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Apple releases public beta of OS X 10.10.3 with new Photos app

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Apple’s just released the first beta of OS X 10.10.3, which includes the company’s all new Photos app, for participants of its public beta program. If you were previously signed up to receive early access to OS X Yosemite ahead of its September launch, you should be able to download this 10.10.3 update by opening the Mac App Store and clicking the updates tab.

OS X 10.10.3 beta

If not, you can still head to Apple’s website and sign up for beta downloads. The process is pretty simple and basically involves just two steps: register your Apple ID, and then download a small file that authorizes your Mac to receive the early software. Of course, you should definitely back up your computer before installing the beta should anything go awry; there’s no simple way of downgrading back down to 10.10.2. And it’s really only advisable to install this update on a secondary Mac you’ve got sitting around — using beta software on your primary machine is a risky move.

But if you’re dying for a chance to try out the new, pretty great Photos app before everyone else, this is your opportunity. Even if the software’s not final, this early peek should help you decide if you’re ready to trash iPhoto and Aperture and stick with Apple’s new app. What Apple already's got here — the improved cloud syncing and far speedier performance, especially — is worth getting excited about. Before you dive into the beta, here's everything you need to know about Photos. OS X 10.10.3 also includes new emoji and easier logins for Google users who take advantage of two-step verification.