Apple this week has officially released the first public betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8. As we wrote yesterday, there are some risks to installing the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 public betas, but you can take comfort in knowing that you can easily downgrade to iOS 14 if you experience bugs and performance issues.
The same, however, can’t be said for watchOS 8. Once you install the watchOS 8 public beta (or developer beta), there is no way to downgrade…
Until last year, Apple had never even offered a public beta of watchOS because of the risk. watchOS 7 was the first Apple Watch software to be available in public beta form, and that trend continues with this year’s release of watchOS 8.
Here is the warning Apple shows to Apple Watch users when signing up for the watchOS 8 public beta:
The watchOS public beta updates are still in development, which means some applications and services may not work as expected, and their data may not be backwards compatible. Apple Watch content backs up automatically to your paired iPhone. You can learn more about Apple Watch backups here. Please note Apple Watch cannot be restored to previously-released OS versions once the public beta is installed.
What this means is that if you update to watchOS 8 and you face bugs or performance issues, there is no way to revert to the stable version of watchOS 7. While watchOS 8 is relatively stable in early beta form, there are still some bugs and performance issues, including worse-than-usual battery life, compatibility issues with third-party apps, and semi-regular crashes.
If you do face show-stopping bugs with watchOS 8, the only solution is to reach out to Apple directly and have your Apple Watch replaced.
As we suggested for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, one solution is to install watchOS 8 first on an older or spare Apple Watch to assess the stability. This way, you’ll know what bugs you might face and whether or not all of your Apple Watch apps are compatible.
If you assess the risk and decide you want to install watchOS 8 on your Apple Watch, you can learn more in our detailed guide right here.
One more thing to consider
If you install iOS 15 and watchOS 8, then downgrade from iOS 15 back to iOS 14, your Apple Watch will not pair with your iPhone. This means that if you update to watchOS 8, you are also committing to running iOS 15 indefinitely as well.