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.
Top Rated Comments
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.
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.
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.