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Here is a tip for developers on how to install a beta for iOS using XCode or iTunes. One of the coolest things about being an iOS developer is being able to check out new versions of iOS before they're publicly released. With WWDC 2011 upon us, we should see a beta of iOS 5 soon. If you're a new developer, or you're testing for a current developer, you'll want to make sure you install beta firmware correctly. If you don't, this can lead to problems when upgrading to official or later versions of iOS.

As a forewarning, betas are only intended for developers and testers. Don't expect a beta to be flawless, expect the opposite. I also recommend installing betas on a test device when you can in case something goes wrong.

So if you're new to this process, hit the jump for a walkthrough of how to provision your device and install a beta version of iOS. And obviously, betas are Mac only.

Download the SDK, XCode, iTunes beta, and iOS firmware

  1. Log in to your developer account on Apple's Developer Site.
  2. Next you'll need to go into the dev center for iOS.

  3. Under downloads, you'll see a link for the SDK, iTunes, and beta firmware IPSWs.
  4. Download everything you need and then move on to the next step. (Note: If you're installing via iTunes beta, you don't "have" to install the SDK if you don't want to.

Provision your device's UDID within the the Apple Developer Portal

There's a couple ways to add your UDID to the provisioning portal. The easiest is with XCode (which is what you should be using anytime you are installing beta firmware).

  1. Simply open XCode with your device plugged in. It should bring up your device in the side bar. Right click and choose to add it to the provisioning portal. XCode should ask for your developer login.

  2. Alternately, you can also log into the developer portal and add a UDID via the provisioning portal as well. The XCode option is just a lot easier as it does it for you. You can pull your UDID from XCode or from iTunes (simply click your serial number until it changes to the longer 40 digit number, that is your UDID and what you need to enter into the provisioning portal.

As a side note, if XCode does not load the Organizer window, simply go to Window, Organizer and you should then see your device.

Install the beta version of iOS via XCode

If you're installing via a beta version of iTunes, skip this section and jump down to the iTunes install instructions below.

Once you've provisioned your device with the developer portal and downloaded the newest beta of iOS, you're ready to install it via XCode. It is always a good idea to back up your iPhone and restore it clean before installing a beta as well. Not required but I recommend it. If you are jailbroken, it is especially a good idea to restore stock before attempting this.

  1. In XCode, under software version, you'll need to choose Other version...
  2. Then you will need to navigate to the .ipsw file that you earlier downloaded (the beta firmware file). I typically save them on my desktop or somewhere in a folder that I can easily find.
  3. Select it and click Restore iPhone
  4. 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 like normal.

Install using a beta version of iTunes

If you've already installed using XCode, no need to go any further, you're done!

Almost all betas will need to be installed using a beta version of iTunes. In the case of iOS 5, you'll need iTunes beta 10.5.



  • Open iTunes and click on your device. (Always back up before installing ANY new firmware, beta or not.)
  • Under the main Summary tab, you'll see the normal restore button. Simply hold down the alt+option key on your keyboard and click restore.
  • A window will pop up that will let you navigate to the saved beta firmware. Simply select it and click Open.
  • Let iTunes do it's thing. Once it's done, it will prompt you to Set up as new iPhone or Restore from a backup. You'll probably want to restore from your backup. But you can choose which one you'd prefer.
  • Let your stuff sync back over and you're done!
  • And again, I can't say this enough times - beta software is just that, beta. It is meant for developers and testers only. Please do not attempt to install beta firmware without a developer license or permission. And I strongly urge developers to not "sell" UDID spots under their account to people who just want early access to the beta. The purpose is for Apple to get legitimate feedback from developers before a final release. If you do not intend on submitting crash logs and bug reports, please wait for an official release.