First, to get the basics out of the way:

Do not install Beta software on any device you rely on.

Really. I’m serious.

Apple has released public Betas of iOS, MacOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and WatchOS. There is some very interesting a useful new features, and I’ll link to some reviews below.

Summer Beta season for Apple users is always a fun time. WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference is where Apple announces the new features for the newest versions of the software, and releases test versions (Betas) of them to the developers so they can start experimenting and writing their apps to take advantage of the new features.

But the features don’t release until the fall. Instead, all summer we get a series of (hopefully) improving Beta versions to test and try out. At some point, Apple decides they are confident enough of the Betas that they start making them available beyond the few million registered developers in what they call a Public Beta.

If you have any extra computers or other Apple devices laying around, you might enjoy installing and trying out the new Beta on that device. But I recommend a few precautions:

1. Make a full backup of the device. Preferably a 3-2-1 Backup (3 backups, 2 different media, 1 offsite). I hope you are already doing this.

2. Make a “Test” Apple ID. You can add it to your family group to get apps and media, but I recommend against connecting it to your contacts, photos, or other important shared data.

3. Be sure you have good backups of important info. (Again, I hope you already have this.

The risk of serious problems and even data corruption is small, but real. Please be careful.

Once you’ve done all this (or not), load up the Beta and have fun!

I’ll be updating this post with more information in the coming days and weeks.