What to do when your iOS backup is newer than your iPhone’s OS

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The wait for iOS 12.1 public beta 5 was so short you could have napped through it.
Running an iOS beta can cause problems when you get a new device.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Everyone in Apple’s beta program is running a pre-release version of the next iOS version. Which is great, until you get a new iPhone or iPad. Then you can’t restore the new device from the backup made on your previous one because the old device is running a newer OS.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic — there are a couple of possible solutions. We’ll walk you through both.

New iOS 13 beta makes Dark Mode easy as flipping a switch

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iOS 13
There’s lots to try out in iOS 13 Public beta 5.
Screen capture: Apple

Apple just introduced a fifth beta of iOS 13 to the general public. All the really significant new features appeared in earlier betas, but this one does have a nice tweak: switching to Dark Mode takes only pushing a button.

Apple also released the closely-related iPadOS 13 Public beta 5, as did tvOS 13.

Latest macOS Catalina beta lets you dump iTunes (if you dare)

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macOS Catalina
macOS left the desert of Mojave for the island of Catalina.
Photo: Apple

Anyone who’s fed up with iTunes can put the latest pre-release version of macOS Catalina on their Mac now and start using the new Apple Music, Apple Podcast and Apple TV apps instead. Of course, today’s public beta, the fourth in the series, comes with a long list of known problems so it might not be worth the hassle.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 move closer with fourth public betas

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iOS 13
iOS 13 is probably less than two months away.
Screen capture: Apple

Anyone brave enough to install onto their iPhone or iPad pre-release versions of Apple’s next operating systems can grab the latest betas. Everyone has access to iOS 13 and iPad OS 13 Public beta 4 just a day after developers got their own new version.

In addition, developers received their fifth beta of watchOS 6.

How to prepare your iPad or iPhone for the iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas

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iOS 13 could render your iPhone useless.
iOS 13 could render your iPhone useless.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas are here. And if you plan to test them, you need to take a few steps to get ready. And remember, you will be testing them. Or, more likely, you’ll be testing your own patience.

The early betas are almost always buggy, screwy and crashy. You may lose work. Weird things may happen to your iCloud data. Your favorite (and essential) apps may flat-out fail to launch.

But still, these public betas are already more stable than the very raw early developer versions. If you’re planning on trying them out, here’s how to do it.

iOS 12.3 beta 2 enhances Apple TV app

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The Apple TV app gets a raft of new features in iOS 12.3.
The Apple TV app gets a raft of new features in iOS 12.3.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Both the general public and developers can now download the second beta of iOS 12.3. When the final version is available, it will bring significant improvements to the Apple TV app. The latest beta continues to add features.

A second public beta of macOS Mojave 10.14.5 also just debuted. This is a bug-fix release.