If you signed up for the Mac OS X Yosemite beta, it is now available through the Mac App Store. Apple started sending out emails yesterday with a link to the Appleseed site and Beta redemption, providing a redemption code and link to get Yosemite from the Mac App Store.
The download continues after signing in with your AppleID. It’s 5.07GB in size, so it might take a little time depending on your internet connection.
You’ll want to back up your existing Mavericks install to Time Machine since this is beta software and restoring from Time Machine (or a fresh reinstall) is the only way to go back to Mavericks. Apple also cautions:
This is beta software that is still in development, which means some applications and services may not work as expected.
The install is pretty straight forward and even slightly improved on from previous versions. Once the install completes you simply create a user and optionally sign in with an AppleID. Beyond that, you’re in to a working OS X Yosemite environment. A lot of the deeper features and iOS integration will take some time to figure out but the first impression definitely strikes with what was shown off at the WWDC and the following promo video.
This version, coming from a non-native Mac user like myself, seems very much like a coat of paint. Looks got updated and the refresh does look better but functionally, it’s very similar to Mavericks.
For a closer look, the icons in the dock got refreshed with the flat design. The colors look good and they pop.
The realistic gear and the depth to Finder are nice updates to the look and feel.
The top-left buttons, red, yellow, green, also got updated with a flat approach. Interestingly the green maximize button actually takes you into a full screen view instead of just maximizing. From looking at files to an application, it will kick off a transition as it slides over into a distraction-free, full screen view. It’s kind of nice but the lengthy transition can certainly be annoying.
Spotlight now takes center stage. This probably helps users actually find what they’re looking for by giving more room to see the details of spotlight’s results.
Spotlight is also more functional by searching the Mac, the Web, iTunes, the App Store, and others from one spot.
The results give you a lot of options but sometimes when you’re looking for something specific you might want to scope it down instead of searching the web for a file you just created and don’t know where it saved.
Safari also looks good with the update. It’s a bit busy when it first launches but when you actually visit a site, the chrome is clean and distraction free.
With a rumored October launch, Yosemite is already a pretty polished product. It will be interesting to spend more time with it and see how compatibility and security settings have changed with this latest release, as well as the integration between your other devices.