If you are a fan of technology and have not been living in a cave, you know that this week in San Jose, California, Apple just held its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. For many, it's like a tech Christmas.
During WWDC, Apple talks about what it has been working on, showing off improvements and updates to some of the stuff we have already come to know and love. There's plenty to keep track of.
On iOS 12, there are performance upgrades, app updates, new animojis, and new digital health and parental control options.
The new version of macOS, named Mojave, will bring a Dark Mode theme, improved screenshots and Finder, a redesigned Mac App Store and more privacy and security options.
The Apple TV 4K gets Dolby Atmos support and significant TV app updates.
The Apple Watch gets a new Walkie Talkie app, new workouts and new competitive challenges.
While it's great to see what's coming in the future, that's not at all the same as getting to use the new stuff ourselves. Unfortunately, much of what was unveiled is not ready to go just yet, but that doesn't mean you can't get it early.
Are you willing to help Apple test?
While Apple is well on their way to having much of the new stuff ready to go, they are not quite ready to roll most of it out on a large scale. That's where beta testers come in, and if you want early access to the new stuff, that's the way to do it.
Now as great as that may sound, being a beta tester comes with some risk. After all, if Apple is not ready to give the new iOS version to everyone there is probably a reason. So being a tester does not come without some risk.
Note: Since beta programs are still in the testing phase, they are not completely stable. If you rely on a system or program regularly, it is advised that you stay away from their beta versions.
But if you see the reward as being worth it, here's how you can sign up to beta test on your iPhone or iPad:
How to install the iOS betas:
1. First, back up your device. Be it automatic or manually, via iCloud or on your computer, make sure not to skip this step. Click here to learn all the ways to backup your iOS gadget.
2. Take your iPhone, open up its Safari app and go to Apple's Beta Software program page. (Note: Signing up for the Apple Beta Program requires an Apple ID.)
3. Once signed in, find the button for "enroll your iOS device" and tap on it.
4. Move down the page until you find "Download Profile," and tap to download it. Then tap on "Allow" in the pop-up window that appears and asks to let your Settings app load the beta configuration profile.
5. Find the button for "Install" in the upper right-hand corner. Authenticate your device and then tap on the "Install" link one more time. Then, tap on the "Install" button that will appear at the bottom of the screen.
6. After all this, your device will eventually indicate a need to be restarted. Do that, and wait a few minutes.
7. Once you log back into your phone, go to your Settings and scroll down until you tap on "General," and then again on the Software Update in order to receive the latest beta version of iOS.
You can also beta test on your Mac...
The same risks that apply to beta testing for your phone are present with other devices, too. But if you can't wait for the updates, it is a plunge that can be taken.
For Mac, make sure to back things up just as you would with your phone or iPad. That way if something goes wrong, you can go back to a pre-beta version of your OS.
1. Open up Safari and visit the Apple's Beta Software program page once again. (Reminder: Signing up for the Apple Beta Program requires an Apple ID.)
2. Find the "Enroll your Mac" link and click on it.
3. From there, scroll down to the "Enroll your Mac" section and click on the "Download the macOS Public beta Access Utility" icon.
4. A file will then download to your computer, and once it does double click on it and install the package just like any other download. The App Store should open up automatically.
5. Within the App Store, click on Updates and the latest macOS public beta should be waiting for you.
...and Apple TV
1. Similar steps apply to the Apple TV beta. Using your web browser, sign in with your Apple ID on the Apple's Beta Software program page.
2. Click accept to agree to the beta program's terms and conditions.
3. On your Apple TV, open your Settings app, then click Accounts.
4. Select either iCloud, iTunes and App Center or Game Center then sign in with the Apple ID you enrolled on the beta program.
5. Go back to the main Settings page then select System >> Software Updates.
6. Turn on "Get Public Beta Updates" then click "Agree."
7. To install the beta, Go back to Settings >> System then select "Software Updates >> Update Software."
8. Simply click "Download and install" to install the beta then wait for your Apple TV to restart. That's it.
How about the Apple Watch?
If you want to install watchOS 5, go ahead and do it now. It was actually released yesterday after it was announced. Unlike other Apple operating systems, watchOS devices don't have public betas. (Note: watchOS 5 is not compatible with the first-generation Apple Watch).
Warning: As is the case with any beta software, Apple warns that the builds may contain errors and inaccuracies, and they recommend installing the betas on secondary, non-production machines only.
A backup of your device is also highly recommended since rolling back from the beta build requires the reinstallation of the prior version and a full restore of your data.
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Microsoft's Android Launcher lets parents track kids' whereabouts
Aside from Apple, Microsoft is also previewing this app with location tracking and an app usage monitor. Click here to learn how to set it up.