In a rather surprising move, Apple has decided to let the hordes peep into their walled garden with an OS X beta program.
Apple spells out just what you can expect in simple, stripped down copy on the program webpage: “Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and help make OS X even better. Install the latest pre-release software, try it out, and submit your feedback.”
Operating system beta programs are nothing new. It’s just that this is Apple, so we’re curious as to why it’s suddenly opening up the doors to let people try software that might possibly break working apps. Especially since the Cupertino-based company is notorious for the tight control it holds over apps compatbility and making sure its operating systems are in tip-top condition before it reaches users.
The signup process is pretty simple. You will need an Apple ID, of course, which you should have if you are an iOS or Mac user. Once you enter your Apple ID, you will then be shown the standard User Agreement and once that’s taken care of, you’ll be asked to download the Beta Access Utility.
For the utility to run, your machines need to be using OS X Mavericks 10.9 or higher, have a minimum of 2GB of memory and 8GB or more of free space on your hard drive.
If everything goes as intended, the Mac App Store will then launch and display the Updates pane. Click on the Update button and the latest beta updates will then be installed. Apple will collect your feedback via an app called Feedback Assistant that will appear in your dock once your Mac is all set up.
We’d advise you not to install the beta updates on your main machine, but perhaps on a spare Mac if you have one.
Computerworld also recently reported that Mavericks is now running on half of all Macs currently. That likely stems from Apple’s decision to make the latest version of its operating system and future updates free to download. If a free OS X update isn't enough to entice you, check out what we think about Apple’s OS X Mavericks before you join Apple's beta army.