Don’t install the iOS 14.2 beta if you plan to get an iPhone 12 ASAP

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ioS 14.2 is great, but not that great.
Stay away from iOS 14.2 if you plan to get an iPhone 12 in October.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is already testing iOS 14.2. But you should stay away from it if you intend to get an iPhone 12 as soon as it’s released. It’s likely the new handset will launch running an earlier version of iOS, and that’ll cause you difficulties.

More iOS versions means more problems

iOS 14 came out earlier this month, and then Apple skipped straight to iOS 14.2 for its beta testing program. Many people believe Apple reserved iOS 14.1 for the iPhone 12, which is almost certainly coming in mid-October.

Here’s the problem. If your current handset runs an iOS 14.2 beta but your shiny new iPhone 12 runs iOS 14.1, you won‘t be able to restore your latest backup to your new device. You can’t put a backup made with one version of iOS onto a handset running an older version.

So stay away from iOS 14.2 if you have your eye on an iPhone 12. True, the upcoming version of iOS is nice. It has Shazam music recognition built in, and dozens of new emoji. But it’s not worth the hassle.

Suggestions for those already running iOS 14.2

If you’re in the Apple Beta Software Program and already jumped onto the new beta, it’s certainly not a disaster. You have multiple options.

One is to go back to iOS 14. As long as you made a backup of your iPhone on a Mac or PC before upgrading to version 14.2, going back is easy. Follow the step-by-step instructions in Cult of Mac’s guide to downgrading.

If you didn’t make a backup on another computer, there are still options. One is to install an iOS 14.2 beta on the iPhone 12 as soon as you get it. But this might not be possible, if there’s not yet a version of the beta compatible with the new device.

The other option is to set up the new handset as a new device. Don’t try to use the backup. It’s more work, but Apple makes it as easy as possible. For more info, read our guide on what to do when your iOS backup is newer than your iPhone’s OS.

Of course, if you wait to buy the iPhone 12 until iOS 14.2 or something later is available to everyone, you won’t have to worry about this.