Apple Has 4 Million Users Beta Testing its Software

Apple has been allowing developers and members of the public to test beta versions of new iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS releases for quite some time now, and during today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook provided insight into just how many people try out new software ahead when it's officially released.

At the current time, Apple has "over 4 million users" participating in its OS beta programs, according to Cook.


Public beta testers have access to iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and tvOS 12, three operating system updates that will be rolling out this fall after an extended beta testing period, while developers have access to iOS 12, macOS Mojave, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5. watchOS 5, a new software update for the Apple Watch, is limited to developers because it's not possible to downgrade the software on an Apple Watch.

Public beta testers and developers are tasked with testing Apple's software to help the company suss out bugs and improve features ahead of a public launch.

Apple did not break out how many users participate in each of its beta programs, nor what percentage of those users are developers or public beta testers, but it's probably safe to say that iOS gets the lion's share of interest.

Despite Apple's robust beta testing process, there are still major bugs that slip through on occasion, but Apple offers frequent fixes and updates for all of its operating systems.



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9 months ago


At the current time, Apple has "over 4 million users" participating in its OS beta programs, according to Cook.


As opposed to Microsoft, who has all of its users in OS beta-testing.
Rating: 28 Votes
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9 months ago
I'm willing to bet close to 80% don't report any bugs at all, and are simply in the program to get access to the latest software... that's the way it usually goes with all betas. In other words, those numbers are meaningless unless they correlate with the same amount of reports.
Rating: 22 Votes
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9 months ago
It’s unfortunate that this level of “test” isn’t resulting in better quality. Might be due to having about 3,950,000 too many testers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Just call it an Early Access Program. It ain’t “beta” any more than Gmail was “beta”. It’s just a corporate built-in excuse PR mechanism.
Rating: 16 Votes
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9 months ago
If only 1/2 of them would report their issues rather than complain on MacRumors about them. Apple doesn't fix them if they don't know about them and they don't browse the forums here to find them.

Please use the Feedback app. It only takes a minute but it's huge for getting problems fixed. DON'T JUST ASSUME SOMEONE ELSE WILL REPORT IT. Apple prioritizes what they fixed based on the volume of feedback. If you choose to not report a problem, that's one less report. Everyone assumes someone else reports a problem and it results in countless less reports so even bigger issues can appear smaller and not take priority.

Help the whole community and report every issue you find. Don't rely on others to do so.
Rating: 11 Votes
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9 months ago

Pretty smart. Saving them a lot of money.

Even if a relatively small percentage actually submit feedback, this is a commendable level of crowdsourcing for the evaluation of new software.
Rating: 7 Votes
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9 months ago

I'm willing to bet close to 80% don't report any bugs at all, and are simply in the program to get access to the latest software... that's the way it usually goes with all betas. In other words, those numbers are meaningless unless they correlate with the same amount of reports.

Even if 99% of the developers don't provide any feedback that means that 40,000 people did provide feedback. 40,000 people is a LOT.

I understand that these people aren't spending 8 hours a day checking for bugs in the betas, but imagine if they had all of those 40,000 testers on pay roll. At $55,000 per year per person. That's $2.2 billion per year saved!

But seriously, Apple knows that the public always find quirky ways to find obscure bugs that need fixing. I think 4 million is impressive.
Rating: 7 Votes
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9 months ago

I'm willing to bet close to 80% don't report any bugs at all, and are simply in the program to get access to the latest software... that's the way it usually goes with all betas. In other words, those numbers are meaningless unless they correlate with the same amount of reports.


I guess though, many will still have analytics turned on and that’ll provide useful data about app crashes and general performance across each model.
Rating: 7 Votes
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9 months ago

4million Testers and still so many bugs

people have to actually report the bugs instead of just playing with the latest and greatest
Rating: 6 Votes
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9 months ago

I'm willing to bet close to 80% don't report any bugs at all, and are simply in the program to get access to the latest software... that's the way it usually goes with all betas. In other words, those numbers are meaningless unless they correlate with the same amount of reports.

Maybe it’s because 80% of them aren’t even developers
Rating: 5 Votes
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9 months ago

To be honest, I think that, unfortunately, the feedback from beta testers is not a priority for Apple, so it's not really a beta testing in the way it should be.


I report bugs occasionally and I do receive feedback from Apple, either in the sort of check if the issue is fixed in this new version of the beta, or sometimes they want more data.

In other words, those numbers are meaningless unless they correlate with the same amount of reports.


As a beta-tester you are also willingly providing analytics, logs and crash-reports, so it is still more valuable than just the ones reporting bugs.
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Funny how ever since they started the public betas their software has gotten worse, you’d think it would be the opposite.

There is probably some true to this, however the reason is that they test certain part of the system in the various betas. They are not bringing out everything newly developed in the first beta and then bet on improvements. The improvements are staged, so that bug reports don't overlap other frameworks and thus make debugging much harder.
Rating: 5 Votes
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