Apple has launched the first public beta of El Capitan, the next version of OS X. It also released a public beta of iOS 9, making it the first public beta for a major iOS update. Both betas are free to install and test.

The company unveiled its operating system update to Macs while at WWDC in June, and developers have been testing the software ever since, but now anyone can test it. The El Capitan public beta is expected to go live at 2 pm EST and will include performance upgrades and new features, including a split-view for full-screen apps.

As for the iOS 9 public beta, it'll also go live around 2 pm EST. Like the El Capitan public beta, it might contain several bugs and should only be installed on a test device. If you want to try either beta, you'll need to register through Apple's beta software program website. Pocket-lint has detailed everything you need to know.

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There doesn't appear to be a limit on the number of people who can sign up for El Capitan, even though the Yosemite beta from last year was limited to the first 1 million people who signed up.

  • Visit the Apple Beta Program website and sign up
  • You will receive a redemption code for downloading the beta
  • From there, install the beta from the Mac App Store
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to complete installation

Note: If you're confused, just sign up for the Beta Program and then go here. The page offers a download button that'll open the Mac App Store with your redemption code already entered. It also automatically begins your download.

The OS X El Capitan public beta, as well as subsequent updates, can be accessed directly from the Mac App Store. Keep in mind you should always back up your Mac using Time Machine or any other method before installing a beta. Also, you will be able to upgrade to the final version of OS X El Capitan when it releases this autumn.

You can install El Capitan on any Mac running Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite. Here's a complete list of Macs supported. We recommend the same minimum specs for running Mavericks.

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With the public beta program, you can download and install iOS 9 to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It doesn't require a developers account or involve the hassle of registering your device’s UDID. And it's completely free.

  • Visit the Apple Beta Program website and sign up
  • From there, click on “Enroll your iOS device to receive beta updates"
  • Backup your device (connect your device to a computer and use iTunes)
  • From your iOS device, go to beta.apple.com/profile
  • Download the iOS Beta Configuration Profile and follow the steps
  • On your device, go to Software Update under Settings
  • Then, look for the iOS beta to download and install

Devices running iOS 8.1.3 or later will automatically receive the latest public beta software over the air. The iOS 9 public beta, as well as subsequent updates, can be accessed directly from Software Update under Settings on your device.

You will be able to install the beta on following devices: iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad 2, iPad Mini 3rd-gen, iPad Mini 2nd-gen, iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5th-gen.

The OS X and iOS public betas come with a Feedback Assistant app, which can be opened from the second page of the Home screen on your iOS device or from the Dock on your Mac. You can learn more about the app here.

The Feedback Assistant app is also available from the Help menu of any app.

Apple also has a guide and step-by-step instructions on how to get both betas.