Can I post information or ask questions about beta or preview versions of Apple software?

This page outlines our rules for sharing or seeking information on the AppleVis website about beta and preview releases of Apple software. 

Apple requires that anybody who legally downloads and installs beta or preview versions of its software accept a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). By accepting this NDA, you are limited to what you can publicly say about the software. If you do not follow these limitations, Apple may take legal action against you.

When posting to the AppleVis website, we ask that everybody respects and honors the Apple NDA (even if you have not personally installed the software or signed the agreement).

This means that the following types of posts are not permitted on the AppleVis website:

  • Anything which could be considered as technical support with beta software. For example, seeking help with installing/using beta software or problems with native or third-party apps after installing a beta.
  • Discussion of bugs introduced or fixed in a beta release.
  • Detailed descriptions, reviews or walk-throughs of how new or changed features are implemented in a beta release.

Any information publicly shared by Apple about new features or changes in a forthcoming software release is not covered by an NDA. This typically includes information made available at events such as new product launch announcements, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and on the preview pages of Apple’s website. Consequently, this information can be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website. Additionally, new or changed features in a beta release can be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website - even if not originally made public by Apple itself- provided that any post satisfies the rules set out above on this page.

Please note that we reserve the right to remove from the AppleVis website any posts which we believe to be a breach of these rules, as well as questions that could only be answered by breaching them. Removing user-submitted content is never a pleasant decision for us, and something that we only do on the rare occasions when we believe it is necessary in order to protect the reputation and best interests of the AppleVis community.

There are numerous reasons why we restrict what can be posted to AppleVis in regard to beta and preview releases of Apple Software. These include:

  • Providing technical support for people using beta software has never been a purpose of AppleVis and is never likely to be.
  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs which come and go as a natural part of the beta cycle can rarely offer anything of value to the beta testing process and is something that developers typically regard as actually being detrimental to it.
  • In the case of Apple, the release cycle typically sees a new version of beta software every 2 weeks. This means that new bugs come and go frequently throughout the beta cycle. This is the nature of beta testing. Hence, posts publicly sharing information about bugs which could be fixed within a few days have little value.
  • Developers are unlikely to encourage or endorse people openly discussing bugs in beta software.
  • If a developer does feel it appropriate and necessary to provide support to beta testers, they will have mechanisms in place to do so.
  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs introduced in beta releases can cause confusion and misinformation about what bugs actually exist in publicly released versions of the software. For example, there will be some who will see mention of a bug in a beta release and continue to believe that it exists in the final release of the software, even though it may actually only ever have been present for a small time during the beta cycle. This type of confusion can result in the spread of misinformation and potentially be harmful to both the developer and end users of the software.
  • If you encounter something that you believe to be a bug, Apple wants you to let it know. The reality is that public discussion of bugs introduced in a beta release actually reduces the number of bug reports that are filed with the developer. This is because there will invariably be some who will see a bug mentioned somewhere and assume that this means that somebody else will already have reported it, and that the developer will have all of the information they need to reproduce, isolate and fix the problem. In the case of Apple, it wants you to report problems as soon as you encounter them, not to spend time trying to first find out if others are encountering the same problem. At best this will delay bugs being reported and developers starting work to resolve them; at worst it may result in some bugs simply not being reported to Apple by anybody.
  • Considering the number of people who now have potential access to beta Apple software and the number of beta releases that Apple now typically issues, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which (if permitted) there could be a large number of posts on AppleVis about bugs in beta releases. This could crowd out content which is of far more interest, relevance and value to the mass majority of those in our community who will not be using beta software.
  • If you are looking for information about bugs to help you decide whether to install a particular beta release, then you have missed the fundamental purpose and value of beta testing. It may sound harsh, but if your main concern is finding out whether a beta release is ‘safe’ to install, you should probably stick to using stable final releases. Beta testing is not intended for the simply curious or those who do not want the problems which typically come with installing and using beta software. This is even more true in the case of beta operating systems and where you do not have a dedicated device to use for testing purposes.

We welcome and appreciate your support for the rules set out on this page.

Revised: 6/22/2016

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