Why Apple’s Upcoming Public Betas May Work for Computing

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With Apple set to release public betas of macOS 13 “Ventura” and iOS/iPadOS 16 in July, it’s inevitable that some pro users will want to get a quick taste of what’s to come. The typical IT reaction is to try to prevent users from trying out beta software, but that might not be the most beneficial way to deal with what’s to come.

In fact, IT managers can actually make these betas — and enthusiastic early adopters — work in their favor.

Developer betas of new operating systems have been released after Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) opening speech. The public betas that follow can be useful for a manufacturer like Apple in terms of speeding up feedback and releasing bug fixes during the development process. They can also be exciting for users who want to try new features in an upcoming operating system before everyone else gets their hands on them. (The final version of all these operating systems will not be available until this fall.)

But they pose obvious challenges for IT, especially if beta testers are installing pre-release software on their primary devices they use for work. Bugs, issues with existing apps, and confusion over new or changed features are often part of the beta testing experience. Thus, users who install unsupported software on business devices can result in support calls and employee downtime if they cannot access basic tools.

Remind beta testers that they are installing pre-release software

Keep in mind that since mobile operating systems have shifted much of the upgrade process to users, it’s likely that IT managers won’t be able to stop everyone, especially if they install on a device they own.

The best advice here is to inform users who wish to sign up as beta testers that they must do so using a secondary device instead of the one they rely on for critical work and personal tasks.

It’s essential to craft a nuanced message, which truly describes the challenges they may face in a friendly and consultative way, but which does not alienate those who wish to be part of a beta program.

Explain that, yes, they will be able to use the new features before anyone else, but also that there may be challenges that could impact the ability to do their job if they install them on their primary device. And be sure to note the potential impact on the personal tasks they rely on this device to accomplish.

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