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16th July 2021
Recent testing of iOS 15 Beta releases has shown it to be a very stable release. As some of you may know, we’re now well beyond the phase where the Beta is really for developer testing only and we’re fully into public Beta testing. See Apple Beta Software Program for more information from Apple on this.
So, given how well testing was going, I thought it was time to do something that I usually advise people against doing. It was time to drink the champagne for myself and install the Public Beta on my personal daily driver iPhone – my primary device.
And it was so easy!
Upgrading the Beta iOS 15 release was as simple as installing a profile and then updating the phone over the air. Slick, simple, quick… and a short while later, I was back up and running!
The first thing to say is that it was very stable – firmly in the ‘just works’ camp and the new features were working well. It’s not earth-shattering with the changes, but on the whole, it feels like a quality iterative release.
And the Apps just carried on working. I had a few crashes opening Twitter, but generally, I had zero problems running my day-to-day apps.
So far so good then…
It had to happen didn’t it – I tried an app and it just crashed (or shut down) every time I opened it. Unfortunately, this was the app from my bank! My HSBC App was officially dead, and I was locked out of their online banking services altogether… not only is my HSBC App my gateway to banking services on the move, but it’s also my soft token for accessing services online altogether. In summary, I was stuffed!
Of course, I discovered this at the precise moment when I really needed to get into my app! Stressful doesn’t even cover it (I needed to do an urgent bank transfer).
Every other banking app I use worked fine. Indeed, every other app I use has worked – even the much-maligned Track and Trace App from the NHS, but HSBC was as dead as a dead thing…
A quick check of Twitter showed that I wasn’t alone with this issue and that there was no fix. In fact, apparently, this isn’t the first time it had happened – prior iOS releases have caused similar behaviour and problems for early adopters that bank with HSBC.
Never mind – just go back to iOS 14 then…
Aha! This is the gotcha. Apple makes it a piece of cake to upgrade but going back again is a complete and total PITA! Apple even has a page here on what you need to do – How to uninstall iOS beta software – Apple Support
After a wasted 3 hours using both Mac and Windows to try to downgrade my iPhone, I finally gave up! This Beta was not going anywhere… I was (and am) stuck with it.
In the end, the best workaround I could come up with was to activate an old iPhone as a secondary device just for running the HSBC app!! I could ask the team to investigate this further, but since this is self-inflicted, I will just live with the workaround until iOS 15 launches.
So be warned!
Of course – I brought this upon myself and there are plenty of warnings about precisely this kind of thing that I didn’t heed when I started all this, but the process has left me with some new perspectives:
- The Banking App is now the “Face” of a bank on a day-to-day basis for many people. Trying to live without it for even a few hours showed me that it is now a vital part of my life. Also, my perception of my Bank is directly related to this “Face” of the organisation… apps really, really matter now!
- HSBC – sorry, but it’s just not good enough these days. A new version of iOS isn’t exactly an unexpected event, and your app really should be somewhere close to compatible by the time Public Betas start. Public beta testers are doing you a favour by testing your app early on the new OS – you should be embracing it, not blocking it (which is what I suspect is probably going on here). I repeat, all the other banking apps I tried worked just fine apart from yours (including other large UK banks).
- And if Apple is reading, you should really make it as easy to downgrade as you do to upgrade. Public Beta testers are performing a massive service for you especially, and they deserve to be better supported if it goes wrong.
So, there you go – lots to be hopeful about in iOS 15, but a bit of warning to those tempted to get an early sneak peek… think very carefully about using your primary device for this – it’s sobering to think how much of our lives are now dependent on our phones.
I’ve certainly learnt my lesson!