You won’t need to be a developer in order to test out the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system. The Cupertino company on Tuesday announced a new initiative that will give regular Joe consumers the opportunity to help test OS X software updates before they’re publicly available. Apple’s says the goal of its OS X Beta Seed Program is to collect quality and usability feedback in the hopes of making its software better.
If you do decide to enroll, Apple does require users to sign a pretty serious confidentiality agreement. Unless you are communicating directly with other seed participants within a forum environment, Apple’s agreement says beta testers aren’t allowed to copy, reproduce, publish, blog, disclose or otherwise transmit any Apple Confidential Information. You also agree that the software might cause harm to your machine, which your warranty will not cover. There are about twenty different bullet points that require reading through, so do so before accepting the terms.
Once you do agree, Apple will supply a tool that you can install, which tells your machine that it’s eligible for pre-release software. There’s also a new utility included called Feedback Assistant, which is like a hub to jot down your thoughts and suggestions about the new software. Before you even do anything, however, you should make a backup of your machine just in case something catastrophic happens.
Apple is rumored to be working on a completely redesigned OS X update that will bring more iOS elements over to the desktop, including a flatter design and less reliance on skeuomorphism. We’ll probably get an early look at WWDC in June, in which a beta will likely be released soon after that. As long as you can handle a few bugs, everyday users will have the opportunity to try out software long before it comes out.