Having worked with beta versions of Apple software since the original version of OS X, I thought I’d share a few tips on how best to test new versions of OS X and iOS as a developer.

  • Strongly consider using new major OS releases on your primary device. It’s the best way to find bugs and become most familiar with the new features and understand new paradigms.
  • Submit your bugs early. This is also made easier by using betas on your primary device. The closer a new version of the software gets released, the less likely your bug is to be fixed. If you have any workflow critical applications it’s also a good way to get issues with your third party apps fixed.
  • Regression test your software early. You can’t find bugs early with your software unless you regression test your software early. Early seeds can be works in progress, but getting your bugs in early can be worth working through the mess.
  • Don’t assume someone else is going to submit your bug, or that Apple will fix it if you don’t file a bug. I’ve had several bugs that I didn’t submit to Apple because I had thought they were so major that Apple would fix them before the final release. They didn’t. Several went multiple releases before they were fixed. Some are still not fixed. Even if someone else has submitted the bug, adding your bug to the pile will encourage Apple to prioritize it.
  • If you’re at WWDC and have a bug, visit the team that can fix it. A little late for this year… But if you find a bug in pre-release software or have a bug that hasn’t been fixed, find the engineer responsible for the bug and present it to them. It’s even possible to convince the engineer in charge of the bug that your bug is higher priority than they previously thought, and get it escalated. This is why I find the labs at WWDC a lot more important than the sessions themselves. You can watch sessions online, but the labs are a once a year chance to present your case to Apple engineers. If you do miss WWDC, you can file DTS requests, but DTS requests are still less effective than working with Apple’s engineers directly. Remember, you’re not paying $1500 just for the sessions, you’re also paying to project your influence at WWDC.

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