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How to install iOS 6 beta via iTunes 10.6.3 or xCode 4.5

How to install iOS 6 beta with xCode 4.5 or iTunes 10.6.3

If you're new to Apple development and have never had to install a beta version of iOS, we'll walk you through how to get started with iOS 6 beta from start to finish. You can do this with either xCode or iTunes.

Disclaimer: While we can't stop you from installing a beta version of iOS, we strongly encourage the general public to stay away from betas. Unless you need access to the beta as a developer or an app tester, you should wait for the official version. Betas are typically buggy, apps crash, and things don't always work the way they should. That's why it's called a beta. iMore assumes no responsibility for any issues or data loss that could occur from installing a beta on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Provision your iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches

Before installing any beta software you'll need to make sure the UDID for each device you plan on using beta software on is on file with Apple in order for them to validate the install. You can do this directly through the Developer Portal.

If you're an app tester, this step will probably be done by the app developer. They will probably ask you for your UDID if they don't already have it on file.

  1. From your main Developer Portal screen you'll see a silver menu off to the right and the first option is iOS Provisioning Portal. Click on it.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click on Devices
  3. This is where you will add all your iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Tap on Upload Devices and enter the UDIDs and a short description such as the device type and owner's name. When you're done, save your list by hitting Submit.

You can now start installing beta versions of iOS on all the devices you've provisioned.

Download your iOS software

  1. Log in to the Apple Developer portal with your login and navigate to the iOS section.
  2. At the top toggle to the iOS 6 SDK beta section and click on Downloads
  3. Download the firmware files you need for the respective devices. Be sure to download the correct versions for your test iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

Install iOS 6 beta on your devices

You're now ready to start installing betas on your devices. To do this, you'll need to use the newest version of iTunes which is 10.6.3 or you can do this through the xCode 4.5 developer preview. I recommend that developers use the xCode method while app testers are probably okay using the iTunes method unless the developer would prefer you to use xCode to submit feedback.

iTunes method

This time around there is no beta version of iTunes needed. Just make sure you're running the current version of iTunes which is 10.6.3. You can download it from Apple's website.

  1. Open iTunes 10.6.3 after you've installed it and plug in the device you'd like to install iOS 6 beta to.
  2. Choose your device from the left navigation pane. You'll see a Restore button. Hold down Alt+option (or Ctrl for PC users) and click Restore.
  3. A file browser window will pop up. Navigate to the iOS 6 beta firmware file you would like to install onto your device.
  4. Navigate to iOS beta firmware to install via iTunes
  5. iTunes will now begin to update your device to iOS 6 beta. Let it do its thing and you're pretty much done.

Xcode method

  1. In XCode, under software version, you'll need to choose Other version
  2. Install iOS beta firmware via xCode
  3. Then xCode will ask you to navigate to the .ipsw file that you would like to install (the beta firmware file). I typically save them on my desktop or somewhere in a folder that I can easily find.
  4. Select it and click Restore iPhone
  5. A warning will pop up telling you all data will be erased. Agree and your device will be restored to the beta version. You can then restore from a backup in iTunes or from iCloud like you normally would.

Either update method will get you onto the beta. It's up to you to decide what method is most appropriate for your situation.

Additional resources:

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 31 comments. Add yours.

JustinHorn says:

You actually don't have to do the restore. You can the Alt+option (or Ctrl for PC users) and click update. Much faster! :)

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I've found this to cause a lot of glitches in the past. A clean restore is a much safer bet, especially when dealing with beta software. :)

Shawn Dorman says:

I completed agree. Anytime you're working with any different version of an OS, whether it be iOS, Windows, Mac, or anything in between, I always recommend a complete wipe (restore in this case). It's the only way to be 100% positive that everything is as it should be.
Great advice!

JustinHorn says:

I haven't had any issues so far with this method. Sometimes doing update isn't even an option for me, but I always try it first. But as you said, there is the possibility of some issues. I guess I just have the need for speed!

David P says:

I've installed on my iPad 2 without any problems, although I can't seem to find anywhere online at the moment if Siri is available in the 1st beta for iPad 2 or the new iPad? Thanks.

JustinHorn says:

It's only for the 3rd gen iPad.

David P says:

Disappointing :-( but thanks :-)

DC says:

From the iOS 6 Page
Siri will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad (3rd generation) and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.

DC says:

Thinking of taking the beta plunge again, things did not always go smoothly with the iOS 5 betas, so I'm a bit nervous. Can anyone confirm if a downgrade back to 5.1.1 is possible?
thanks

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Apple "says" you can't downgrade but technically you can. If you force the phone into DFU and edit some host files it's possible but it's pretty messy.

zeagus says:

Until they stop signing 5.1.1 you can downgrade anyway just by attaching to iTunes and clicking Restore (no Shift). This will send you back to the latest official/signed version. You have JailBreak on the brain, methinks, Ally :).

FishFF says:

Can anyone download Beta or do they have to be an app tester or ios developer?

SolublePeter says:

Developers only, and remember this is only beta- there WILL be problems that mean it is not ready for daily use.

iphone 4 says:

can ı set up ios 6 without udıd thing or anything lıke that..lıke download beta and using itunes restore

gcamp says:

It's not xCode nor XCode, it's Xcode.

Ally Kazmucha says:

That's what I had. In the article it's fine. Not sure why the title auto corrected

yautou says:

Can i jailbreak the iOS 6 beta? I really need to use Activator. Thx 4 ur reply.

ThisBrian says:

Heck yeah, but you better do it before Apple quits signing the iOS 6 beta. You can download the jailbreak at dontyouwish.com.
You shouldn't jailbreak if you don't know answers for that kind of question.

TechBaje says:

I tried it the Xcode way and it refused to activate my 4S, even though it was registered in the iOS Provisioning Portal. Luckily, I was able to restore 5.1.1. After restoring, I then used the method suggested by Justin Horn and that worked without a hitch. Phew!

epphllps says:

Yeah, the UPDATE method is what has been stated as working. Worked for me, as well.

Ian says:

Prepping to update to beta to do some testing. Has anyone seen significant glitches? I plan on doing it on my test phone but if it is still in too early of a stage I don't want to deal with it yet. Thanks

Pastor Bob says:

One thing of note in the instructions, you hold down the SHIFT key in windows itunes when clicking restore, not CTRL. Took me an hour and a half to figure out what I was doing wrong. Hopes this helps someone :)

Hunter says:

couple of corrections, on the pc it's ALT + Shift (Not control)
and second, its' not "tap on upload" it's "click on "add device"
Just fyi!

LCW says:

even just 'SHIFT' = clicking 'Restore' works on PC (Windows 7 Professional)
and to open up the .dmg file on a Win7 PC... you can use TransMac.

guy law says:

Where are the APN settings?

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Nikhil Nagaraj says:

I just registered myself as a Developer and added my 4th Gen iPod touch on the developer's portal (will not try my iphone 4 and iPad 3 for sometime). But the iOS6 IPSW is greyed out when I try either method. I re-downloaded the file from the developer's download page but still cant select it because it is greyed out. Any help or suggestions?

Ryan Moore says:

I have downloaded iOS beta 6 for my iPhone 4s and am a registered apple developer. However when i installed the beta on the iPhone using iTunes, something must have happened because my phone is now stuck in connect to iTunes mode. and i cannot get it out. I have tried everything. Any ideas.

Adam Bennetts says:

This also happened to me... (but in saying that, I did forget to register my UDID on the developer site) I had to put it in DFU mode (google it if you dont know what it is) and then download iOS 5.1.1 and then do another restore. It still allows you to downgrade back to 5.1.1... thank god!
Im about to attempt upgrade to iOS 6 number 2.... Fingers crossed!

Rrho3246 says:

I tried to download the beta 3 file on my desktop pc but the file is not the "Lego blocky" file picture. It ask me what program I want to open the file with wtf? Am I doing something wrong? I am registered through Apple as a developer.