Why I will never install a beta OS on my iPhone ever again

Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:43 PM by CoreyRoth

As people that know me well know, I am all about installing anything beta.  I am more than willing to try out some buggy software and risk having to reinstall what’s on my computer because that’s how I roll.  When I joined the iPhone developer program, the situation was no different.  I proudly installed Beta 3 of 3.0 and things were working great.  Now at this point I will stop you and tell you that it was not the Beta that caused an issue with my phone.  It was the fact that I experienced a hardware failure on my phone while having the beta installed. 

Here is what happened.  I used Beta 3 for a couple weeks and everything worked great.  I later installed Beta 4 and it worked for a while.  One day, I pull my phone out of my pocket, only to find that the device is turned off.  I turn it back on and I get the pink Connect to iTunes screen.  No big deal, I plug it in and I restore Beta 4 again and it works fine for about another week.  The issue then occurs again, and this time I am unable to restore the OS onto the device.  Beta 5 comes out so I try it, it doesn’t work.  I always end up getting an Error Code 28 (sometimes error 9).  I try multiple ways of flashing using iTunes and Xcode but nothing works.

At this point, I am at a loss and try to go to the Tulsa Woodland Hills Apple store for help.  I made several attempts to go to the Apple store and beg for a new phone, all but the last one were unsuccessful.  The first time I went in the tech immediately noticed that I had the pink Connect to iTunes screen.  This is code to the Genius Bar that says we don’t have to support this device.  The first guy turned me away; basically accusing me that my device ID was not registered with the Apple Developer program.  I claimed that in fact I am a registered developer and I am more than willing to log in and show him, but he wouldn’t have any of that.  So I left the store with my brick.

You see Apple’s policy is that you get absolutely zero (0) support for your iPhone while you have a beta installed.  So even though you are doing them a favor and helping them test out their software, they will leave you high and dry.  Now they have disclaimers when you download the beta that this should only be conducted on devices used for testing, etc.  That is fine, but no where does it say that if you have an issue with your phone whilst having the beta that they will not support you.

Sometime, after Beta 5 came out, I decided to try the Apple store again.  At this point I had tried doing the restore with a different computer, cable, operating system, etc.  The results was always the same.  I go in there and explain my situation to another tech and I basically get the same story.  However, he said come back after 3.0 is released officially to the public and we’ll see what we can do.  Frustrated, I accepted that and I scheduled myself an appointment for June 17th when 3.0 was announced at the WWDC.  I knew that the release version of the OS wouldn’t install either, but I accepted it and impatiently waited.

So on June 17th, I enter the Apple Store at 2:45 and it is slammed.  Amazingly though, the Genius Bar is right on time and I get a tech right away.  He sees the pink screen on my device and then disappears for a minute.  He goes and talks to his lead and he comes back with the answer that I have to go through the developer site for support since it has the beta on it.  I respond by saying that 3.0 has been released to the public, I need some support.  He responds several times by saying that our policies haven’t been changed though to allow us to work with the beta device.

This time I refuse to take that as answer.  I ask to talk to the lead.  The current lead, Sean Love, comes over and we talk for a bit.  After a while, it finally becomes clear to me.  He tries to restore the phone and he gets the same error message.  If they see the pink screen on the device, they assume your pir8ed the 3.0 beta.  I state I am in the developer program, I can show you.  He seems almost surprised that I said that, but he allows me to login and I show him where my ID is registered.  At this point, he takes some info from me and tells me he can help me out.  I am relieved.  A few minutes later he comes out with a new iPhone for me and I finally am able to leave the store with a working phone.  I want to take the time to express my gratitude to Sean for helping me out with my issue.  I really do appreciate it.

I would like to reiterate that I do not feel at all that the beta OS destroyed my phone.  It seemed to suffer from hardware failure as it could not write to a portion of the flash memory (or whatever it is) during the restore.  The reason, I will never install a beta on a phone again is because if you have any other kind of issue, Apple will not support it.  I write this today to make this point clear to more people and maybe urge Apple to change their policy.  I was without an iPhone for almost two months and it was completely unacceptable.  Developers need some line of hardware support.  I read the forums, other people had similar issues.  Some tried calling the developer number and they got turned down as well.  Hardware issues can happen while the beta is installed and we shouldn’t be out of luck because of it.  There will have to be some amazing stuff in the next beta for me to consider installing it on my device.  Most likely I will wait next time.

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