In a first for the company, Apple is inviting users to test a forthcoming iPhone software update. The update, iOS 8.3, packs several new features, including long-awaited racially-diverse emoji.
To sign up for the iOS 8.3 beta, first register as an Apple software tester here. Then, visit the same page on your iPhone, log in, and opt to enter the iOS beta program. You’ll have to download a certificate, then your iPhone will see the iOS 8.3 beta as a software update in Settings as it if were a normal update.
Fair warning, however: Beta software is notoriously buggy, so if you’re not willing to put up with a few glitches, you’re probably better off waiting until iOS 8.3’s public release. Apple hasn’t put a firm date on when that will happen yet.
Apple only recently started a public beta program for its desktop and mobile operating systems in order to better test its software before releasing it to the masses.
“The feedback we have received on the OS X Yosemite Beta continues to help us shape OS X, and now the iOS 8.3 Beta is available for download,” reads Apple’s website.
The iOS 8.3 beta also includes support for CarPlay, Apple’s new platform that brings an iPhone-style interface to vehicle dashboards.
Apple’s stock was up nearly 2% Thursday, erasing Wednesday losses and potentially signaling a reversal in a lackluster week. The company’s stock has been trending largely downward since a Monday event focused on the Apple Watch, its new wearable device slated for an April 24 release. While Apple is heavily touting the device, some analysts fear its high price — $349 to start and up to $17,000 — will keep consumer demand cool.