iOS 8 Beta 6 is out, but it's exclusively for carriers

Apple fans are eagerly-awaiting the release of iOS 8. The update brings a range of improvements that even those of an Android disposition must admit are a huge leap forward over its predecessor, but currently Apple only wants you to test the beta builds if you are a registered developer with your UDID registered for your device.

Thus far this has been a traditional deployment model for Apple. Deploy to developers > test > fix > Gold Master > carrier check > deploy to the public. In what appears to be a slight change from the model, however, Apple has released a new beta version unavailable even to developers.

Beta 6 has been released solely to carriers. This is something which historically hasn't happened until the Gold Master (considered ready-to-ship software) is released. It is alleged beta 6 is "so close" to the final version that it was not needed to be shipped to developers in order to prepare their apps for the OS' release. Developers have been issued with five beta builds of iOS 8 thus far.

It's an interesting move as carriers must test each build before certifying for use on their network. Why carriers need to test a "near-final" build only to then have to test the final build any day soon is odd to say the least. The final sign-offs are reportedly due by September 5th in preparation for the near-certain launch of the iPhone 6 and public version of iOS 8 at a media event scheduled for September 9th.

A report from BGR says the carrier-exclusive beta 6 has already been rejected due to an issue which causes YouTube to not function correctly in Apple's Safari browser. Issues that have been fixed since beta 5 include problems with the new "Continuity" feature between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, addressing mail which might not sync between platforms, and fixing a bug where connectivity could drop after opening iOS' Control Center.

Beta 6 full changelog:

Baseband & Telephony

Fixed an issue where incorrect pop up message was displayed when SIM was removed

Fixed an issue where clicking on cancel button turned LTE on

Fixed an issue where excessive registration was tried with dual IMSI SIM

Continuity

Fixed an occasional mail continuity failure from OS X to iOS

Fixed an issue causing continuity to fail after opening control center

FaceTime

Fixed an occasional problem where MT call connection quality would be incorrectly treated as “poor”

GameCenter

Fixed an issue where the active photo cannot be deleted

iCloud

Fixed a problem where document sync would sometimes consume excessive cellular data

iTunes Store

URLs for the store app are no longer broken in received mail

Fixed a problem with excessive prompts to sign in to the iTunes Store

Keyboard

Fixed an intermittent issue keyword shifting when rotating the screen

Fixed an issue where the emoji keyboard was unusable on Safari

Mail

Notes are no longer duplicated when opened through Gmail

Fixed an issue where after withdrawing a draft with attachments, browsing to another message resulted in the attachments getting lost

Fixed an issue where forwarding an email without a photo attachment still sends a photo

Fixed an issue when forwarding an email with an attached photo just brought up the original message without a photo

Fixed an issue where email could be deleted from the lock screen without prompting for a passcode

Maps

Fixed a problem where maps would sometimes consume excessive cellular data

Messages

Added support for SMS relay opt-in prompt

Fixed issue that caused devices to receive SMS via relay for unselected aliases

Fixed failures sending current location via MMS

Fixed an issue where messages partially overlap Chinese keyboards

Fixed an issue where changing a group name didn’t propagate to other devices until a message is sent

Phone

Fixed an issue where an incoming call was being relayed back to originating phone

Fixed an issue where options on declining a call didn’t work with call relay

Photos

Fixed an issue where edited photos did not display properly after restoring from backup

Improved full screen photo sharing

Set default to keep all photos on device for users with 5GB iCloud space

Fixed an issue where a user could not select multiple photos and upload to Facebook via Safari

Push Notifications

Improved push connection management upon account logout with multiple associated devices

Fixed a problem where Exchange push notifications would stop after responding to an invitation from the lock screen

Fixed an issue where a user does not receive a notification for incoming messages when the banner for the previous one is pulled down

Springboard

Fixed an issue unlocking an iPhone while on an active call

Fixed an issue where the keyboard would sometimes become unresponsive when the screen is locked

Visual Voicemail

Fixed an issue where Voicemail could not be played under certain error conditions

Fixed an issue where Phone App hanged when tried to check Voicemail

Why do you think Apple shipped iOS 8 Beta 6 solely to carriers? Let us know in the comments.

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