Apple launches iOS 8.3 public beta program

Apple is allowing the public to test pre-release versions of its iOS 8 operating system for the first time.

The company has launched an iOS 8.3 Beta, which is the first version available to users beyond the developer community.

The beta launch follows the success of the public tests for Mac OS X Yosemite, which launched in the summer of 2014. Now Apple wants feedback from every day iOS users.

The company is explaining iPhone and iPad users will need to be patient with the software as its likely to contain a variety of bugs to be squished before it rolls out the full version.

Interested users can sign up for the program on the Apple Beta Software Program website, which has now dropped the specific references to OS X too.

iOS loyalists will need to back up their device to iTunes, before downloading a configuration profile from the AppleSeed website. This will enable the beta to show up in the usual Software Update section of the iOS Settings app.

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The iOS 8.3 beta software is already in the hands of the developer community and offers users improved ways to filter their messages.

Related: iOS 8.2 features: What’s new for iPad and iPhone owners?

The company rolled out iOS 8.2 earlier this week, bringing compatibility with the forthcoming release of the Apple Watch. There’s also a number of improvements for the Apple Health platform.