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Apple opens up OS X beta programme to non-developers

Participants now only need to be over 18, hold an Apple ID and possess a Mac to take part

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Apple has opened up the OS X beta programme to anyone who is over 18 and posesses an Apple ID and Mac.

Previously, the programme was only open to Mac Developer account holders.

"The OS X Beta Seed Program gives users the opportunity to run pre-release software," Apple's website states. "Test-drive beta software and provide quality and usability feedback that will help make OS X even better."

The programme comes with some conditions. It forbids testers from publicly sharing any information, screenshots, or impressions of beta software.

Users who sign up now can get access to a pre-release version of iTunes and a beta build of OS X 10.9.3 for Mavericks.

The latter is a minor update, but Beta Seed testers may get access to the next version of OS X when Apple announces it this summer at WWDC.

Apple ran Mavericks betas all summer last year before releasing the full version on 22 October.

According to The Verge, this program is the first time Apple has run a public beta programme for non-developers since 2000, and it charged users $29.95 to take part.

Beta participants can share their thoughts through a small utility called Feedback Assistant, which can be used to send error reports to Apple. The programme automatically attaches detailed logs with each message you send.

Apple recommends taking a Time Machine backup before installing OS X 10.9.3. The Beta installer automatically checks and reminds users to take a backup, though it will let you continue without one.

Users can also enroll for beta builds by changing their software catalog through Terminal commands.

Apple will also automatically collect diagnostic information from your system periodically to gather feedback and test results. It collects hardware identifiers, system attributes, detailed crash logs and location searches.

Users can turn off automatic collection in the System Preferences under Diagnostics & Usage.

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