ios 8.3 beta 4

So there I was, two days into my carrier’s billing cycle looking at a text message saying I had used 80% of my 2GB data allowance. I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in a couple of days, and I have Wi-Fi at home and at work. In fact, the only place I don’t have Wi-Fi in my day-to-day life is my car.

I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in my car. How?

The answer came after much toggling of iOS option switches, browsing of websites and general trial and error. It turned out the ‘Documents and Sync’ portion of the inner workings of iOS was eating data like there was no tomorrow, which, once it reached that 2GB cap, wasn’t far from the truth. I had to buy more data just to give me wiggle room to do some more testing and once I knew where in iOS I could specifically track the usage that was causing me problems, I had somewhere to start.

Now believe it or not this post isn’t about hunting for strange iOS bugs and squashing them with the contempt that they deserve. It’s not even to point out that the culprit, after it was first thought to be iCloud Drive and in particular my favorite text editor, was actually iCloud Photo Library. It’s to remind everyone that betas aren’t as fun as you may think.

I’ve been using beta releases of iOS apps for years, and I’ve run the big new iOS betas for nearly as long. I like to fiddle with new things and it sort of helps with the job, too. I guess part of me just likes having something most people don’t, but that’s a discussion for another time. I’m currently using the latest iOS 8.3 beta and have, or had until yesterday, iCloud Photo Library (Beta) turned on. The text editor that I initially pointed the finger at when I noticed my data use was also a beta release. I know it’s asking for trouble, and that’s why I’m not shouting from the rooftops that someone from Apple owes me for a bucket of data. Betas do weird stuff. I get it.

But do you? Does everyone who will no doubt be signing up to Apple’s public iOS beta if they haven’t already?

Apple has been giving the general public access to OS X betas for a little while now, and a couple of weeks ago it started giving anyone who asks for it a way to download and install iOS betas too. The problem here is that come iOS 9 – when everyone with a fast internet connection and an hour to kill wants to try the next big thing – things are going to get messy. If you’ve ever used the fist beta of a big point-0 iOS release, you’ll know what I mean.

And what happens when it goes wrong? What happens when the iPhone that someone relies on starts rebooting every 5 minutes or starts deleting files from iCloud?

Or uses a month’s worth of data in a couple of days?

We, as technology enthusiasts, know the risks and if we install this stuff then we only have ourselves to blame. Will everyone who installs the latest and greatest iOS betas be equally prepared for the chaos they can bring? I suspect not, and that’s worrisome. even if Apple were to put big flashing warning messages on its site people wouldn’t pay attention and while it’s fair to argue that’s their own problem, the damage caused by a duff iOS release can be catastrophic not just for the user in question but for Apple’s reputation as well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find out why a service that explicitly says it won’t work when not on 4G was doing the opposite. Welcome to betas folks. I hope you enjoy the ride.

  • Justice and Malice

    I just wish I could install the “public” beta like they said it was. But it does not show up for me on the seed website

    • Jeiivy

      You want to?

      • Justice and Malice

        Yes. I do

      • Jackson Grong

        Google is your friend… If you want to find the .ipsw file of the iOS 8.3 beta just Google it

      • Justice and Malice


        yeah guy, i know about searches. Already did that, and I couldn’t find what i felt to be a reliable source. But google is man frend doe!!! 1111!!!!!!!LOLLLLLLLL

      • Nir

        I want too

    • Mohammed Burn

      you can just download the ipsw and update your device with itunes to 8.3

      • Justice and Malice

        You also need the profile to have it run. I don’t have that

      • Hitch.

        You don’t have to have the profile. I don’t have one but I downloaded the IPSW to use beta 3 and OTA updated to beta 4

      • Justice and Malice

        Where’d you get the ipsw from? Does it seem stable?

      • Jeffrey

        I have it installed without the profile too, and yes, it’s very stable.

      • Juschan

        All you guys had to do was to give a short review on osx Beta so what is the matter with the profile ..?

      • jaysoncopes

        The profile is just so that your device detects the beta releases as an OTA update, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Chang in Charge

    This was my point exactly. I was skeptical about how releasing these betas to the public would improve the public perception that iOS is buggy. We shall see.

    • John

      I disagree with this.

      There are SOME users, like Oliver–and forum posters, that install betas purely for the sake of saying “I have what you do not have” and although they fully acknowledge that it’s a beta and its shouldn’t be installed on your primary device (as per Apple), they will happily do it and still happily bitch when shit goes tits up.

      After talking to heaps of people in my job, I think the perception doesn’t come from shitty beta builds, people are smart enough to know what a beta is and why it exists, it comes from shitty public builds…and I bet one of the reasons why they have opened iOS beta testing is to allow more users to test and report bugs rather then posting them in a forum or on a blog where Apple can’t really do much with it.

  • Hussain Alsanona

    I’m using betas since iOS 6 and I have never seen this problem.

  • stylesbeyond

    people don’t have all you can eat data and free 4g? what!!!!!! you’re all on the wrong networks

    • jaysoncopes

      Typically if you have unlimited data, you get slower speeds (nature of the network). For instance, Sprint, if I’m not mistaken, offers an unlimited data plan, but clearly does not cover near as much as AT&T or Verizon and definitely does not have the same speed as them. It’s a trade off of values.

      • stylesbeyond

        good thing I’m in the uk and use three for my network i don’t get throttled and have super speeds for whats needed on the go

      • Sprint sucks. Honestly, their speeds and network reliability is horrendous. Currently I use T-Mobile. Their speeds are mostly okay, however in some areas of the cities I get download speeds up to 35 Mbps, while in other areas I barely get 3 Mbps. I have never had ATT or Verizon, but I hear they are okay as well.

  • MrVids132

    I love unlimited data 🙂

  • Jeiivy

    Okay I’ll send the link. You can’t Download Ipsw without the mobilecong profile.

  • Fanboy 

    This….. headline…. though……. LOL niiiiice

  • Jeiivy

    the link i posted is hasn’t been approved, if you want inbox me ill reply.

  • James G

    Dang, that sucks. I didn’t think iCloud Photo Library was supposed to operate while on Cellular (it claims it won’t upload/sync while on Wi-Fi in the UI).

    Too bad you’re on a limited data plan though. In contrast, I wish iCloud Photo Library worked on my cellular connection through T-Mobile and my unlimited, unthrottled LTE connection 🙂

  • Chris Wagers

    Oliver can you guys please quit saying apple is letting anyone who asks for it test ios betas. That doesn’t appear to be the case. Many of us have tried asking but it looks like it’s invite only. We only see the option to join the OS X beta test. So when you say anyone and public you have comments including mine about not being able to sign up for the beta. Does anyone else think the same as I am?

    • Daniel Beecham

      Me, i’m From SouthAmerica and i Can’t see The iOS Beta Program.

  • Mike Colacone Saal

    Strange. Is it an 8.3 beta bug? My iCloud photo library doesn’t upload photos unless I’m on wifi–8.1

  • roger

    I’m using betas since iOS 7 and I have never seen this problem.

    • mrgerbik

      Ive been using condoms since ’98 and never gotten any diseases

  • mrgerbik

    According to many on this forum, when bugs like this exist in official releases, it’s okay because you can’t expect Apple to squash every single bug.
    So if this is the case, whats the point of beta software?

  • Rodney Coleman

    I have 30GB of data. iPhones use way less data than android. iPhone owners need 15GB min…

  • Brian Brown

    Thank you for providing your experience. Informative indeed!