Some developers choose to make their new apps or games available to the users before their official release. The process is often called beta testing, and it’s beneficial for both the developers and the testers. The testers get to learn more about a particular app or game before the public release, while the developers earn feedback and bug reports.
In fact, most of the popular Android apps and games have an optional beta program you can sign up for to test out new features. Unreleased titles often use “Early Access” programs to iron out bugs and give them more polish before launch.
If you are looking to join the beta programs for apps and games on the Google Play Store, this guide is for you. You can also read on to learn the differences between various Google Play beta programs.
Differences between Google Play beta programs
There are usually three types of beta programs on the Google Play Store: Closed Beta, Open Beta, and Early Access.
Closed betas are invite-only programs that users can sign up for through the developer’s website or social media channels. Since such programs are commonly reserved for long-time fans and reviewers, make sure to keep an eye out for the developer announcements on Twitter, Discord, Telegram, Facebook, or other social media platforms. If you happen to be eligible for closed beta testing, you should receive a redeemable code to download the pre-release version of the app/game from Play Store. Alternatively, you may have to install an APK hosted outside Play Store– typically on the developer’s official website or community forum.
Unlike closed betas, open betas are available to everyone who use the Google Play Store. You can join an app or game’s beta program from its listing on the storefront. Plus, you can opt out of or rejoin the program anytime you want. Hundreds of popular apps and games on the Play Store have their open beta programs, including the ones from Google. However, it’s worth noting that open betas are limited to a certain number of testers. Due to their popularity, beta programs for Google’s Android apps are always full, but you may get the chance to opt in once in a while.
Sometimes, unreleased apps and games make their way to the Play Store via the “Early Access” program. Generally, they are available for free so that interested users can download and test them out. It allows developers to fix bugs and give their apps and games a bit more polis before launch.
How to join app beta programs in Google Play
Beta programs were quite infamous for their inaccessibility, but that’s not a problem nowadays. As long as you have a compatible Android device, all you have to do is join the beta from the app or game’s Google Play listing. Here’s what the process looks like:
- First, launch Play Store from your app drawer or home screen.
- Tap your profile icon on the top-right corner next to the search bar.
- Next, choose My apps & games in the following contextual menu.
- Now go to the “Installed” tab and choose the app you wish to join the beta program for.
- After that, scroll down to the “Join the beta” section and tap Join under it.
- Finally, tap Join once again to sign up as a beta tester for the selected app.
Once you perform the above steps, your account will be enlisted to the app or game’s beta program. It might take a few minutes before you receive an update for the chosen app/game on Play Store.
If you can’t seem to find the “Join the Beta” section in an app or game’s listing, chances are the developer doesn’t offer a beta program or does its testing outside Google Play. In that case, you may need to check the developer’s official website and ask them for beta access.
How to leave app beta programs in Google Play
Beta versions of apps and games are generally unstable and riddled with bugs, so you might want to roll back to the stable version. Luckily, Play Store does provide the option to leave the beta program.
- Head over to the Play Store from your app drawer or home screen.
- Tap the profile icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, next to the “Search” option.
- After that, tap the My apps & games option in the following menu.
- Now go to the “Beta” tab and choose the app you wish to leave the beta program for.
- Scroll down to the “You’re a beta tester” section and tap Leave.
- Tap Leave once again to confirm opting out of the beta program.
That’s it! You will be removed from the app or game’s beta program in a few minutes. Note that you might have to uninstall the beta version of the app or game in order to roll back to the stable version.
How to pre-register for Early Access apps and games on Google Play
Pre-registering for apps and games in “Early Access” is relatively straightforward. The process goes as follows:
- Start with visiting Play Store on your Android phone or tablet.
- Go to the Games tab, scroll down to the “Pre-registration games” section, and tap the right-arrow icon next to it.
- Now go through the list and choose the app or game you’d like to pre-register for.
- Once you are on the game’s listing, tap the Pre-register button.
- Uncheck the box next to the “Get notified…” option to avoid spam emails and notifications, then tap the “Install when available” button.
- Finally, ensure the toggle next to Early access is turned on.
Apps or games that offer pre-registration might not necessarily offer Early Access to the beta. Plus, only a limited number of pre-registered users get the opportunity to take part in the Early Access program.
This is how you can join the beta program for apps and games in Google Play Store. You can now be among the very first people to try an exciting new Android app or game. Plus, you get the unique chance to provide your genuine feedback, report bugs, and express your thoughts directly to the development team.
However, if you are willing to test out new features earlier than everyone else, prepare yourself to run into frequent crashes, bugs, and glitches. Beta software is often associated with instability for a reason, so keep that in mind before opting into a beta program.