On Thursday, Apple made available a beta release of OS X Yosemite to users with an Apple ID and the guts to install it on their Mac(s). You can sign up here for the beta releases if you’re among the first million sign ups. I am. That said, I don’t plan to beta test Yosemite, as thrilling as that would be. I signed up so I could observe what the testers have to say, and what Apple is offering the community.
It’s great that Apple is allowing the public to test Yosemite on principle. In my opinion, Apple needs more beta testers for a release like OS X Yosemite. It will drive up anticipation for the final public release of version 1.0, which will boost the number of early adopters significantly. The more people that jump to Yosemite, the better it is for everyone (Apple and the users) on a wide scale.
It will also improve Yosemite, such as it is in beta, much faster. Since users will install the beta on a device they most likely use frequently, they will report bugs to Apple at an accelerated pace. Attracting public beta testers means that Apple gets a tremendous amount of feedback they wouldn’t otherwise have from third party developers alone. Jason Snell at Macworld:
The first public build of Yosemite is the same one received by registered Mac developers earlier this week. Developers who are testing Yosemite are on a different track than regular users, however, and both groups may receive different updates at different times as testing continues.
Apple developers know to use the company’s Radar bug tracker to file bugs, but regular users won’t need to. Instead, Apple is asking users to send feedback and communicate bugs via the Feedback Assistant app, which will be installed along with Yosemite on all beta-test systems.
If you are a regular user that doesn’t develop apps for Apple gadgets, I seriously recommend you don’t use a Yosemite beta. At least not this early on. As a rule of thumb, betas will have significant bugs. It’s unsafe for your files to operate on a buggy system. Participating in the beta program is good for Apple, but it could ruin your digital life if you rely on one Mac.
Have a spare Mac you don’t need to run at peek performance all the time? That would be a good machine to install the beta on. For your own good, play with it on a secondary machine. If you have such an extra device, the beta testing shouldn’t ruin your life.
I believe that, if you’re willing to wait for the first public official version of Yosemite, you’re patience will be rewarded.
As an aside, I find it interesting that Apple opened the beta program to the first one million people that sign up for the testing (and not a smaller test group, or larger test group). 1,000,000 people is a significantly high number. Undoubtedly, it will help the beta development overall.