Fancy adding “software developer at Apple” to your CV? Now you *sort of* can with the Apple Beta Software Program.
Apple is notoriously closed off when developing hardware, but when it comes to software it has to put iOS, watchOS and macOS updates in as many hands as possible to iron out the bugs. That’s where the Apple Beta Software Program comes in.
It allows anyone with an Apple ID to test out fledgeling software and give feedback, for free.
During WWDC 2018, Apple took the covers off iOS 12 - the next iteration of its iPhone software – as well as watchOS 5, tvOS 12 and macOS Mojave. Developers get their hands on Apple software updates automatically, as long as they're Apple Developer Program members, but us lowly members of the general public typically have to wait until the operating systems roll out widely, typically at Apple's annual Autumn iPhone event.
However, if you just can't wait (and are willing to take a slight gamble), you can install beta versions of iOS and macOS as part of the Apple Beta Software Program. Apple has said the beta releases will be available later this month.
Become an Apple beta tester
How to install iOS 12 beta
To get started, sign up to the Apple Beta Software Program and accept the Agreement.
You’ll need a working Apple ID to join. If you’ve ever download an app from the iTunes or App stores or set up an iPhone or iPad, you should have an Apple ID. If you don’t, you can create an Apple ID via the App Store.
The next vital step is to ensure you’ve backed up your devices.
There are two routes to doing this: iCloud or iTunes. On a Mac you can additionally use Time Machine.
Once you’ve installed the beta software, you can proffer any feedback via the built-in Feedback Assistant app. If you’re using a Mac, this can be found in the dock. If you’re using another iOS device, it will be on the second page of the homescreen. Any qualms you have that you register with Feedback Assistant will be sent directly to Apple.
There are – of course – disclaimers. Apple warns that the public beta software “may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not function as well as commercially released software”. It also stipulates that, despite being readily available, the public beta software does contain confidential information.
“Don’t install the public beta software on any systems you don't directly control or that you share with others. Don’t blog, post screen shots, tweet, or publicly post information about the public beta software, and don't discuss the public beta software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the Apple Beta Software Program,” Apple warns.
The first rule about the Apple Beta Software System, it would seem, is you do not talk about the Apple Beta Software System.
Unenroll from Apple’s beta software programme
You can unenroll your devices at any time.
Go to Settings | General | Profiles and select the iOS Beta Software Profile that appears.
Tap Delete Profile. You may have to enter your device passcode to confirm, then tap Delete.
Once the profile is deleted, your iOS device will no longer receive iOS public betas. When the next commercial version of iOS is released, you can install it from Software Update in the standard way.