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Apple pulled latest iOS beta after reports that it’s bricking iPhones


Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The latest beta of Apple’s iOS 17.3 is apparently causing major issues — problems bad enough that Apple pulled the beta back from public release after only a few hours.

After the iOS 17.3 Beta 2’s release yesterday, reports began flooding in that some users who installed it had their phones stuck in a boot loop with a frozen spinning wheel, meaning the devices were restarting continually without ever fully loading. Apple quickly made the beta unavailable for download and install.

Also: The best iPhone models you can buy right now (including the iPhone 15)

According to a Mastodon user, the issue is at least partially tied to the Back Tap gesture. Intended primarily as an accessibility feature, Back Tap lets users assign specific functions to a double tap or triple tap on the back of their phone. “Looks like the iOS 17.3 beta 2 boot loop is caused by a crash in backboardd,” the user wrote. “Based on the crash log, it’s more likely to happen for those who have the ‘Back Tap’ feature enabled. Other accessibility subsystems seem to be affected by the same bug, but this crash is the one that causes the boot loop.”

Users who are affected have reported that restoring their iOS to a previous version, either 17.3 beta 1 or iOS 17.2.1, fixes the problem.

It’s worth noting that it’s strongly recommended to not install beta versions of iOS on your primary phone as they’re intended to do exactly what’s happened here – expose bugs and flaws. 

Shortly after pulling the beta, Apple added a paragraph to the release notes: “iOS and iPadOS 17.3 beta 2 have been withdrawn temporarily due to an issue that prevented a small number of devices from starting up. If your device is in this state, you can recover it by entering Recovery Mode and restoring a previous version of iOS.”

Also: How to use the iPhone’s new Journal app on iOS 17 (and why you should)

The last beta of iOS 17, which was released in December, brought a major security feature in Stolen Device Protection along with Apple Music collaborative playlists and a few small bug fixes. The newest version wasn’t expected to bring any new major features, only some small fixes.

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