Testing beta versions is immensely important – for Apple, end users, but also for companies. It is about nothing more or less than ensuring the security of the IT environment, stable operation of devices and apps, but also minimizing later downtimes when going live. The beta phase was only successful if the connected IT systems, the MDM system, the iOS devices and the (critical) business applications installed on them – from the AppStore or as an Enterprise Build – continued to work.
Even Apple cannot test every scenario internally, but is also dependent on the support and willingness of users and companies when it comes to identifying, logging and jointly fixing errors. Apple therefore maintains a number of beta programs that are available for different target groups. Depending on your role or responsibility in your company, or whether you are interested as a home user, you can participate in one of Apple’s beta software programs on one of the following websites:
AppleSeed for IT is a seeding program aimed at IT professionals as well as companies and educational institutions. In this program, Apple provides a variety of software and information for its platforms for testing free of charge. This is accompanied by frequently detailed documentation and associated release notes. In order to ensure that new functions also work in the environment of the respective companies and companies, Apple also provides test plans for them.
Every company has specific infrastructures, its own mission-critical applications and services. It is therefore essential for Apple to support these beta phases. Feedback in the form of surveys is also not uncommon here. Apple is particularly interested in problems that have just been discovered that would prevent a company from implementing the latest operating system.
In theory, anyone with a managed Apple ID can participate, as can be created by an administrator via Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager. However, it may be that the role to which a managed Apple ID is assigned is not granted the right to use the Appleseed for IT program.
AppleSeed for IT offers its participants the opportunity to communicate in the AppleSeed discussion forums. Regardless, it is important that you submit any issues you encounter through the Feedback Assistant. However, this is only one of several ways to provide Apple with feedback and error reports. For example, Apple offers a website with a feedback assistant. The functionality is also available as an app on beta devices (for iOS, iPadOS and macOS). End customers who do not have access to Appleseed for IT and do not use beta software can submit their feedback via the corresponding website.
If a company has an additional support agreement for AppleCare for Enterprise or AppleCare OS, they can request additional help with the tests from an AppleCare Account Manager or an Apple system engineer. These Apple employees help companies quickly get to grips with the tests, submit feedback, and follow developments.
But feedback does not necessarily have to be given as an individual (of a company). The feedback assistant mentioned above is designed to enable short but detailed forms to record a problem, including the collection of system logs and diagnostic data on the device where the error occurs. However, companies have the challenge here of not being able to control who reports all errors. They also don’t necessarily know whether errors have already been reported by a colleague or whether errors have to be recorded jointly by several employees. In addition, it always happened that an employee documented an error, but has meanwhile left the company.
The feedback assistant is therefore given the opportunity to address these subject areas. Company employees can now work with Apple on errors. In order to use this function, employees (according to their role in the Apple Business Manager / Apple School Manager) need appropriate permissions from the admins. Team members can also be configured for feedback via App Store Connect for the developer program. All employees in an organization can now see the feedback from their teammates (provided this is maintained via the team space). All answers can also be viewed by Apple.
If necessary, employees with an administrative role can also reassign feedback so that another employee is notified, for example, in the event of a vacation. Apple often also needs diagnostic information from a device to identify errors. If the problem occurs on multiple devices, multi-device diagnostics can now also be generated and made available (only in the native app on iOS, macOS and iPadOS).
Here is another new feature worth mentioning in iOS / iPadOS 14. Users no longer have to wait for diagnostic information to complete before submitting their bugs to Apple. The feedback assistant can also provide and upload in the background – provided the device remains online despite the bug.
However, Apple is not the only provider that might be interested in bugs. Report problems with Apple beta, if relevant, to your MDM manufacturer. This too often has to make changes to support new Apple operating systems and other third-party software within the Apple ecosystem. (mb)