There has always been a certain enigma behind Apple releases. It may be why there is tremendous interest and social media activity prior to any Apple launch. This phenomena has brought a lot of attention to the Beta Seed program, which allows people to test pre-release software. Previously, in order to get access to a beta program, you were required to sign up for a developer account at $99/year; this account allowed you to beta test apps, as well as create and release your own apps. However, Apple has been releasing once premium software for free and staying true to this move to free apps, Apple has made the beta seed program free for any Apple account holder. This is limited to OS X though, iOS beta program will still cost $99/year and OS X developers still need a separate account to deploy their apps. Here is how you can join Apple’s OS X Beta Seed Program for free and start running the latest Mavericks builds.
The process is fairly simple, the short version is that you can sign up for the beta program from Apple’s website, download the app and you will be alerted to any and all beta updates of your downloaded apps. Let us walk you through it step by step. We start by making our way to the AppleSeed website and clicking “Join Now”.
Here, you will be lead to a welcome page explaining what the beta seed program is about. Click on “Get Started” and you will be taken to a sign up page. You can use your Apple ID to sign in, this will take you to a list of instructions. It is highly recommended that you create a backup, as beta apps are known to be unstable and can malfunction from time to time. It is very likely that you will need to restore a backup at some point in time, it’s only prudent. Mac’s built in Time Machine app can guide you through that process. Once that is done, download the “Beta Access Utility” from your present link. It is a tiny file (less than 1MB), so you needn’t worry about it taking up space.
By default, it will be downloaded to your Downloads folder, you will be notified of this on the webpage when download completes. Locate the file in your Downloads folder and install it. It will warn you if Time Machine is not detected. Though it is not necessarily required; it is however, highly recommended.
Once the installation completes, the App Store app will launch automatically and search for beta updates for your installed Apps. Click on “Update All” and you will be armed with beta software.
If at any time you wish to unenroll from the beta program, go to the Apple menu (click on the top left) and click on System Preferences. Open the preferences for App Store. Here, you will see “Your computer is set to receive pre-release software updates”, click on change and click on “Do Not Show Pre-Release Updates” and you will no longer receive beta updates.
That ought to do it.