Apple Now Expanding its iOS 8 Beta Program to More Users

iOS users will be eligible to test iOS 8 updates before public releases of the OS, under changes Apple is making to its beta program starting with iOS 8.3.  

Apple, iOS 8, beta

Apple is opening its iOS 8 beta software update program to more users to allow more eyeballs to see and review the code, which the company hopes will continue to help build better code.

Under its new plan, Apple will allow participating iOS users to join up as a software tester and try out beta iOS updates before they become part of public code releases, according to a March 12 report by Forbes. The expanded beta testing program is to begin with the future release of iOS 8.3.

That could be a little while because Apple earlier this week released its iOS 8.2 operating system, which provides users with Apple Watch capabilities, as well as six security updates, according to a recent eWEEK report.

To join the beta testing program, users can apply as a software tester at the Apple Seed Website, where if they are selected, they will gain access to beta code for review, according to Forbes.

Testers will be asked to install and use the beta software and report any issues directly to Apple using a built-in feedback assistant application, according to Apple. Users are also reminded to back up their Mac using Time Machine or their iOS device with iTunes before installing any beta code in case they need to revert back to their older operating system. "The public beta software is still in development, which means some applications and services may not work as expected," the site explains. "You should not install beta software on production or business-critical systems. We strongly recommend installing on a secondary system or device, or on a secondary partition on your Mac."

Apple's iOS development program hit a bit of a rough patch in September 2014 when an iOS 8.01 update was released and then quickly pulled back after it was determined that the update caused major problems for some iPhone 6 users who were left unable to make phone calls after they installed it.

A new iOS 8.02 update was then made available some 36 hours later to correct the iPhone 6 calling problems, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Apple apologized profusely to users for the glitch. The original iOS 8.0.1 update also disabled the Touch ID functions on new iPhone 6 devices, making life difficult for their owners.

The swift action by Apple to get a working update out to replace the flawed code was impressive at the time, but the release of the flawed code in the first place had many critics online discussing how such a glitch would never have occurred under the leadership of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Before the fresh iOS 8.0.2 code was unveiled, Apple even provided a workaround so that affected users could take several manual steps to undo the errant update's effects. Users whose phones were disabled were advised to reinstall iOS 8 through iTunes until a working update was released.

The iOS 8.01 problems weren't the only challenge for Apple last September.

Also grabbing headlines at the time were reports of bending problems with the company's new iPhone 6 smartphones, which had just been released. Some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners around the world had reported that their thinner iPhone 6 phones were bending when they were kept in a pants pocket. The bending issues were widely circulated online along with graphic photographs that purported to show iPhone 6 phones with mild or more severe bending.

The reported phone bending problem is not the first time that a potential problem has cropped up with new iPhones. In July 2010, Apple dealt with antenna issues surrounding its then-new iPhone 4 that were inspired by consumer complaints of poor call quality when they held their phones. Called "Antennagate" by Jobs at the time, the problem was the location of the antenna inside the devices, which was solved with an add-on thin rubber case.