When Apple revived its public beta program during development of OS X Yosemite, the natural question was whether the company would also open iOS to public testing. Every year, a large number of people download and install developer previews of iOS just to sample the latest features of Apple's mobile operating system — even if they have no interest in making apps. According to 9to5Mac, Apple's now getting ready to embrace those eager users with public betas for its upcoming iOS releases.
iOS 8.3, which introduces support for wireless CarPlay, new emoji, and easier Google logins, will be released in beta form through the company's AppleSeed program in mid-March, per 9to5Mac's report. But an even more crucial public beta will reportedly follow for iOS 9 — the next milestone release — after Apple unveils the software at WWDC this June. In theory, more people testing every corner of iOS should help Apple deliver a more polished experience for all consumers in the fall. One million users were allowed in to help Apple squash bugs ahead of OS X Yosemite's launch, but with iOS, the company is said to be planning a much smaller pool of beta testers.
9to5Mac says that number will top out at 100,000. Once that ceiling is reached, users might need to turn to their developer friends for help getting in. And if that's not an option, there are plenty of seedy, illicit businesses that will register your iPhone as a developer device in exchange for a small PayPal fee. Apple has repeatedly urged against this practice however, and issued stern warnings to "developers" trying to make a quick buck off the excitement around future iOS releases. Apple hasn't yet officially confirmed that it plans to pursue iOS public betas.