Technology

Why Apple’s upcoming public betas can work for IT

Credit: Dreamstime

With Apple set to release the public betas of macOS 13 “Ventura” and iOS/iPadOS 16 sometime in July, it’s inevitable that some business users will want to get an early look at what’s coming. The typical IT reaction is to try to block users from trying out beta software, but that may not be the most advantageous way to handle what’s coming.

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

Developer betas of the new OSes were released after Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. The public betas that will follow can be useful for a manufacturer like Apple in terms of accelerating feedback and releasing bug fixes during the development process. They can also be exciting for users who want to try out the new features of an upcoming OS before everyone else gets their hands on them. (The final release for all of these OSes won’t be until this fall.)

But they do pose obvious challenges for IT, especially if beta testers install pre-release software on their primary devices that they use for work. Bugs, issues with existing apps, and confusion about new or altered functionality are often part of the beta-testing experience. So users who install unsupported software on work devices can lead to support calls and employee downtime if they can’t access core tools.

Remind beta testers they’re installing pre-release software

Keep in mind that as mobile OSes have shifted much of the upgrade process to users, it’s likely that IT executives won’t be able to stop everyone, particularly if they’re installing on a device they own.

The best piece of advice here is to advise users that want to sign up as beta testers that they should do so using a secondary device instead of one they rely on for critical work and personal tasks.

Crafting a nuanced message is key, one that actually describes the challenges that they may encounter in a friendly, advisory manner yet doesn’t alienate those who want to be part of a beta program.

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

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