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Product Development

What Is A Software Beta Version?

April 13, 2023

Movies have screenings to get feedback before the big premiere. And plays have dress rehearsals to work out some of the kinks before their performances. Software development has beta testing, where developers, designers, and product managers use a beta version of their software with real users before being released to a larger audience.

What is a beta version?

The beta version, a pre-release build of software that may contain bugs or performance issues, is released after the alpha phase in the software release life cycle. While alpha testing is typically conducted internally, beta testing is focused on testing the software with a group of end users. The distinctions between alpha and beta versions lie in the testing audience, the objectives of testing, and the timeline of each stage.

an example of alpha and beta versions of software apps

Why is a beta version important?

The purpose of the beta version is to collect end user feedback, helping to identify and resolve any remaining issues before the software's final release. 

The benefits of an early release version allow teams to learn what's working and what's not while having enough time before launch to drive ROI in development, included in the image below.

An image showing the benefits of testing a beta version of a product in software development

What happens after a beta version?

During the beta testing phase, developers analyze the feedback received from users and work on addressing any identified issues or implementing suggested improvements.

After these enhancements are made, the software undergoes additional regression testing and potentially public or open beta testing to ensure that it meets the desired quality standards. 

Finally, the software is released as a stable, normal version, ready for widespread distribution and use.

An image showing the stages of the software release life cycle

How long do beta versions last?

Typically, the availability of beta versions can span between 3 to 12 weeks, but can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the software, the number of issues identified during testing, and the resources available to address these issues. 

A chart showing duration of beta versions in software testing

The beta version in software development is a release used in testing to bring a product closer to customers' expectations are getting ready for the beta phase of development download this beta test planning kit to ensure you run a successful test.

Download the Software Beta Planning Kit
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