Latest iOS 14 beta is stable enough for almost anyone [Opinion]

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iOS 14 beta 8 might be the last beta before Golden Master.
The pre-release versions of iOS 14, and the iPad equivalent, are really quite stable.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple unveiled iOS 14 back in June, and it’s chock-full of new features. The long wait for the software’s release must be wearing on many iPhone users. But Apple is almost finished development, to the point where the latest iOS 14 beta is almost as stable as the final version will be. Anyone tired of waiting would be relatively safe installing it.

The same goes for iPadOS 14.

What’s new in iOS 14

iPhones are about to get one the biggest changes to the Home screen since 2007: widgets. These give fast access to useful information, and can be positioned anywhere on the Home screen.

And iOS 14 brings the new App Library, which automatically organizes every app on your iPhone into folders. Plus, there’s video picture-in-picture, a built-in language translator and more.

iPadOS 14 gets improvements, too

Apple added Home screen widgets to iPad last year, along with plenty of other changes in iPadOS 13, like mouse support. The changes were dramatic, but that means there’s less to offer tablet users in iPadOS 14.

Still, the upcoming version has plenty to offer fans of the Apple Pencil. With Scribble, a stylus can be used to enter text just by writing words into any text box. And iPadOS 14 brings better drawing tools, too.

Latest betas show the final versions are almost here

Extensive testing of the most recent iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 betas show they’re likely almost indistinguishable from the final versions at this point. All the promised features have been in place for months, and Apple seems to have hunted down nearly all the bugs.

Testing was done on an iPhone 11 and a 2020 iPad Pro. Aside from the occasional application crash, it would be hard to tell these aren’t full-release versions.

That said, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 remain in beta form. There are still some bugs, and one of them might come out to bite you. Install with caution. And don’t say you weren’t warned.

But the actual release isn’t that far away. We know that because the version number for the latest beta releases is 18A5373a. What’s important is that it ends in an “a.” Over the years, when going through previous iOS beta trials, the version that ended with that letter was generally the last before the Golden Master. And if it wasn’t the last, it was second-to-last.

Which means the final version is coming very soon. The September Apple event is scheduled for Sept. 15, and there’s a good chance the full, official versions of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will be introduced in the days shortly thereafter.

While that event reportedly will focus on Apple Watch and iPads — not on iPhone 12 — we still expect to see iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 soon after it. After all, watchOS 7 requires iOS 14. And Apple is unlikely to ship new watches and iPads running old software.

Sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program

Still, anyone who just can‘t wait any longer can sign up to try pre-release versions of Apple’s upcoming operating systems today. It just requires joining the free Beta Software Program. Don’t be intimidated — it’s easy. Visit the official website, click the Sign up button, and log in with your Apple ID.

For more details, don’t miss the Cult of Mac guide on how to sign up for the iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and watchOS 7 public betas. That walks you through the process.