Is Photos for Mac ready for its public closeup? Pretty close — but don't go in without a backup.

Apple released its first public beta of OS X 10.10.3 on Monday, and with it also comes the first public crack at Photos for Mac. The temptation to upgrade for people enrolled in Apple's public beta program is great, especially for those using iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device, but should you?

Are you a tech junkie? (And do you have a backup?)

My general counsel on the matter is a cautious yes — if you have a good backup of your Mac and your photographs. I've been running OS X 10.10.3 since the first developer beta and it's remarkably stable for a preview release; Photos, similarly, is about as solid as an OS X beta app can be. I've experienced a few crashes here and there, and I'm sure Apple hasn't ironed out all the memory leaks it'd like to take care of before its formal public release, but it's perfectly solid to take for a spin.

But that's dependent on one thing: a good backup. On the off-chance that your Mac runs into a horrible bug with Photos or otherwise in the course of your day-to-day interaction with OS X 10.10.3, you don't want to put your data at risk, too. If you've backed up your information, however, and you really want to play with Photos for Mac, I see no real reason to not join the Appleseed Beta program and download the release.

Are you my mother?

If you're familiar with betas (and the bugs they occasionally contain) and their workings, there's not much harm in downloading OS X 10.10.3. But that doesn't mean you should pre-update your tech-repair-challenged friends and family's computers with the beta. Apple is likely to officially release OS X 10.10.3 in the next month or two; there's no reason not to wait to update your mother's computer until that point in time.

Already have the beta installed?

Let us know how you're getting along with Photos for Mac — and if you have any questions about the app — in the comments.