iOS Betas: Don’t Pay For Them
Every year, Apple release a new version of iOS…and every year, people try to make some money selling access to iOS betas.
I would like to implore developers and the public alike to stop the madness:
Public: Don’t Pay for It
iOS Betas are buggy, buggy, buggy
It’s not unknown for beta versions of iOS to severely cripple your battery life, crash regularly, and generally cause problems. It isn’t worth it. I promise you.
It makes developers sad :(
There have been several instances when non-developers installed betas and gave apps that didn’t work poor reviews on the store. This was particularly apparent when the iOS 5 betas came out: Apple made significant changes to how UI elements were customised, which caused many apps to break. Developers were understandably annoyed by this, since the whole point of the betas is to allow developers to fix these problems.
Betas expire or lock
Apple can and do ban developers who they discover are selling access - and will also lock any devices running betas that are registered to those developers. You will need to go back to iTunes and downgrade your phone to the most recent public version of iOS to get up and running again - and since selling access to betas is definitely not kosher, don’t expect a refund. This is the minority of cases: what’s more likely is your beta will expire, and you’ll end up having to re-install another one (or downgrade). It’s not worth the extra effort, particularly if your phone stops working when you’re out on the road or in the middle of nowhere.
If you MUST have it…
…I suspect some people in this world just really want the latest thing on their phone. So if you choose to ignore all my advice above, just promise me this:
- Don’t review apps that aren’t playing nice - wait until iOS 6 is released to the public and give developers a chance to fix any problem.
- Avoid paying for beta access if you can. Paying simple encourages the problem.
Developers: Don’t Do It
You will be found out
OK, you probably won’t be found out, but that’s only because there are a number of developers considerably dumber than you. One of my favourite is the person behind iosreg.com, which offers beta access for the ‘low’ price of ~$10 (that’s a $900 profit off each developer account, by the way - even more if you’re using an enterprise account).
Now, given that selling beta access is absolutely, totally in violation of your developer agreement you’d think you’d take steps to hide who you were. Not so here, because the person behind iOSReg.com has used his real name and address rather than an anonymous proxy when registering the domain. These are the people who will be found out - there are many, equally foolish, people and sites out there that don’t deserve the pagerank.
What’s clear is that Apple have in the past punished developers who sold iOS beta access. Of course, money is involved, so appealing to any sense of decency or good faith is probably a lost cause here: if you’re selling beta access you’re probably not a true iOS developer, but someone out for some fast cash. If you truly cared about iOS development you wouldn’t sell beta access because you’d understand the need for a period to allow developers to adjust their apps in private. So for that reason alone I hope this post at least encourages one person not to buy beta access.
(I wrote this rather quickly in response to a tweet: apologies for any omissions, but I just had to get it down while I was still mad!)