I am eager to try out the new Yosemite beta, but the confidentiality agreement somewhat startles me.

I know I cannot disclose any confidential information about the OS or post screenshots of it anywhere, but what else does that imply? I am a web developer and I use my Macbook for surfing the web, listening to music, programming and web development in general. Can I still do all these things (and the rest of everyday stuff) if I update to the Yosemite beta? What are the legal limitations of using Yosemite?

What I'm asking is can I still produce websites, web software and etc. at work using Yosemite Beta as a development environment?

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    Apple's agreement doesn't prevent you from doing any of these things, but they do clearly warn that it isn't a good idea to depend on it in a production environment. Please note the number of questions that appear on here from people asking how to downgrade back from Yosemite. – Alistair McMillan Aug 21 '14 at 20:47
  • Is it really that unstable? From what I've seen, this beta has been very stable so far, unless I am misinformed. I'm okay with minor crashes or bugs as long as they don't cause data loss or launch some nuclear warheads into my backyard. – Onion Aug 21 '14 at 20:49
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    In Apple's words: "We recommend installing OS X Yosemite Beta on a secondary Mac, since it may contain errors or inaccuracies. ... This is beta software that is still in development, which means some applications and services may not work as expected." There is no way to say for sure whether it might cause data loss. Using it in a production environment is a risk. – Alistair McMillan Aug 21 '14 at 20:59
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    BTW Just don't hook your backyard nuclear warheads up to a port on your Mac and they should be fine. Unless they connect to the wireless in your home or office, in which case better not take that risk either. :P – Alistair McMillan Aug 21 '14 at 21:01
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    Mantas - I would take any reports of instability with a grain of salt. The people who know likely aren't talking and those that are talking might not know what they are talking about. Would you really trust someone who clearly breaks the terms of being granted a beta? From where I sit - the purpose of a beta is to be unstable so they can test things safely on non-production and non-critical tasks and gather crash reports, stability data and then dial in the stability as the beta bug fixes are coded, tested and vetted. – bmike Aug 21 '14 at 22:29

From my personal experience, Yosemite isn't really too bad in terms of bugginess. It's quite unlikely that you will suffer data loss, but take backups as always. I have had no more problems running on Yosemite than Mavericks (aside from some cosmetic issues related to Dark Mode and reducing transparency).

That said, it really depends on what you use for web development. TextMate, iTerm, and Xcode work really well, but if you've got another IDE running you might want to wait until you know it works well with Yosemite. I'm also a big fan of Alfred and Karabiner, both of which have official support for it.

Also, what reason do you have to run Yosemite? Even if it is low risk, it isn't worth the trouble to just be able to use the flashy new GUI.

The legal limitations are pretty severe, however:

[…] don’t blog, post screen shots, tweet or publicly post information about the pre-release Apple software, and don't discuss the pre-release Apple software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the OS X Beta Program.

In a work environment it's going to be difficult to avoid discussing or demonstrating it to people not in the program.

So in this instance, it's probably a good idea to wait until 10.10 is publicly released, as Apple also warns against using it on production machines or business-critical ones.

  • I disagree with the "difficult to avoid discussing" portion of your answer. Many, many workplaces have professionals that use things that are confidential and know how to close doors, and prepare a system so that it complies with the terms of Apple's beta program. I heartily endorse the warning to not depend on it for production or mission critical tasks. Testing any new OS (whether it's been released to the public for a year or still pre-release) means you should have backups and be ready to erase and reinstall if you don't like how the upgrade works. – bmike Aug 21 '14 at 22:26

There is nothing in the beta program terms and conditions that preclude you from using the OS fully - connecting to the internet at large and with whatever programs you care to install and run on Yosemite.

The only prohibition I see is that you not blog opinions, details and/or post screenshots of the product while it is in a beta status (and presumably you would be bound to not share the beta versions anywhere - but I don't see that addressed explicitly). If you can keep quiet about the software, you should have no problem honoring your end of the bargain as Apple describes it publicly. Be sure you read any terms carefully in case my impression (or the publicly available terms) isn't the only thing you agree to when you enroll in the program.

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