After WWDC each year, Apple releases the latest OS X version to developers while the rest of us – rather unfortunately – have to wait until the final version is released to the public later in the fall. This year, Apple did things a little differently. Apple is opening OS X Yosemite to the rest of us (well, some of us) in a public beta. The public beta program, announced at WWDC, will grant the first million people who sign up for the program with their Apple ID (it’s not too late yet) access to download OS X Yosemite starting tomorrow. If you signed up or are planning on it (go do it now) here’s what you need to know to prepare:

Sign up for the OS X Yosemite Public Beta if you haven’t already

Sign up using your Apple ID on the Beta website. If you’re one of the first million people to sign up, you’ll receive an email with a link and an activation code some time tomorrow that will allow you to download the OS X.

Don’t install it on your primary machine if you can help it

This is a Beta program which means there will be a couple bugs – possibly a lot of them. Things won’t always work so you’ll want to back up your data before you download the new operating system (actually, you should do that every time there’s an update, even if it’s not a Beta). Google Drive, Drop Box, iCloud or an external hard drive are good places to do that. Additionally, if you have a work laptop and a home laptop, download it on your home laptop. It would be pretty terrible if one of the bugs popped up when you were in the middle of a huge work presentation and lose hours of work.

Use, enjoy, and provide feedback

Apple has a place on the OS – a feedback assistant – for you to easily submit feedback to Apple, who may or may not read it. As a public Beta user, you’ll get OS updates several times before the final version is released to the public this fall. And – bonus! – you won’t have to redownload the final version. Downloading the app won’t do anything to your warranty, and if you decide you don’t like it or there are too many bugs, you can always switch back to Mavericks. We have to believe Apple will provide detailed instructions to do so.

The Public Beta program is free to all users with an Apple ID, so hop on over to the Apple OS X Yosemite Beta program page and sign up. Hurry, it’s capped at one million.

Photo via Apple

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