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Apple Inches Closer To Public Release With IOS 15 Public Beta 5

iOS 15 Public Beta 5 is now available for all Apple Beta Program participants! Just hop into Settings > General > Software Update and start downloading (or, y’know, set it to download and install automatically like the reckless animal you are). 

What’s interesting about this week’s beta actually has nothing to do with the beta itself. Instead, the big news was that Apple is preparing iOS 14.8. They’re doing this without beta visibility so no one’s really sure what’s in it but it seems to signal that Apple is ready to start entertaining multiple iOS development paths for its devices. That’s good for those who might not be ready to take a chance on the latest version of iOS but still want security updates. It’s actually bad for Apple who’s enjoyed extremely high iOS adoption numbers for years. 

Having everyone (or nearly everyone) on the same version of iOS isn’t just a matter of convenience but one of system security. Even for those that aren’t tech savvy, it should come as no surprise that maintaining one thing is easier than maintaining two. I’ll be curious to see how this decision plays out for Apple in the coming months. 

How to Get iOS 15 Public Beta 5

In the meantime, you’re not here to not upgrade. You’re here to dive foolhardily into the latest iOS 15 beta! Check out my Apple Beta Program guide for everything you need to get started.

Once you’ve enrolled your device, you’ll see the new profile in the Settings app of your device. There, you’ll have to make your first big decision as a public beta tester. While iOS 14 introduced the ability to install a stable public build or the current beta build, they have to be from the same base. Meaning that, in order to participate in the iOS 15 beta, you’ll need to delete the iOS 14 beta profile from your phone. 

This is beta software. Things will go wrong. Features won’t work. Apps won’t work. Things might just break without reason. If you install this on your main device, be ready with a reliable backup in case things fall apart during testing. 

What’s New?

There less tweaks this week, but still a few new things to talk about (for a full list of features coming to iOS 15 click here):

  • The Weather app has an updated icon.
  • There are new feature screens in Maps, Home, and Photos
  • You can disable the color bleed feature in Safari in its settings
  • The “iPhone Findable After Power Off” is now tappable, giving you the option to disable the feature
  • You’ll now see in the App Store when you have the TestFlight version of an app installed

What’s Broken? 

I’m still seeing some apps ping-pong on launch, requiring you to click the icon again to get it to really launch. Other than that, I’ve not noticed a ton of issues with iOS 15. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues, however. Here’s everything from the official release notes. A bunch of these are persistent issue from iOS 15 Public Beta 4

  • CarPlay might fail if you’re screen sharing when you connect to your vehicle
  • When using Guided Access with VoiceOver, you might be unable to enter the Guided Access passcode to end Guided Access
  • Files might quit unexpectedly if you choose Open in New Window for a file
  • Text indicating the Find My network is active when your iOS device needs to be charged will only display if the device language is set to English. 
  • Focus is…a little too focused. You can only switch to Do Not Disturb using Siri.
  • Matter is still a mess – Apple TV can’t reach them when on WiFi (only ethernet), you can’t connect to a third-party hub, accessories may give a No Response message after pairing, pairing might take a long time and fail anyway, you can only pair five accessories, and only the owner of the home account can pair them. 
  • After cancelling a widget gallery search, the cancel button remains visible.
  • Legacy Contacts have been removed (for now)
  • The Bay Bridge is still scaling incorrectly and rounded corners on buildings are vanishing in the Maps app
  • On 3G? You might not be able to add additional participants to a phone call. 
  • No new reality for you! You might not be able to create new projects in Reality Composer
  • Safari may have a clipped clear button in the search bar and, when enabled, Safari Extensions will not appear in the Smart Search field when Show Separate Tab Bar is selected 
  • SharePlay is getting better but might not work well with over five participants. If you start a season on your Apple TV you might not get the confirmation pop-up on your iPhone. 
  • On-device (i.e. offline) Siri speech recognition is available for only these languages at this time:  Chinese (Mandarin – China mainland), English (Australia), English (Canada), English (United Kingdom), and English (US)
  • In Siri: VoiceOver and Spoken Content users might not initially see all available voice options. Voice options should populate after some time.
  • Third-party VPN apps fail to connect if they use a private API that no longer exists in iOS 15

As you can see, the list is getting shorter! There were a few new bugs this week around VoiceOver but overall this is looking good! 

Just remember, as a beta tester, it’s up to you to report bugs that you find in iOS 15 Public Beta 5, especially third-party bugs. Make sure that the Feedback app is always handy!

What’s Fixed?

iOS 15 no longer keeps suggesting additional widgets in stacks after you’ve told it not to…and that’s it? The release notes this week didn’t list any resolved issues, instead focusing on the current known issues. That should change soon as the list above is winnowed down. 

What’s Next

iOS 15 is surprisingly stable for a first release. It might be the most stable .0 release I’ve used since I started testing iOS betas. 

That said, especially if you rely on third-party apps as part of your regular routine, you’ll want to think twice about hopping onto the beta. While iOS 15 might be stable, third-party apps that support it are still being worked on. I’ve found a few that behave oddly (like signing you out repeatedly or resetting to “first launch” behaviors every time you open them). Proceed with caution.

We shouldn’t have to wait too much longer, however, to see iOS 15 in the wild. With a short list of known issues, Apple seems to be signaling that we’re getting close to the end of this initial development cycle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a public release just after Labor Day in September. 

In the meantime iOS 15 Public Beta 6 will be here next week or the week after.

What do you think?

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