For the last several years I’ve belonged to the Apple Developers Group. This group consists of software developers, media writers, testers-of-all-things-Apple and dozens of other “types” of people who make up the Apple ecosystem for software.
Put me in the “types” labeled “curious.” This means I’m looney enough to pay for the privilege of getting Apple system software in beta format earlier than you do. Why? Because I’m sucked in by reading tech news about all the great new features and improvements “coming soon” in OS X (for Mac computers), IOS (for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch) and now watchOS (for the new Apple Watch).
As always, Apples WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) is held in June in San Francisco and provides developers (and others) with Beta (early prototypes) software for them to use in developing new and improved software apps for the official release of the system software usually in the early fall.
The Good News:
You get a first look at new and improved features – like screen split views on iPad which allows you to run two apps side by side. Or tap with two fingers on the on-screen keyboard and it becomes a trackpad to easily move your cursor around the page your writing or editing.
Apple’s desire – now that they have public Beta’s (usually available around a month after WWDC) – is to have hundreds of thousands of folks testing their software. A generally good idea that helps in development and hypes the brand and the products.
The Bad News:
Beta software should really be labled “Buggy Software” because it simply is. Apple software programmers write thousands of lines of code, and final software must be compatible with the over 1,000,000 software apps that are in Apples App store. Not an easy job.
Beta software “bugs” can range from being simply anoying, to actually “bricking” (stop your device from working at all) your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Apple Watch.
The Bottom Line:
For most people you should “just say no” to beta software – from Apple, or anyone else. If you MUST be the first on your block to have the latest Apple software then heed these two simple rules:
1. Use a second device – an old iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch or Mac that is not your primary day-to-day device so that if something catastrophic happens – it won’t happen on a device that you depend on.
2. Wait for the public Beta that Apple provides by going to: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/welcome and registering. You will receive software that is sort-of “beta second edition.” Meaning it’s gone through a couple of cycles of testing before releasing to the general public.