but the UDID Registration service you use could always be found out by Apple, revoking all the UDIDs tied to that Developer account. That won’t permanently brick your iPhone, but it does mean your window of trying iOS 7 could be very, very small, and you’ll be back to reinstalliong iOS 6 before you know it.

But the real reason you probably shouldn’t install iOS 7 if you aren’t a developer is because it’s a beta, and guess what? Betas suck! They’re buggy! They are unfinished! They have like half the battery life! All your favorite apps crash!

Betas suck! They’re buggy! They are unfinished! They have like half the battery life! All your favorite apps crash!

This fact can’t really be overstated: if you’re using iOS 7, there’s a chance close to 100% that an app you depend upon every day won’t work at all, or that your battery life will just plummet by three-fourths in an hour. You’ll waste time getting angry about stupid feature gaps that Apple will address in future betas, and get attached to features or icons that Apple will nuke from orbit in a month or two.

To be a cool kid and have iOS 7 running, it means effectively breaking your iPhone, making it far less functional device than it was before. Not only that, but you have to pay money for the privilege… money that might end up being stolen from you at the end of the day.

“Would I pay someone $10 to install a pretty new UI, break my iPhone, then mug me?”

So before you install iOS 7 as a non-developer, ask yourself a question: “Would I pay someone $10 to install a pretty new UI, break my iPhone, then — if they felt like it — finish off the transaction by mugging me?” Because if you’re not a dev, chances are that’s the experience you’re looking at. Devs have to go through this sort of frustration to get their apps ready for you when iOS 7 is official. There’s no reason you need to suffer with them!

Cult of Mac’s recommendation? iOS 7 will be out in three months, and when it comes out, it’ll be as Apple & Jony Ive envisioned it, not a half-baked casserle of brightly-colored Playdough spaghetti. You can wait, and when iOS 7 finally ships? It’ll be worth that wait.