Apple has for the first time launched the iOS beta program to the public with the release of iOS 8.3 beta, as users will no longer require a paid developer account to test new software.

The new public program will be accessible to all iOS users starting 12 March, wherein you can sign up with your Apple ID and download a configuration profile from the AppleSeed website that will unlock access to the beta software via the iOS Software Update feature.

Apple has openly invited the general public to participate in its beta program to uncover bugs and issues, and report it directly to Apple using the built-in Feedback Assistant application.

This seems to be a strategic move from the iPhone maker, as iOS 8.2 has been plagued with numerous bugs and issues including broken Wi-Fi, poor signal reception, low battery-life and performance issues among others.

Apple advises users to strictly back up important data on their Mac before installing the iOS 8.3 beta update by using Time Machine or iTunes Backup and Restore feature.

Furthermore, users are cautioned against installing the beta software on production or business-critical systems for obvious reasons. Apple has plans to release iOS 9 Monarch as a public beta this summer if the public beta program turns out successful, reports 9To5Mac.

The iOS 8.3 beta comes with a bunch of new features including support for managing and pairing the Apple Watch with iPhone, Conversation List Filtering, CarPlay support, new emojis, support for Google 2-step verification and an initiative to introduce Apple Pay in China.

Interested iOS 8 users can go ahead and upgrade their devices to the latest Apple beta firmware, using the step-by-step guide provided below:

Step 1: Back up your important data on the device via iCloud or iTunes to prevent accidental loss of data, during the update process.

Step 2: Sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program from here. Then click on the blue sign up button and enter your Apple ID and password. Finally, click on the accept button to agree to the licence terms and conditions.

Step 3: Choose or click the option reading "Enroll your iOS device to receive beta updates."

NOTE:Although the process of installing a beta update is reversible by restoring to the latest public release (iOS 8.2), it is advisable to use a spare iPhone or iPad which is not your daily driver for this purpose.

Step 4: Now you need to download the iOS Beta Configuration Profile specific to your device. You must open the link using the iOS device on which you want to install the new beta update.

Step 5: Go to Settings > General > Software Update and check for the latest available updates. The iOS 8.3 beta build should now appear in the list of available updates. Select it by tapping on it and the update should start downloading on your device.

Step 6: Once the download completes, just follow onscreen instructions and tap on the install button to get the new update on your device.

[Source: Redmond Pie]