Apple has released the second developer build of OS X 10.10.3 as a public beta available for download today. This update is much anticipated, because in addition to the standard bug fixes and security patches, Apple is including an all new app called Photos. This app, which is slated to replace both iPhoto and Apple’s pro photo manager Aperture, will bring a streamlined interface for managing photos and allow you to do so with local libraries or those stored on iCloud, from your iOS and Mac OS devices. The program in essence unifies the photo management experience across Apple’s platforms.
Any new program is exciting to try; however, before you do, keep in mind that this program is very much in beta testing, perhaps even more than the rest of OS X 10.10.3 since it is a full program replacement with a number of new features and data handling options, instead of just update. Therefore, until it has been vetted through testing by others, if you use iPhoto extensively, or use it for tasks that are important to you, consider avoiding Photos and Apple’s public beta of OS X 10.10.3 until a final build is released.
If you do decide to use your system for beta testing, and give Photos and other aspects of the update a try, first be sure you have a full and restorable backup of your system, which can be made using Time Machine or a system cloning tool like Carbon Copy Cloner. In addition, you might look into manually backing up your iPhoto and Aperture libraries, before updating, and then regularly do so while you use Photos in its testing phase.
Alternatives for Testing
Photos is still on the burner, so it is not quite ready for everyday use. However, you can give it a try by using a virtual machine on your Mac to install OS X Yosemite. This will run a full copy of OS X within a protected environment on your Mac, and allow you to sign up for the public beta and preview Photos without affecting your current photo libraries. This approach is often used for testing software, and is a perfect environment for doing so on your Mac. There are several well-supported virtual machine software packages available, which include Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion.
I think I’ll wait for the final 10.10.3 update. As it is I’m not using Yosemite on my main system. Instead, I have it on a test partition. I won’t be upgrading my Mavericks system until Yosemite is deemed more or less bug free – by the early adopters. Let’s hope that with 10.10.3 the third time will be the charm. Depending on when the 10.10.3 final is released, it will be six months or more after Yosemite first came out of beta. The problems with Yosemite should provide Apple with a reality check – their accelerated OS development program is a dismal failure. Whatever reasons they thought they had for speeding things up like this clearly don’t hold water. Unfortunately, Apple has always been as reluctant to learn from their mistakes as Microsoft. They are both now like the Titanic – too big to steer away from icebergs.
Topher, I guess you have been already been testing Photos. What can you say about people who want to switch to Photos because iPhoto has become a slow mess, but don’t necessarily want to change their workflow?
Can I switch to Photos, but still have all my photos stored locally on my Mac, sync (selectively) via iTunes to my iOS devices, and also keep on using Photo Stream (that doesn’t count against my 5GB iCloud limit)?