What Is a Beta App?

By Vanessa Padgalskas

Apps are programs that perform a function used on a computer or other device. Apps are commonly thought of as mobile apps, which are programs that you can use on a smartphone, tablet and many mobile devices. Apps can be games, navigation systems, language translators, newspapers and perform a variety of other functions. Beta apps are versions of apps that are in their initial stages. A beta version of an app isn't released for every app.

What Is Beta?

Beta means that an app is still in the development stages and not the final version. The app developer releases the beta version to let the public test the app and then provide feedback to the developer. Some types of beta apps are released to everyone, such as mobile apps that are available for download, but other apps are available only to a select group of people who are designated to test the apps.

Problems With a Beta App

Beta apps often have glitches or bugs because they're not in the final versions. If you're using a beta app, don't expect it to be perfect. Problems with a beta app may include typographical mistakes, program crashes or the app may not be user-friendly.

After the Beta Version

When the app developers have fixed the bugs and improved the app, the regular non-beta version will be released to the general public. The updated version won't have the word "beta" in its title. Beta testing is helpful for the developer, who may not foresee all possible problems with the app until it's tested by a variety of people before releasing the final version.

Find Beta Apps

Mobile beta apps can be found in BlackBerry App World, Android Market, iTunes App Store, and the Palm App Catalog, and you can downloaded them if you have the specified smartphone. You can also write to your favorite software developers and request to become a beta tester, or sign up at a beta testing site such as The Beta Family to receive beta testing opportunities.