How to prepare your Mac for macOS Catalina public beta

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Catalina looks pretty good, but should you install the public beta already?
macOS Catalina is coming soon.
Photo: Apple

The macOS Catalina public beta is here, so if you’re feeling brave, you can go ahead and install it on your Mac. But should you bother? Is early access to Project Catalyst apps, Voice Control, the Photos app redesign, Sidecar and Screen Time worth the risks?

Probably not. Or not yet, at least. But if you want to go ahead and install macOS Catalina on your Mac, here are a few tips and warnings.

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.

Apple adds 4 new Animoji to iOS 12.2

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iPhone X Animoji
Animoji are too much fun!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The latest iOS 12.2 beta Apple seeded to developers today brings four new Animoji options to iPhone X, XS, XR and XS Max owners.

Now iPhone and iPad Pro users can choose between the new giraffe, shark, boar and owl Animoji characters during FaceTime calls and in the effects option for iMessage.

This is what they look like:

Apple starts new round of iOS, macOS, tvOS ‘bug fix’ betas

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There are new iOS 12 beta versions for developers and the public, as the same is true for macOS Mojave.
New betas of OS upgrades for all these Apple computers were just seeded to developers.
Photo: Apple

Every type of Apple computer got an operating system upgrade yesterday, but the company’s coding team apparently never rests. New betas for phones, tablets, Macs, and TVs were just seeded to third-party software developers.

There’s no new beta for Apple Watch because its OS update yesterday had to be pulled.

Everyone can already get today’s iOS 12.1 developer beta

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iOS 12 features
The major change in iOS 12.1 is a feature that should have been in iOS 12: Group FaceTime.
Photo: Apple

Apple seeded the third beta of iOS 12.1 to developers this afternoon. In what’s possibly a new speed record, that version is already available to the general public. 

The major change coming in the final version is support for Group FaceTime, but there’re other enhancements too. 

Everyone can get the latest iOS 12.1, macOS, tvOS betas

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Apple Beta Software Program
Get in on the new betas while they're hot.
Photo: Apple

Apple isn’t wasting time getting out the next versions of all its operating systems. Yesterday, it introduced fresh betas of iOS 12.1, macOS 10.14.1, and tvOS 12.1 just for developers, and today these are all available to the general public.

This is the second round of betas of all this pre-release software. It comes two weeks after the initial round.

iOS 12.1 will bring Dual SIM feature to iPhone XS and XS Max

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When iPhone Dual SIM support appears in iOS 12.1, it will be possible to use two service plans at once with Apple's latest models.
When iPhone Dual SIM support appears in iOS 12.1, it will be possible to use two service plans at once with Apple's latest models.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A hotly anticipated feature wasn’t available when the iPhone XS models arrived last week, but Apple is hard at work bringing Dual SIM support to these new handsets. This cutting-edge features is included in the first iOS 12.1 beta.

When the full version of the operating system update becomes available later this fall, the iPhone XS and XS Max will be able to simultaneously connect to two cellular providers.

Apple releases iOS 12 beta 7, then quickly withdraws it

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iOS 12 features
iOS 12 will bring loads of new features, but not until Apple gets it throughly debugged.
Photo: Apple

The latest early-release version of iOS 12 was made available to developers today — but it disappeared shortly afterward.

This afternoon’s release of iOS 12 beta 7 was met with widespread complaints that it runs slowly. Apple seems to have pulled the OTA version within an hour or so.

New iOS, macOS and tvOS betas bring more bug fixes

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UAE iPhone hacks
The hack took advantage of a flaw in iMessage.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple users will soon receive operating system updates for phones and tablets, Macs and set-top boxes. Developers today received new beta versions for all these platforms

Anyone from the public who wants to beta test preview versions of iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.4 or tvOS 11.3 can do so by signing up on Apple’s website. The newest developer versions should be available to public beta testers in a day or so.