Want to Beta Test Mac OS X? Now Anyone Can with Apple’s Beta Seed Program

Apr 22, 2014 - 11 Comments

OS X Beta Seed Program

Apple has expanded the availability of beta OS X system software to all Mac users, allowing potentially anyone to run the latest pre-release beta builds of the operating system for trials and feedback. Dubbed the OS X Beta Seed Program, this is the first time since the initial release of OS X that Apple has allowed non developers access to the beta OS builds.

While it may be appealing to many, the beta program is not recommended for primary use Macs or for novice users, as beta software is often buggy and incomplete, offering an experience that is not yet as refined as a public release. Accordingly, average Mac users with a single machine probably shouldn’t bother with the OS X Beta Seed program, making this best reserved for curious Mac users who have a spare machine they can run the beta builds on.

Mac users who are interested in this program will need to log into the Beta Seed website with an Apple ID, read and accept a lengthy Terms and Conditions agreement, back up their Macs with Time Machine, and then install an Apple utility to access the beta software downloads:

Enroll Mac OS X Beta Seed Program

Presumably the OS X Beta program will become considerably more interesting with the upcoming developer release of OS X 10.10, widely expected to be unveiled on June 2 at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference. The next major revision of Mac OS X (assumed to be OS X 10.10) is said to include a significant user interface overhaul, similar to that seen with iOS 7, which may have influenced Apple in opening up the beta versions to a wider audience before releasing the final version, anticipated to launch in the fall of this year. Currently, the beta version of OS X offered through the program is 10.9.3.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, News


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  1. Jake says:

    How do I un subscribe to the beta programme, I can’t be bothered with the updates now?

  2. Phil says:

    I already do beta-test OS X for Apple, or at least I feel I have been doing so since the release of Lion.

    Regrettably, at that time, I owned two machines on which Apple don’t support any newer OS – and of course of late they don’t allow us to downgrade either.

    Therefore, I am ‘stuck’ with the worst ever release of the OS Apple has ever produced, on both of those machines.

    I have a newer machine on which I run Mountain Lion, which for sure is much better – though still not as good as Snow Leopard. Sadly, though, by various means and cessation of support, Apple force us onto their newer and poorer OSes these days – until our machines die under the burden of gimmickry we don’t need.

    However, due to the ongoing reports of issues with Mail, I will be delaying upgrading to Mavericks for as long as is practically possible.

    I continue to buy Macs and live in the hope that one day Apple will appoint someone in the senior management who cares as much as Steve did about the quality of the product, and the situation will improve.

    [Signed, customer of 31 years who has never bought a computer or tablet without an Apple badge on it – but who wonders if this can persist]

  3. Sidney says:

    I don’t understand where this moaning about OSX comes from. I’ve upgraded my 2010 MacBook Pro through Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks without a hitch. Sure, some of the early iterations had minor bugs, but I’ve enjoyed all the new features that come with each version.

  4. Todd says:

    If OSX gets the flat look like iOS 7 then I’m done with it. I’m so sick of looking at iOS 7 and it’s flat, lifeless feel. Ive has turned it into a Fischer Price operating system. It’s childish and stupid looking.

    OSX has been in a dreadful state since Lion. The releases have gotten drastically worse in quality. Tons of bugs, extremely slow response times to fixing the bugs and much more security problems.

    Apple needs to get it’s software together. I have no interest in being their eternal beta tester.

    • Raven says:

      I totally disagree. Mavericks is *much* faster than Snow Leopard or Lion was. Mountain Lion was better than both of them.

      But here’s the thing; No matter what Apple says, OS X starts to run slow when your hard drive gets fragmented. The quickest way to fix this is to do a current backup, and then wipe the drive, reinstall the OS, and then restore from the backup. This improved he performance my Mavericks install and my ex wife’s Mountain Lion install.

      I then use iDefrag in-between OS installs.

      And I think iOS 7 is much more polished looking than iOS 6 was. That looked very unfinished.

      But hey, go use Windows 8 or Linux and suffer with those horrid UIs!

      And I signed up for the beta test program. I’ve done it in the past, and I enjoy it. So far 10.9.3 is rock solid.

  5. Graig says:

    I can wait for the final versions too…. don’t need to be messing around with Betas

  6. Eric says:

    I couldn’t disagree with you more.

  7. Tim says:

    Oh no. Someone, anyone at Apple, PLEASE keep Jony Ive away from the Mac UI!! iOS 7 is a mess, don’t break OS X it’s the only thing that works!

    • James says:

      I also disagree with Tim. I am an avid Apple user and honestly think it’s OS X that’s become worse and worse with each upgrade. They’ve added bulky, useless features (eg Launchpad, the abandoned Dashboard), features don’t work correctly/consistency (eg AirPlay, iTunes, Mail, iCal) and many features are lacking functionality that would make them much more useful (eg TimeMachine’s lack of options, Mail again).

      Though I can think of a million features that iOS should add, I think every upgrade has been a step in the right direction. iOS 7, for me, has been very stable and responsive. And the fact that I can run it on my old iPad 2 without terrible lag is impressive.

      As for beta testing… no thanks! Just give me the GM edition and I’m happy. :)

      • Raven says:

        I agree James! OS X is long in the tooth. I’d love to get a flatter UI with less of that candy look. They are doing it slowly but surely (such as changing scroll bars), but need to do a bit more.

        Personally I LOVE the look of iOS 7. iOS 6 was a mishmash of styles. Most of it looked like either an afterthought, or designed by several teams that didn’t talk to each other.

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