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Apple iOS 9 beta 1 is available to download now

At its Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday, Apple announced the next major updates to its operating systems. Significant new additions are on the way in WatchOS 2, along with plenty of welcome improvements in OS X El Capitan - but what many users are most excited about is the launch of iOS 9.

Apple announced a wide range of new features and enhancements in its mobile OS, including big improvements to Siri and search; a more flexible UI for multitasking (and one that appears to draw some 'inspiration' from Windows 8); changes to Passbook (now 'Wallet') and Apple Pay; and of course, the launch of Apple Music not just on iOS, but across multiple platforms, from later this month.

Apple said yesterday that it would release a public beta of iOS 9 in July, with general availability beginning in the fall. But if you're registered as an Apple developer, you can get an early beta right now.

If you're not yet registered, you can sign up via Apple's Developer site and pay the $99 annual membership to do so. Once registered, make sure that you're running the latest version of iTunes on your system, and then locate iOS 9 beta 1 on the Developer site to find and download the right build of the OS for your specific device.

Like the final version that will be released later this year, the beta supports a wide range of devices going back as far as the iPhone 4s, the original iPad mini and the third-generation iPad. Indeed, all devices that Apple supported with its iOS 8 release will also get iOS 9.

As with all pre-release software, don't expect beta 1 to be perfect just yet - so avoid installing it on your main device(s) if you're not equipped to deal with bugs, crashes and other potential issues.

Read more: Apple iOS 9 Release Notes

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