Can I post information or ask questions about beta or preview versions of Apple software?

Set out below are our rules concerning discussion on AppleVis of beta and preview releases of Apple software. 

Apple requires that anybody who legally downloads and installs beta or preview versions of its software accept a Non-Disclosure Agreement. By accepting this NDA, you are limited to what you can publicly say about the software. If you do not follow these limitations, Apple may take legal action against you.

In particular, we direct you to the following sections of the agreement:

6. Nonuse and Nondisclosure of Confidential Information.Except as expressly permitted in this Section 6, you agree that you will not disclose, publish, or otherwise disseminate any Confidential Information to anyone other than individuals who are enrolled in the same individual seed as you, or as otherwise expressly permitted or agreed to in writing by Apple.You further agree to take reasonable precautions to prevent any unauthorized use, disclosure, publication, or dissemination of Confidential Information, including preventing access to or display of the Apple Software to third parties.You agree to use the Confidential Information solely for the permitted uses as set forth in this Agreement.You agree not to use Confidential Information otherwise for your own or any third party’s benefit without the prior written approval of an authorized representative of Apple in each instance.You hereby acknowledge that unauthorized disclosure or use of Confidential Information could cause irreparable harm and significant injury to Apple that may be difficult to ascertain.Accordingly, you agree that Apple will have the right to seek immediate injunctive relief to enforce obligations under this Agreement in addition to any other rights and remedies it may have.

10. Discussion Forums.As part of the Beta Program, you may have the ability to participate in discussion forums provided by Apple about the Pre-Release Software and other Confidential Information that Apple may make available to you.For purposes of such discussion forums, Apple is providing a limited exception to Section 6 by allowing you to discuss certain Apple Confidential Information received by you in connection with a particular seed with other seed participants who are in the same seed as you in the Apple designated discussion forum for such seed, and only within this discussion forum.

Except for the limited purpose of discussions with other seed participants within such forums, you acknowledge and agree that this Agreement does not grant you the right to copy, reproduce, publish, blog, disclose, transmit, or otherwise disseminate any Apple Confidential Information.

When posting to the AppleVis website, we ask that everybody respects and honors the Apple NDA (even if you have not personally installed the software or signed the agreement).

This means that the following types of posts are not permitted on the AppleVis website:

  • Anything which could be considered as technical support with beta software. For example, seeking help with installing/using beta software or problems with native or third-party apps after installing a beta.
  • Discussion of bugs introduced or fixed in a beta release.
  • Detailed descriptions, reviews or walk-throughs of how new or changed features are implemented in a beta release.

Any information publicly shared by Apple about new features or changes in a forthcoming software release is not covered by an NDA. This typically includes information made available at events such as new product launches, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and on the preview pages of Apple’s website. Consequently, this information can be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website. Additionally, new or changed features in a beta release can be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website - even if not originally made public by Apple itself- provided that any post satisfies the rules set out above on this page.

Please note that we reserve the right to remove from the AppleVis website any posts which we believe to be a breach of these rules, as well as questions that could only be answered by breaching them. Removing user-submitted content is never a pleasant decision for us, and something that we only do on the rare occasions when we believe it is necessary in order to protect the reputation and best interests of the AppleVis community.

There are numerous reasons why we restrict what can be posted to AppleVis in regard to beta and preview releases of Software. These include:

  • Providing technical support for people using beta software has never been a purpose of AppleVis and is never likely to be.
  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs which come and go as a natural part of the beta cycle can rarely offer anything of value to the beta testing process and is something that developers typically regard as actually being detrimental to it.
  • In the case of Apple, the release cycle typically sees a new version of beta software every 2 weeks. This means that new bugs come and go frequently throughout the beta cycle. This is the nature of beta testing. Hence, posts publicly sharing information about bugs which could be fixed within a few days have little value.
  • Developers are unlikely to encourage or endorse people openly discussing bugs in beta software.
  • If a developer does feel it appropriate and necessary to provide support to beta testers, they will have mechanisms in place to do so.
  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs introduced in beta releases can cause confusion and misinformation about what bugs actually exist in publicly released versions of the software. For example, there will be some who will see mention of a bug in a beta release and continue to believe that it exists in the final release of the software, even though it may actually only ever have been present for a small time during the beta cycle. This type of confusion can result in the spread of misinformation and potentially be harmful to both the developer and end users of the software.
  • If you encounter something that you believe to be a bug, Apple wants you to let it know. The reality is that public discussion of bugs introduced in a beta release actually reduces the number of bug reports that are filed with the developer. This is because there will invariably be some who will see a bug mentioned somewhere and assume that this means that somebody else will already have reported it, and that the developer will have all of the information they need to reproduce, isolate, and fix the problem. In the case of Apple, it wants you to report problems as soon as you encounter them, not to spend time trying to first find out if others are encountering the same problem. At best this will delay bugs being reported and developers starting work to resolve them; at worst it may result in some bugs simply not being reported by anybody.
  • Considering the number of people who have potential access to beta Apple software and the number of beta releases that Apple typically issues, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which (if permitted) there could be a large number of posts on AppleVis about bugs in beta releases. This could crowd out content which is of far more interest, relevance, and value to the mass majority of those in our community who will not be using beta software.
  • If you are looking for information about bugs to help you decide whether to install a particular beta release, then you have missed the fundamental purpose and value of beta testing. It may sound harsh, but if your main concern is finding out whether a beta release is ‘safe’ to install, you should probably stick to using stable final releases. Beta testing is not intended for the simply curious or those who do not want the problems which typically come with installing and using beta software. This is even more true in the case of beta operating systems and where you do not have a dedicated device to use for testing purposes.

We appreciate that most other websites take a very different position on the sharing of information about beta Apple software.

What we would ask is that you recognize that AppleVis will in most cases have different needs and priorities to those websites.

We as a community strive to build positive and longstanding relationships with software developers. We want to raise awareness of accessibility; ask software developers to listen to the needs of those who rely on software being accessible; want software developers to actively engage with our community; and encourage software developers to make accessible design a priority.

We do not believe that on one hand we can be asking this from developers, whilst at the same time showing a disregard for what developers reasonably ask of us when using their software.

Essentially, we can't have it both ways. We can't ask software developers to listen to our community, whilst at the same time refusing to listen to them.

In the case of Apple, we know that it does indeed currently listen to and respect our community.. Things said on AppleVis can and do make a difference.

We see no benefit from potentially sacrificing this for being able to talk about a bug which may only ever exist for the lifetime of one release during the beta cycle.

We welcome and appreciate your support for the rules set out on this page.

Revised: 6/09/2019

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