Want to Beta Test Mac OS X? Now Anyone Can with Apple’s Beta Seed Program

Apple has expanded the availability of beta OS X system software to all Mac users, allowing potentially anyone to run the latest pre-release beta builds of the operating system for trials and feedback. Dubbed the OS X Beta Seed Program, this is the first time since the initial release of OS X that Apple has allowed non developers access to the beta OS builds.

While it may be appealing to many, the beta program is not recommended for primary use Macs or for novice users, as beta software is often buggy and incomplete, offering an experience that is not yet as refined as a public release. Accordingly, average Mac users with a single machine probably shouldn’t bother with the OS X Beta Seed program, making this best reserved for curious Mac users who have a spare machine they can run the beta builds on.

Mac users who are interested in this program will need to log into the Beta Seed website with an Apple ID, read and accept a lengthy Terms and Conditions agreement, back up their Macs with Time Machine, and then install an Apple utility to access the beta software downloads:  Check out the Apple Seed OS X Beta Program

Beta Test Mac OS X

Beta Test Mac OS X

Presumably the OS X Beta program will become considerably more interesting with the upcoming developer release of OS X 10.10, widely expected to be unveiled on June 2 at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference. The next major revision of Mac OS X (assumed to be OS X 10.10) is said to include a significant user interface overhaul, similar to that seen with iOS 7, which may have influenced Apple in opening up the beta versions to a wider audience before releasing the final version, anticipated to launch in the fall of this year. Currently, the beta version of OS X offered through the program is 10.9.3.

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3 Simple Things To Do Before Installing OS X Mountain Lion

The release of OS X Mountain Lion is just around the corner (it’s official: July 25), but before jumping into the latest major Mac system update, you’ll want to do a few things. We’ve broken it down to a few simple essentials that are easy to follow:

Mountain OS X Lion Upgrade

Mountain OS X Lion Upgrade

1) Verify System Requirements and Check Compatibility

Almost all relatively new Macs will run Mac OS X 10.8. You can easily find out if your Mac will run Mountain Lion by comparing it against this list of supported machines:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

If you’re unsure of your make and model year, check on your Mac by doing the following:

  1. From the  Apple menu, select “About This Mac”, then click on “More Info”
  2. The model name and date will be shown, compare that to the list

All things considered, the system requirements for OS X Mountain Lion are fairly light, but there are some Core 2 Duo Macs that lose support and won’t be able to update. That can be frustrating, but it’s the price of progress. Remember that you’ll need at least 12GB of storage space available to install Mountain Lion, but realistically you should have more than that available to insure your Mac runs best anyway.

2) Check App Compatibility

If you’re already running OS X Lion (10.7) then you probably don’t need to worry much, but for those who are upgrading to Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard, there’s a good chance that an app or two won’t work. This is due to new architectural requirements for the latest versions of OS X and unfortunately there are some developers who have gotten on board to update their apps yet, despite having years to do so (QuickBooks is a prominent example).

A good list of compatible and incompatible apps is maintained in a searchable database by RoaringApps, check it out here.

If you find apps that are incompatible with OS X 10.8 you can either find an alternative on the App Store, or consider holding off on the system upgrade until the developer gets their act together. Smaller developers tend to do this faster than larger software companies, so if you’re waiting for a large company it may take a long time.

3) Backup, Backup, Backup

This is probably the most important step when upgrading any OS and a Mac is no different. The odds of something going wrong are slim, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Your best bet is to use Time Machine and initiate a manual backup right before installing OS X 10.8 update. If you don’t have Time Machine setup and configured yet, what are you waiting for? Grab a cheap external hard drive and set it up as a backup drive now, Time Machine is completely automated and as easy as backups get.

Ready? Buy & Install

Once Mountain Lion is on the Mac App Store, it’ll be a $20 purchase and installs directly from the App Store. It takes about 30-45 minutes to install depending on the speed of the internet connection and it’s mostly automated, you don’t need to sit around babysitting the installer.

Remember, if you bought a new Mac recently, Mountain Lion is free for you.

Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update Released – Download Links

Apple has released Mac OS X 10.7.3 to the public, the third minor update to OS X Lion. The update includes bug fixes including a Wi-Fi stability update, and also fixes a handful of other issues that have effected OS X 10.7. The update also includes support for several new languages, and updates Safari to 5.1.3.

Download Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update

Download Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update

Download Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update

You can download Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update through Software Update, it’s about 1GB, or through these download links from Apple:

Mac OS X 10.7.3 Release Notes are below:

What’s included?

The OS X Lion v10.7.3 Update includes Safari 5.1.3 and fixes that:

  • Add Catalan, Croatian, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, and Ukrainian language support
  • Address issues when using smart cards to log into OS X
  • Address compatibility issues with Microsoft Windows file sharing
  • Address an issue printing Microsoft Word documents that use markup
  • Address a graphics performance issue after sleep on some earlier iMacs that use ATI graphics
  • Resolve a Wi-Fi connection issue when waking from sleep
  • Address an issue that may prevent Safari from opening before joining a wireless network
  • Fix a potential issue authenticating to an SMB DFS share
  • Include RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras

Directory Services

  • Improve binding to read-only Active Directory Domain Controllers
  • Improve binding and login speed for Active Directory users in a domain whose name ends in “.local”
  • Improve reliability of Dynamic DNS (DDNS) updates by Active Directory clients
  • Allow login with an Active Directory username that contains a space
  • Improve compatibility with Active Directory schemas that have been extended with the “apple-user-homeDirectory” and “apple-user-homeurl” attributes
  • Fix home directory Dock item for Active Directory users with mobile accounts
  • Allow NIS users with MD5-hashed passwords to log in