What's actually better than buying a new Mac? I'll tell you. Getting the newest possible version of Mac OS X – or OS X as Apple now prefers to call it. Here's how to get Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite now – and for free. Warning! The fastest, cheapest way is not Apple Approved, and some of these routes to Yosemite are neither free nor immediate. We rate each way to OS X 10.10 on ease, price and immediacy.

I remember when I first unboxed the Bondi Blue iMac in 1998. It was so exciting with all its translucent blueness – admittedly a rather horrible green blue, but at least not beige – its funny shape and up-yours-oldtimers lack of floppy drive.

It was easy to plug in and switch on, and then… Mac OS 8.1. Groan, the same lousy version as on the beige Power Mac G3.

No, all true Mac fans want something new, something different, something with new other somethings. And that nearly always means a new Mac operating system.

I still have my copy of the Mac OS X Public Beta (codename "Kodiak" after the giant Alaskan bear, not even a big cat) from September 2000. Now that really was different. And I had to go to Paris to pick it up. Apple's latest operating system, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, isn't all that different but it has a new name, new looks and new somethings. So we want it now.

Read: Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite release date, price, spec and features

Read our OS X Yosemite preview

Here's our Top 5 Ways to Get OS X Yosemite Now!

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 1. Become an Apple Developer

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

Registered developers get OS X Yosemite right this minute. How do you register as an Apple Developer? It's easy. Just sign up online with your Apple sign in and fill in a form. Oh, and if your're not one already this will cost you $99 – approximately $99 more than Yosemite will cost when it's finally released to the general public. You'll need to state what you are actually developing: apps for the Mac or iOS, application plug-ins, Safari extensions, Dashboard widgets, etc. You are doing that stuff, aren't you?

Verdict: now and free if you're already an Apple Developer; nearly now and not free if you need to register as one.

[Read our best new features in Yosemite article]

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 2. Join the Yosemite Beta lottery

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

Sign up for the summer Yosemite give-away when Apple is offering a pre-release version of Yosemite as a beta to the first million Mac users who register. Just sign up for Apple's Beta program.

Verdict: Not now but earlier than the rest of your Mac friends, and free if you're one of the lucky ones.

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 3. Download it, but don’t tell Apple

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

If you can't lie and pretend to be a developer or wait till "summer" you could download a pre-pre-release version from the internet (for example from IMZDL). But this is most definitely not Apple Approved. In fact, if he finds out, Jonathan Ive will come round your house and give you a slap round the face.

Verdict: now and free but may well not be good for your Mac's general well being.

Everything you need to know about Apple's OS X Yosemite

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 4. Download Yosemite from the App Store

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

Wait till Apple's official release in the autumn. And by autumn – or Fall if you want to name your seasons after what happens to leaves at the time of year in question – we mean October. OK, strictly this is not "now" but it will be before you know it. And it's likely to be free. If it isn't you can go round to Ive's house, and, well, you know.

Verdict: Definitely not now but free if you don't mind trying to download the thing at the same time as everyone else.

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 5. Spend thousands of pounds

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

Buy a new Mac as soon as Mac OS X Yosemite comes out. Yes, this is even less "now" than one above but it's the only way to get a boxed version of the new operating system. By box, we mean the big box your new Mac comes in.

Verdict: Definitely not now and free only if you don't count the price of the shiny new Mac.

Mac software reviews

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now: 6. Don't rush

How to get Mac OS X Yosemite now and for free

Yes, number 6 in our Top 5 is to sit back and relax.

Wait till OS X 10.10.1 or even 10.10.2 comes out, when you'll miss most of the bugs and incompatibilities that are bound to befall all the fools who pretend to be Apple developers, win the Beta million lottery, illegally download a version, download a legal version on Day 1, or buy a new Mac without thinking through the consequences of using a new operating system untried in the real world (except by more idiots like themselves).

Verdict: Definitely not now. Not even this year maybe! But it will be free and work as it's meant to without causing you any further woes.