How IT should prep for Apple’s public OS betas

As has become Apple’s standard practice in recent years, the company will soon roll out public betas of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. Both are expected to arrive by the end of June.

Public betas can be useful for Apple and other tech companies. They accelerate feedback and can ensure that bugs — including ones that internal testing might not spot — get fixed before the final version of an operating system ships. And because public betas are exciting for early adopters who want to play with new features of an upcoming upgrade before everyone else, they tend to generate useful buzz.

macos high sierra beta installation screenApple

While its public betas may offer a lot to Apple and to cutting-edge users, they pose big challenges for IT.

When users install betas, they can encounter bugs, issues with existing apps, and confusion about new, missing or altered functionality. That’s all part of the beta-testing experience, but it can lead to any number of problems for IT when betas are installed on users’ primary work devices. Devices might not function properly with existing business and enterprise apps, or even with infrastructure such as Wi-Fi networks or VPNs. They may be unstable and affect back-end IT systems in unknown ways. They could outright prevent users from accessing mission-critical work or break important company processes.

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