Apple opens iOS 13.1 beta testing to the public

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iOS 13 on an iPhone XS
Why wait for iOS 13 when you can already install the first iOS 13.1 beta?
Photo: iHelp BRM/Cult of Mac

Anyone who wants to get a jump on iOS 13.1 can do so: the first public beta of this version was just released.

This includes features that apparently won‘t be in iOS 13 when it debuted in a few weeks.

Although iPadOS has been forked from iOS, the two are continuing through the beta process in lockstep. So the first iPadOS 13.1 Public beta is also out today.

iOS 13 vs. iOS 13.1

When everyone was expecting iOS 13 Beta 9 to be released this week, Apple threw a curve by starting the iOS 13.1 beta process instead. It’s not clear if this means the company has stopped testing of iOS 13, or if both it and iOS 13.1 will be tested simultaneously.

Both offer a raft of improvements over iOS 12, especially for iPad. There’s mouse support and full access USB drives, for example. And Dark Mode, among many other changes.

The most notable difference between the two prerelease editions is the return of Shortcuts automations in version 13.1. This allows users to trigger shortcuts based on time or location, and is a feature that was cut from early iOS 13 betas. The same goes for Maps’ ability to share an estimated time of arrival (ETA.)

These and a number of other tweaks coming in iOS 13.1 apparently won‘t be in the earlier version when it launches in September. It’s not known when the 13.1 update will be out.

Consider this before jumping to iOS 13.1

Anyone already in the free Apple Beta Software Program can easily install the first iOS 13.1 Public beta. However, remember that doing so will make it difficult to install the final version of iOS 13 when it’s released. iPhones and iPads won’t consider that a replacement for iOS 13.1, as it’s a previous version.

This doesn’t matter to anyone who intending to stay in the beta program through the release of version iOS 13.1 and beyond. They can go to Settings > General > Software Update to install the latest Public beta. Or connect their iPhone or iPad to a computer running iTunes.