Apple has - out of the goodness of its heart - allowed everyone, not just developers, to help it get its new El Capitan and iOS 9 betas debugged. For no money.
Users will now be able to try out the upcoming version of Apple's mobile operating system prior to its general release in the fall.
Getting the new version of iOS will first require users to sign up for the Apple Beta Program and enroll their devices before installing the beta OS. At the time of writing, that site was inaccessible due to heavy traffic.
Once enrolled in the beta program, users can download a configuration file from Apple that then downloads the iOS 9 software. Users can go back to older versions of iOS through a factory-reset on iTunes.
In addition to the software build itself, the beta release includes a built-in feedback assistant that sends details on crashes to Apple in hopes of sorting out bugs prior to the general release of the OS.
As the "beta" term suggests, the iOS 9 build is not yet a finished product, and users should expect to encounter some issues. Cupertino is recommending users upload a backup of their iOS devices prior to installing.
The release will be the first version of iOS 9 open to the general public, though developers have had access to iOS 9 since WWDC. Apple executives have talked up the new security features in the mobile OS as well as the addition of multitasking support on iPads and a new search option allowing App developers to access the iOS search tool within apps.
iOS 9 will also bring with it updates to the Siri virtual assistant and Maps application. Apple plans to release the update later this year, possibly alongside a new line of iPhones.
Those who don't have an iThing can still get in on the beta-testing fun. Cupertino has also posted the first public beta of OS X El Capitan (version 10.11) for Apple desktops and notebooks – you can download it from beta.apple.com. ®