For those of you who want to download iOS 7 early, before the official release "later this Fall," be careful: It is possible to brick your iPhone by downloading iOS 7.
Hypothetical Scenario 1
Joe is an avid Apple fan and is mesmerized by the colorful and flat iOS 7. He wants it ASAP and can't wait until wait until the fall of 2013, when Apple usually schedules the release of iOS 7 and the time period that Apple executives said iOS 7 would be available. He also doesn't want to pay for a developer license because, well, would you? If you're not a developer, a $100 fee for early access to a glitchy, bug-filled, operating system, isn't really financially prudent. But, Joe still wants iOS 7. So he goes onto his favorite torrent site and downloads an IPSW file that says its the iPhone 5 version of iOS 7. Joe was excited. He was about to get early access to iOS 7 and could show off the new Apple operating system to his friends. But, when he tries to install it, it bricks his phone. What does that mean? Bricking your iPhone renders it unusable and it's very difficult to save after that. On a scale from 1-to-Catastrophic, bricking your iPhone is probably a solid 8.5.
Download a beta version of any software has its risks, but it's even riskier on a device that you use all the time. A device integral to a user's life like your iPhone or computer can be a tricky thing to tamper with. But, by downloading a non-Apple-sanctioned build of iOS 7, you run the risk of hackers and developers leaving traps inside the build that can take your secure data and potentially brick your phone. Take Joe for instance; he wanted iOS 7 so badly that he was willing to download it illegally, but didn't realize how other people could tamper with the file. Now, I could blame society's need for instant gratification, but instead I'll just warn you guys about the dangers of downloading illegal, bootleg copies of iOS 7. If you're OK with bugs and glitches, that's cool, download iOS 7. I'm sure Apple won't mind. But, it's definitely better to do it through Apple, even if you need to pay the $100 yearly fee.
Hypothetical Scenario 2
Sarah is another vivacious Apple fanatic and is obsessed with iOS 7. She wants it ASAP as well. But, unlike her friend Joe, she's also a small-time developer. She hasn't created any "Angry Birds"-esque app, but she's tinkered with coding and has a developer license with Apple. So, she logs on to her developer page (developer.apple.com) and logs in with her Apple ID. She downloads the IPSW file and follows the proper steps install iOS 7. And it loads! And it works! But, as I said previously, it's incredibly glitchy. Popular apps like Instagram and Tinder aren't working well and your iPhone keeps rebooting (it's important to mention that rebooting on iOS 7 takes less than a minute) and you can't use your iPhone as efficiently as you could with a stable and finished operating system.
iOS 7 is great; it looks gorgeous, the user interface is completely redesigned, and there are number of brand new features that make Apple's operating system easier to use and a lot more user friendly. But, remember, this is the beta version, I can't emphasize that enough. Beta, by definition, is unfinished. So, when things like Instagram and Tinder don't work, and you freak out and run to complain to Apple, they'll blame you (I'm assuming, I've never complained to Apple about a beta program before) and say you downloaded software that clearly states it may be buggy, glitchy, or not work well. So, even if you go the legal route to download iOS 7, you need to remember that, since iOS 7 is so new, it will be riddled with bugs and won't be as stable or as efficient as the full release coming in the Fall.
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