Before 2014, whenever Apple said “available this fall,” this would typically mean that you couldn’t get your hands on a new Mac OS until that deadline. Not anymore. Starting this year, even non-developers can download and test the latest version of OS X before its official debut.
OS X Yosemite, the heavily redesigned version of Apple’s Mac operating system announced yesterday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is immediately available for download. Not just to developers, but to virtually everyone who owns a Mac. But there’s a catch. Apple offers only one million available slots.
“Join the OS X Beta Program and help make the next release of OS X our best yet. Install the latest pre-release software, try it out, and submit your feedback. The program is limited to the first one million people who sign up, so join today,” according to the Cupertino giant.
You’d think one million copies is a huge number, but considering that there are tens of millions of Mac owners out there eager to try out the latest software from Apple, the figure suddenly sounds small.
Yosemite isn’t available for public testing just yet, which means Apple may use one of its famous lottery systems to give everyone a fair shot at downloading the OS. In other words, you won’t have to rush your enrollment. Take your time, but consider hopping on the Yosemite Beta bandwagon sooner rather than later.
How to Download OS X Yosemite for Free (for non-developers)
Enroll yourself in the OS X Beta Program using your Apple ID (you do have an Apple ID, right?)
When notified (via email) download and install OS X Yosemite Beta from the Mac App Store.
Now for a word of advice. You’ll be downloading beta-grade software, so don’t think that the latest version of OS X will also be the most reliable version of OS X. Far from it. The list of known issues is miles long, and there are several graphical glitches that some users will find unacceptable.
In a nutshell, don’t rely on Yosemite Beta for work, and whatever you do, make a Time Machine backup of your existing system before you try anything.
With that out of the way, visit Apple’s OS X Beta Program and keep your fingers crossed to get elected for the download when Yosemite is made available to the public.