How to Join Apple's OS X Yosemite Beta Program

Apple announced OS X Yosemite during a keynote presentation on Monday at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The major update won't be ready until this fall, but Apple is offering a public beta some time this summer. You'll need to sign up to get your hands on the public beta, and it's easy to do.

To participate in the Yosemite public beta, just point your Web browser to Apple's beta site and sign up. Here's how:

  • Once you're on the beta program webpage, click Sign Up
  • You'll need a free Developer Connection account to join. If you don't already have one, it's easy to create from the login page.
  • After you sign in, agree to the terms of service, and you're good to go. Apple will send you an email when the public beta is ready for download.

Apple makes it easy to join the OS X Yosemite public beta programApple makes it easy to join the OS X Yosemite public beta program

Participating in the Yosemite public beta has some pros and cons. You'll get an early taste of what's in store for Apple's next operating system, and you can help in the development process by reporting the bugs you find. On the downside, you may have stability problems, data files could get corrupted, and at some point you may have to simply reformat your Mac's hard drive and start over.

Beta versions of operating systems can be loads of fun, or major headaches. Don't install the Yosemite beta on mission-critical Macs because if something does go horribly wrong, you won't want to lose your important files.

Apple is allowing a million people to sign up for the Yosemite public beta, so be sure to get your name on the list if you want to try it out.