iPadOS beta Apple introduced this week offers something none of its predecessors did: reliability. Stability, even. After days of testing on an iPad Pro, I found it close enough to the final version for an average person to access a mouse or thumb with the iPad almost seamlessly. It has not been the case of previous betas.
Less stringent testing of iOS 13 on an iPhone XS Max indicates that it is also relatively stable.
iPadOS 13 is reasonably stable in the end
Apple began to release developer and public beta of both iOS 12 replacements – one for iPhone and the other for iPad. I installed the first iPadOS Developer beta on a tablet because it is part of my job. Using it required a lot of patience because it was exceptionally eavesdropping.
Each subsequent beta has offered improvements, but stability has only marginally improved. My iPad Pro Test Unit 2018 experienced several daily Springboard crashes – that's when everything running on the tablet restarts to the lock screen. Individual apps crashed or performed poorly.
All this changed this week … basically. There are still problems, but the Springboard crash went from a half-hour occurrence to something rare, maybe one a day. And it's on a device that spends an average of 10 hours on a work day.
All third-party applications I rely on are now stable, although some require their developers to support iPadOS 13. I can sometimes use this tablet for hours and forget that I'm running a beta.
To be clear – and be aware of this part – there are still problems. The iPad Pro occasionally crashes. The Mail app constantly brings back archived emails. Safari has quirks. This is definitely not the final version.
But those with a moderate tolerance for bugs may begin to benefit from the great new features.
iPadOS 13 is a huge improvement
Not surprisingly, iPad users have been excited about iPadOS 13. Apple finally relied on endless user requests and iPadOS 13 allows you to use a mouse or trackpad. This is very handy for people who attach a clipboard to temporarily turn their tablet into a laptop, since virtually everyone is used to using a mouse next to a keyboard.
If that wasn't enough, the Files app can now fully access all the contents of USB drives connected to the tablet. Those with an iPad iPad 2018 can get a USB-C hub with USB-A ports, or the aptly named Apple Camera Kit can do the same trick for iPads with Lightning ports.
I used a lot of these features while running the latest iPadOS 13 beta on last year's iPad Pro, and found that they work well. The same goes for Apple Pencil enhancements, home screen widgets, and other new features.
iOS 13 is also reliable
Apple focused on improving the tablets this year, so while iPadOS 13 really contains dramatic improvements, the same cannot be said about the iPhone version.
That does not mean there are no nice new features, like Dark Mode. And the redesigned Photos app is welcome, as well as the Swype-like keyboard and the extra Memoji.
iOS 13 users can also take advantage of the improvements made to the iPad. You can connect a mouse to your handset if you want. And access to thumb drives.
Because most of the changes are for tablets, I didn't pay much attention to testing the iPhone version. Still, the latest iOS 13 beta has worked well in light usage. I have not had any problems with battery draining, as some have experienced with previous issues.
Become iPadOS 13 or iOS 13 beta testing today
Anyone looking for a weekend project can sign up for the Apple Beta software, which is open to anyone free of charge. Installing the iPadOS 13 Public beta 5 is not a tough job, and then having fun with the new features.
Wednesday's iPadOS 13 Developer beta 6 I tested and Thursday's Public beta 5 have the same serial number 17A5556d, so don't think I got access to something you don't want.
I deliberately would not give step by step instructions on how to install the public beta. If you can't take the link above and follow it through the process of putting iPadOS 13 or iOS 13 on your device, you probably aren't ready to run a pre-release operating system.
Because you install buggy software for iPad or iPhone. Remember that. Don't try to say later that you were not warned. In my tests, these latest betas have been significantly improved and have reached the point where I think they can be used without too much hassle. You can have a different experience.