AMITIAE - Thursday 24 July 2014

Cassandra: Apple's Yosemite beta - Don't, Unless you are Really Sure

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By Graham K. Rogers


There have been several reports that Apple is to release the beta version of OS X 10.10, Yosemite, to those interested in testing, sometime today. There is a link on the Yosemite preview page to the beta program, which has a series of FAQs and a sign in. Although it might look cool to have the next version of OSX before anyone else (some on the tester program already have it, of course), this is not a fashion statement.

Yosemite The first million people who sign up for the beta program, using an Apple ID, will be able to install the beta, for the purposes of testing. As with other programs, there are terms and conditions, like not telling your friends and not putting the information online: that includes sharing screenshots on your Facebook page.

A beta is, by its designation, unfinished software. Things may go wrong. So if that critical company project is on your computer and you lose that: tough. From what I have seen, including comments online, this is less likely to happen with this program as testing has apparently progressed well and there have been several updates already in the tester program.

Apple is aware that this is not a perfect release too, so strongly urges users to back up regularly. Once a week is not enough. There are likely to be many changes to applications and the way these work with the beta software. Some may not even work.

It is also a good idea before installing the beta to make sure the current installation is working properly. This is not simply a "kick the tyres" glance at things: "Yeah, yeah, it looks OK". I would suggest at least using the Recovery partition to run Disk Utility, or even a stronger utility, like Disk Warrior. And if you do not know what a Recovery partition is, the beta program is not for you.

Those who do take part, will have a chance to learn about the next update to OS X and become familiar with its many changes. They will also have the knowledge that the information they report back to Apple as part of the beta program feedback, will help hone the next version of OS X so that fewer problems may appear when the gold version is released to the World.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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