iOS 13 is probably ready for you right now

After the release of iOS 13.1 beta 2, iOS 13 is probably good enough for you to install and use. I’ve been running the new iPadOS on an old test iPad since the very first version, and it has been glitchy all the way. But as of the latest developer beta, almost all of the problems have been ironed out.

So, is the iOS 13 beta really stable enough to install?

Watch out — your apps might still break

While the iOS 13 beta itself is ready for daily use, the same can’t be said about your apps. I’m beta testing a handful of apps that have been updated to work properly with iOS 13, but everything else on my iPad has yet to be optimized. This means I can’t use iPadOS’ new multiple windows on anything but Apple’s own apps.

And it also means that any of those apps could fail to launch, or even lose data. Make double-sure that your essential apps work on iOS 13 before installing the beta. Or better still, wait until a while after the official launch to be really safe.

But of course, you’re not going to do that.

Final fixes in iOS 13 beta

Safari's new iOS 13 page settings panel.
Safari’s new iOS 13 settings panel.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The most important fix in iOS 13 is that Apple gave up on including new iCloud Drive features, and reverted to the old, stable version of iCloud Drive. That means there are no shared iCloud folders, for now, but it also means that you won’t lose data, or see duplicate folders, or suffer through duplicated favorites in the sidebar. iCloud Drive should now be as safe as it is in iOS 12.

Apple also fixed various user-interface glitches. Using a mouse, for example, no longer freezes the screen for touch input. Also, the fantastic new quick-share row in the iOS 13 share sheet — which lets you share to common destinations and people with a single tap — is no longer blurred. And speaking of blurred UI elements, the Slide Over card-picker is no longer blurred.

Other annoyances also disappeared from the most recent iOS 13 betas. For instance, the on-screen keyboard often would fail to appear while Bluetooth was switched on, even if you didn’t have a Bluetooth keyboard connected. That’s fixed. Also, you can use the keyboard shortcut to switch apps (⌘-Tab) again. In previous betas the app switcher would just fail to show up when you hit the keyboard shortcut. This still happens, but way less often.

New features return in iOS 13.1 beta

An example of Shortcuts' new automations.
An example of Shortcuts’ new automations.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The other great thing about the iOS 13.1 beta is that it added back some features that Apple removed from earlier iOS 13.0 betas. For instance, Shortcuts automations returned. They are amazing. You can run shortcuts based on the time of day, your location, or even by tapping your iPhone on an RFID sticker.

You also can enjoy sharing your ETA with anyone you’re on your way to meet, use right-click on a connected mouse to show a contextual menu, or gamify your reading experience with reading goals in the Books app (the lamest feature in iOS 13, for my money).

So, if you were on the fence about installing the iOS 13 beta, now’s a good time. Or you could just wait a little longer for the official launch, and for your favorite apps to be updated. But if you’re cool with the dangers of a beta OS, then it’s ready and waiting for you.

One final note: I have only tested the iPadOS beta on my iPad. I haven’t even thought about trying it on my iPhone yet.

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