Apple debuts iOS 9 public preview for iPhones, iPads

The preview program gives users time using the mobile software before its fall release.

(Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

Apple wants you to get its hands on its latest mobile software sooner rather than later.

The iPhone and iPad maker will on Thursday open the download floodgates allowing the general public to test iOS 9 before its formal debut later this year.

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iOS 9, which made its first appearance at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, comes with a range of new features and technologies aimed at improving productivity

The software will be available from Apple's public preview site. (Some users can access the site, while others may have to wait a bit longer. Be patient.)

It isn't the first time the company has allowed its customers to download and run a major pre-release version before its formal release. The first public preview program was for iOS 8.3 earlier this year. The company said that its preview programs help "shape" its future products.

A word of warning: don't install the software in your primary iPhone or iPad. Although the preview version is likely stable enough for your day-to-day, the final bugs won't be ironed out for weeks and months down the line.

Apple is expected to release iOS 9 later this year alongside the new iPhone, likely at an event in August or September.

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