Apple wants you to test the next iOS beta

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Apple has recently been offering users the chance to test beta versions of its Mac OS X operating system, and now it wants to repeat the trick with iOS, according to sources speaking to 9to5Mac. That means everyone will be given the opportunity to install early versions of iOS in the future, and report bugs back to Apple as they go.

It can be a risky strategy — unleashing unfinished software on the general public — but the Mac OS X approach has worked so well that Apple believes it’s time to give it a try. The Cupertino company gets access to millions of beta testers free of charge, to help it develop its software, and users get access to new features and apps ahead of time.

The rumors are that iOS 8.3 will be the first edition of the mobile OS to get the beta release treatment sometime in the middle of March, and that will be followed by iOS 9 during the summer months. iOS 8 was plagued by several bugs when it launched last September and it looks like Apple is keen to avoid a repeat this time around.

iOS 8.3 is already in the hands of a select few and is said to include support for Wireless CarPlay, an improved emoji keyboard, an enhanced voice for Siri, and an easier login process for Google services. iOS 8.4, meanwhile, is rumored to include Apple’s new wireless streaming service.

If the idea of beta testing iOS software on your iPhone or iPad sounds appealing, then you might have to be quick off the mark when the time comes — 9to5Mac says that the initial run will be limited to the first 100,000 users who apply, “in order to maintain a higher level of exclusivity.”

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