UPDATED: Is there a difference between iOS 4 GM seed and final release?

UPDATED: Well, Game Center is gone in the release version,

We keep getting asked if there will be a difference between the iOS 4 GM (gold master) seed released to developers at WWDC 2010 and the final GA (general availability) version that'll be released to end users sometime today.

Maybe. Other than the former being intended for developers and the latter for end-users, we don't know though we guess they'll be fairly close (so apps developed under the GM don't run into problems under the GA). Apple could have found and patched a few trivial bugs, removed debug code, or made a few non-app impacting tweaks. The GM seed may also be read differently in iTunes and not prompt for future updates (i.e. 4.0.1, 4.1, etc.) the way the final release will. Or they could be binary identical.

Until Apple releases it and elite code scourers do their thing, there's just no way to know.

(And if you don't know what anything in this post means -- we envy you. You shouldn't have to).

Now relax, grab a spicy drink and some popcorn, and resume the great waiting game...

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

UPDATED: Is there a difference between iOS 4 GM seed and final release?


My guess is security features. It was too easy to jailbreak the betas.
Apple doesn't roll BACK security, they ramp UP

I don't get how people didn't see on the big screen at WWDC where it said Gold Master CANDIDATE. It's basically the same as Microsoft releasing a Windows release candidate. The WWDC version is most likely 99% final. The only way to tell is compare the release build versus the Candidate build, which is 8A293. I am betting it is the final build, but there are some bugs I have found. Nothing earth shattering, just more of an annoyance.

I have the 2 gen itouch. I'm still happy. I'm getting the 3 gen itiuch for my bday in October.

@Tyler why you asking about iPod touch g4 if your buying g3. This post is about iOS 4 anyway. I want update now!

Currently running the IOS4 GM on my 3GS.. won't bother updating, will just wait till my iPhone 4 arrives.. :-)

I wouldn't know. I have a 3rd gen 8 gig. So no update for me. I would have gotten it if I spent more money on the 32gig or bought a touch from 2008. Way to go Apple, 3rd gen update my ass, I don't know why I bother. I should just use my 8 gig until it dies in 2015 with the exact same software that it was installed with. >:o(

I have been on the GM for a few days. Clicked the "check for updates" button this morning and got "you have the most up to date version of the os, 4."

I sold my 3gs for the funds for the iphone 4. I'm currently using a motorolla razar that only takes incoming calls due to it broken. These next 3 days are going to be the longest days in my life....

I've heard that by 1:30 EST it should be out. It might be rolling out in zones so that the apple servers don't explode (again).

Last year the GM version they released was the exact same as the one released to the public.
I hope they do the same today.

If iPhone 4 is preloaded with iOS4, then how can today's iOS4 releases be different than what was shipped yesterday on iPhone 4.

MD5 is a wonderful thing. For GMCandidate =7d06751c5a67140748ce80ea1b00c887, for GA = ??

well, there are already a few bugs that hope are fixed soon....
1. going back to a black wallpaper seems impossible
2. orientation lock in landscape mode needs to be addressed...

@johnnyreb Because apple has the software before us, they had it finished and preloaded it. We have to wait for this version, they don't.

All I know is I sure hope they're different. I get quite a few bugs on my iTouch 2G running the GM. Including that for some reason Maps thinks I'm in denmark when I'm really in the Eastern US.

The GM still has a bunch of problems, one big one is when switching countries in the app store.
iBooks will be available as a download from the app store!
Apple already has a new version for one week, so what they ship on devices is already different from what we have on our developer iPhone's

@ Rob. Thanks didn't know that. New to this whole Apple thing technology thing. Had a shuffle for the longest time. So? Why does it tell me I have no updates?

@Johnnyreb - It's probably because today's release has been ready for week. Was the same with last year. General public release came out on the 17th and the new phone came out on the 19th. Most of the people who actually test the GM Seed notice and find bugs right away and report it so it can be fixed as soon as possible in order for all the new devices to get the software loaded and it to be shipped out.

@Tansen I'm pretty sure that's what they did last year for 3.0 (rolled it out in zones). I'd agree entirely with your post.

I can't update my phone till an IOS4 unlock. I'm 3.1.3 with 5.11.07. I'm buying iPhone 4 but with the money from selling 3gs, the person I'm selling to is on tmobile :( y'all have fun with ur new OS. I'll be waiting.

@Jack. While not an ideal fix, just take a picture with the iPhone camera of your finger covering the lens 100%. It will be all black. Just save that pic. I don't think it should have to be that way, but it works nonetheless.

For people complaining about the iOS not working on their old ass devices. Simple. Upgrade. You can't sit around with old tech hardware and expect to be given the same software updates that require more powerful hardware to support. Spend a dollar. Tech changes so quickley, you have to be ontop of it or shut up. You're using old ass tech and you think you deserve the same treatment as people who spend money to upgrade hardware? C'mon. Not only are you cheap, technologically retarded, but also have some kind of entitlement issues.

To everyone,
We all just gotta be patience and wait to see any changes in the final release of iOS 4. "Time will only tell."

GM = Gold Master, the pre-released version of the Operating System that is most likely 99% finished and ready for developers to start writing code for. It was released and alot of people like me have had it for at least a few weeks if not longer. I guess I will plan on downgrading back to 3.1.3 and then using iTunes to let it do the upgrade tonight after work. I have noticed iOs 4.0 running slow and sluggish on my iPhon 3G, causing games like Hector, We Rule, GodFinger and more to crash more than 5 times a day.

Looks like the final seed is exactly the same as the GM - or am I wrong? I ran the checkscript publish elsewhere on this site and the version on apple's servers seems to be iPhone1,24.08A293_Restore which is the same as the GM.

I hope that is the case!!!!! Anyone... does today's version show up as 4.0 or something different after installed?

The 8A293 in the filename indicates that it should be the same. Someone should compare file size and/or MD5 hashes.

iPod Touch 3G iOS 4.0 GM and GA IPSW comparison:
iPod3,14.08A293_Restore.ipsw (GM) = a7099e9e0ff4df7721f130ac387534a6 : 373,853,032 bytes
iPod3,14.08A293_Restore.ipsw (GA) = 6b9d65c9f63792968bad57e44a73434f : 384,178,784 bytes
There is indeed a significant difference in MD5 and size between the versions.

Did you not read my above comment? The build number is the same, but the actual contents are very different.

@frigid can you dummify your post. Numbers don't mean much to us. We just want to know what specifically is different. Gliches fixed, features that may have changed. English... English ....

this might just be my eye, but when you open up the multitasking bar, the background of the UI looks a shade or two darker than the previous BETA releases.

The filenames are identical, the final release is larger in size, about 11MB larger. The MD5 fingerprints are very different, so there has to be some significant change.
I don't know any of the specifics beyond that.
To dumb it down more: Stuff changed, I don't know what.