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YosemiteBeta

People who want to get a sneak peek at OS X Yosemite, the next update to the operating system that powers Macs everywhere, can get a crack at it starting tomorrow. Apple will open its OS X Beta Program tomorrow, and let users get a glimpse of the new design and features that it has in store.

Users will get a special code they can redeem on the Mac App Store, and download an OS X Yosemite update from there. The first build released to users will be the same version that was just released to developers earlier this week. In the future, users of the public beta may be on a different update schedule than the developer releases, however.

Yosemite ComboThe beta program, which is the first public Mac OS beta Apple has released since its launch of OS X, will allow the Cupertino-based company to gather feedback on the OS. That’s especially important, since Yosemite features a new user interface design that could throw some users for a loop.

Apple faced a fairly sizable backlash last year following the launch of its visual overhaul for iOS 7, and it’s clear that the company wants to run Yosemite’s re-design past a wide variety of people before releasing it to the public.

The company announced Yosemite last month at its Worldwide Developers Conference, and it comes with a number of new features, including a revamped version of Spotlight that allows users to search the web and their computer from one window on their desktop.

Before jumping in, it’s worth noting that Apple’s betas almost always live up to their pre-release software labeling. People who want to test out the Yosemite preview should expect that they’ll be running a buggy, difficult-to-use version of the operating system that doesn’t necessarily work with all of the third-party apps they rely on. Noted Apple commentator John Siracusa put it best on Twitter today:

Before installing, users also have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits the sharing of screenshots, but allows people to freely discuss information that has already been disclosed. It’s fairly lenient, and Apple can’t possibly police everyone who signs up for the beta program, but people who are registering for the Yosemite beta should give the contract a read before clicking “agree.”

If installing Yosemite still sounds appealing, users can sign up for the beta program here. People who would rather run a stable operating system will have to wait until this fall to give it a try.

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