Apple Opens OS X Betas to the Public

Apple gives users the opportunity to run pre-release desktop software

The OS X Beta Seed Program is officially open to the public, allowing anyone with a Mac (not just developers) to try out pre-release versions of OS X and help Apple make its desktop OS even better by reporting bugs and quality and usability issues.

“The OS X Beta Seed Program gives users the opportunity to run pre-release software. Test-drive beta software and provide quality and usability feedback that will help make OS X even better,” Apple says.

“Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and accept the Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. Apple will provide a Beta Access Utility for your Mac, which gives you access to pre-release versions of OS X in the Mac App Store Updates panel,” the company confirmed today.

Regular users can now access the OS X Beta Seed Program page and enroll in the program. Apple recommends that users back up their Macs using Time Machine before attempting to download anything new.

The Cupertino giant offers the Beta Access Utility, which is essentially an installer that enables pre-release updates to pop up in the Mac App Store’s Updates pane.

“Once you have installed pre-release software on your Mac, you can report issues to Apple using the Feedback Assistant, which will be located in your Dock,” the Mac maker adds.

The program is available to users who are 18 or older and have their own Apple ID to use. Testers must also accept the OS X Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement, which states that you shouldn’t make too much public fuss about your testing. Here’s Apple’s exact wording, from the official FAQ.

“Yes, the pre-release software is Apple confidential information. For example, don’t install the pre-release Apple 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 pre-release Apple software, and don't discuss the pre-release Apple software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the OS X Beta Seed Program.”

To leave the program, customers can simply visit the Leave Program page and follow the instructions offered there to have Apple remove their ID and Mac(s) from the list of available testers.

According to the company, “This will stop pre-release updates from appearing in the Mac App Store on your computers.”

With WWDC14 less than two months away, there’s a very good chance all users will be offered a preview of OS X 10.10 shortly after the software is unveiled. Unfortunately, the beta seeding program doesn’t extend to iOS updates.

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