Formally introduced at WWDC, iOS 8 beta was made available to developers immediately following the keynote. It joins Mac OS X Yosemite as two exciting new beta software releases that will transform your desktop and mobile computing experience. Mac OS X Yosemite will be available as a public beta, but what if you want to test drive iOS 8. Apple does not offer a public beta, nor will they anytime soon. You should know that beta software is still very raw, sometimes buggy and can result in an iOS device that isn’t very stable. It can also wreak havoc with third party apps. Remember, the developers attending WWDC have yet to install iOS 8 themselves, let alone do any extensive testing. If you are still brave enough to want to dive into the beta pool, you do have options. Here’s how to download and install iOS 8 beta. Oh by the way, this is completely legal and doesn’t involve sketchy unauthorized sites. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to sign up for a developer account at a cost of $99 per year. This will enable access to iOS 8 beta releases for all of your devices, provided you have less than 100 in your home.
Back-up Your Device
First things first. You’ll want to do a complete back up of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can backup your iPhone using either iCloud or iTunes. Given your interest in installing bleeding edge beta software, I’m going to assume you’re comfortable with the process of backing up your iPhone.
Sign Up For A Developer Account
Next up, you’ll need to login to the Apple Developer portal using your iCloud account. Apple lets you login and browse around, but full access requires you add an account. Select the Programs & Add-ons tab. You’ll see a Program Summary and one option is for the iOS Developer Program. Select ‘Join Today’. From here, you will have the option to ‘Enroll Now‘ at $99/year. It may seem steep, but think of how cool you’ll be at all the backyard BBQs this summer. Of course, you aren’t supposed to share any information about iOS 8 due the NDA you’ll sign. We haven’t seen Apple swat teams converge on any BBQs as of yet.
Download iOS 8
With a developer account under your belt, you are almost ready to download and install iOS 8. From your developer homepage, select Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles. This is where you manage your certificates, App IDs, devices, and provisioning profiles. You need to add device UDIDs for any iOS devices which are going to install iOS 8 from your developer account. You can retrieve your UDID using any number of free UDID apps from the App Store. Select the Devices tab in the left hand column. Here is where you add devices. Select the ‘+’ at the top right. Here you will enter a descriptive name for the device and the UDID number for that device. For example, Lex Luthor’s iPhone 5s and his respective UDID code. Once completed, you can proceed to download iOS 8.
Select iOS from the Dev Center. By default, you should be on the iOS 7 SDK. Select iOS 8 beta. Scroll down and you’ll have a list of supported devices. Select the download for your specific iOS device.
- iPad Air (Model A1474)
- iPad Air (Model A1475)
- iPad Air (Model A1476)
- iPad mini (Model A1489)
- iPad mini (Model A1490)
- iPad mini (Model A1491)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1458)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1459)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1460)
- iPad mini (Model A1432)
- iPad mini (Model A1454)
- iPad mini (Model A1455)
- iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation)
- iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for ATT)
- iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for Verizon)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)
- iPhone 5s (Model A1453, A1533)
- iPhone 5s (Model A1457, A1518, A1528, A1530)
- iPhone 5c (Model A1456, A1532)
- iPhone 5c (Model A1507, A1516, A1526, A1529)
- iPhone 5 (Model A1428)
- iPhone 5 (Model A1429)
- iPhone 4s
- iPod touch (5th generation)
Install iOS 8
Your download will be an .ipsw file. Connect your iOS device to your computer. Again, remember to backup before you move forward with the installation of iOS 8. Hold the option key and select ‘Update’. You’ll then have to show iTunes your iOS 8 .ipsw file. You should receive a message that ‘iTunes will update your iPhone to iOS 8.0 and will verify the update with Apple. This part is why it is vital that you sign up for a developer account. Your UDID is now registered with Apple, so it checks to be sure your have a valid developer account. You can expect the update to follow standard update procedure. It will verify the update with Apple and begin installing on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be enjoying iOS 8 on your iOS device.
As a reminder, this software is intended solely for developers. By signing up for a developer account, you agree to abide by the rules set forth by Apple. There is also the unwritten rules of running beta software. You don’t get to complain about how buggy the software is or how a feature might not work as intended. Also, you agree to never call out developers whose apps don’t work properly in iOS 8. That includes, but is not limited to leaving poor reviews in the App Store. Don’t do it. Follow those rules and you can safely join the cool kids club.
Have fun with iOS 8. To discuss this exciting new release, please stop by and take part in our iOS 8 forums.