Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is on track to release OS X Mavericks this fall, as the company released the third beta of its newfangled operating system for Mac owners on Monday. Apple’s release pattern for the betas of OS X Mavericks has been smooth thus far, with each new release coming exactly two weeks after the prior update. The OS X Mavericks beta 3 update arrives just two weeks after the second beta for OS X Mavericks, which arrived two weeks after the first beta for OS X Mavericks was launched following Apple’s keynote at this year’s WWDC. Apple plans to release Mac OS X Mavericks to the public this fall.

Until its public release date arrives, Apple is letting Mac developers, as well as those who pay the $99 fee to join Apple’s Mac developer program, get an exclusive sneak peek at OS X Mavericks. The OS X Mavericks beta 3 update is available through Apple’s developer website, but for users who have already downloaded a prior beta of OS X Mavericks, the beta 3 can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store. Users who haven’t downloaded or installed any prior beta updates for OS X Mavericks will need to sign into Apple’s developer hub before downloading and installing the software. The third developer preview for OS X Mavericks, according to Apple’s release notes, adds several performance and stability fixes to the Mac experience.

Before you try to download and install the third beta of OS X Mavericks by yourself, understand that OS X Mavericks is still a beta build, which means there are plenty of errors, bugs, crashes and other issues, particularly with third-party applications. That said, if you’re still looking to preview OS X Mavericks before it sees its release date this fall, check out our guide to make sure you don’t miss a crucial step.

Before You Download OS X Mavericks Beta

Apple users should back up their Mac computers before upgrading to OS X Mavericks, to either an external hard drive or an Apple Time Capsule with Time Machine. Be sure iTunes is running the latest version before downloading and installing OS X Mavericks beta 3; to check, click the “Check For Updates” option in iTunes, or simply visit the Mac App Store to make sure iTunes is current.

Again, users will need to already be Mac developers to download OS X Mavericks beta 3, or enroll in Apple’s developer program to receive a license, which costs $99 a year. Mac OS X Mavericks also requires the latest version of Mac OS X to upgrade to the new beta, so make sure you’re running the latest version of Mac OS X, which is 10.8 Mountain Lion. Once you’re registered and up to date, you’re now ready to begin the installation process for the third beta for OS X Mavericks.

Mac OS X Mavericks Installation Guide            

1. Visit Apple’s Mac developer website and download the OS X Mavericks developer preview 3. Developers and users who have paid the $99 fee will need to log in with their information to access the download file for OS X Mavericks.

2. Once downloaded, the Finder will open a window with a OS X Mavericks developer preview file, which will end in a “.dmg.” Double-click the file, and you’ll want to drag the beta 2 of OS X Mavericks into the applications folder.

3. Once the file is copied into your applications folder, find the file that says “Install OS X Preview,” follow the instructions, and the file will install by itself.

Congratulations! You’ve done all you need to do -- let your computer restart, which may happen once or twice (possibly more if this is the first time you’re downloading a beta of OS X Mavericks). But once you log in, your Mac should now be running the latest beta of the new OS X Mavericks.

For the uninitiated, OS X Mavericks introduces plenty of new features to the Mac experience, including the new Tabbed Finder and Tags system for keeping files orderly, and the ability to run full-screen apps on multiple displays. Where Mac OS X users are used to looking at their files in separate windows, Apple has merged these windows into orderly tabs in OS X Mavericks, with each tab fitted with its own custom view setting. With Tags in OS X Mavericks, users can save their documents with as many tags as they want, either previously listed or created on the fly, which makes it exceedingly easy to search through one’s files later. And with full-screen apps optimized for multiple displays in OS X Mavericks, users can utilize Spaces to swipe back and forth between various applications, and even drag assets across the apps. Apple TV owners can also use that display as yet another screen to do work. In OS X Mavericks, Apple also made Safari a much faster and more effective browser for Mac users. Browsing through bookmarks, favorite sites and even links shared by others via social networks is extremely easy, and it’s all organized directly on the home page.

Mac OS X Mavericks also introduces much-improved battery life for OS X power users, thanks to features like Compressed Memory, which rapidly compresses inactive memory used by the computer to give free space to any application in use; Timer Coalescing, which reduces the level of CPU interruptions and transitions by up to 72 percent from OS X Mountain Lion; and App Nap, which puts unused apps to “sleep” automatically.

Apple also brought over more iOS features to the Mac in OS X Mavericks, including the new Maps and iBooks applications finally optimized for the Mac; the refurbished Notifications Center that makes it much easier to reply directly to emails, texts and FaceTime requests; and the new iCloud keychain, which is always encrypted and memorizes all of your passwords, including credit card information.

Do you plan to download or try out Mac OS X Mavericks before its fall release date? What are your favorite features in OS X Mavericks? Let us know in the comments section below.

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