You won’t believe how many people are using Apple beta software

By

notification centre iOS 12
Have you upgraded early to iOS 12?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple warns us that its beta releases should not be installed on our primary devices. Until just a few years ago, it only allowed registered developers to download them. But that doesn’t stop keen Apple fans from updating early to get their hands on its latest features.

You won’t believe how many people are already running the next versions of macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS months before their public debut.

Apple rolls out major updates to its platforms every fall, and it’s rare they disappoint. They’re normally loaded with awesome new features, big improvements, and user interface enhancements that we can’t wait to start using.

Many of us wait until those updates are stable and ready to roll out to all. But plenty of others ignore Apple’s warnings not to install them on our primary devices and update early — hoping that there won’t be any significant bugs or glitches that break big features.

4 million people are running Apple beta software

Tim Cook confirmed during Apple’s earnings call on Tuesday that a whopping 4 million people are currently running beta software on their Apple devices.

“In June, we hosted an extremely successful developers conference that previewed many major advances coming this fall to our four operating systems, iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS,” Cook said.

“Customer and developer reaction has been very positive, and we have over 4 million users participating in our new OS beta programs.”

That’s a staggering number of people running software that isn’t really intended for everyday use yet. Sadly, Cook didn’t specify how many beta testers each platform had attracted, but it’s probably safe to assume iOS is by far the most popular, given how many people own iOS devices.

Public betas are a win

Those numbers will have certainly been boosted by Apple’s public betas, which it first started offering in 2015 following complaints about its buggy software. When preview releases were only available to developers, too many bugs were slipping through the cracks into public releases.

With millions of testers, there’s a significantly greater chance that those bugs will now be identified earlier — giving Apple a chance to fix them before its updates roll out to everyone.