When Apple unveiled iOS 6 during Monday’s WWDC 2012 keynote, there were many oohs and aahs over the new features. The latest version of Apple’s operating system brings a staggering 200 new features, including Facebook integration, new security and privacy settings, a Do Not Disturb feature, tweaks to numerous stock Apple apps, a major overhaul to the Maps app (complete with turn-by-turn navigation), significant updates to Siri, and much more.
Unfortunately for most of us, though, only iOS developers have been able to get their hands on the beta version of iOS 6. The rest of us have been relegated to admiring the new goodies from afar in the form of leaked screenshots or video walkthroughs. Except maybe there’s a way for the rest of us to get the iOS 6 beta after all.
It seems that glitch in iOS 6 beta 1 allows it to be installed without a registered UDID (i.e., without an Apple developer account). While you can probably expect this to be fixed in the next beta version, for the moment you can install iOS 6 on your iPhone even if you’re not a developer. You can find instructions on how to do so here. The process is actually fairly simple, though it requires you to set up your device as new, rather than restoring from a backup.
Before you get started, you have to have the latest version of iTunes (iTunes 10.6.3), you have to be running iOS 5.1.1 on your device, and you have to have acquired the iOS 6 beta file, which can be downloaded in a number of places (including here). Once you’ve got all that, you simply plug in your iOS device and hold down the Alt key (on a Mac; hold down shift on a Windows PC), and click “Restore.” Again, make sure you restore as a new device. Once that’s done, hold down the shift key and the left arrow, then click “Check for Updates.” That allows you to choose the update source, in this case the .ipsw file for iOS 6 beta.
Now, there are a few points about this that need to be stressed. First, I haven’t actually tried this myself, and so cannot vouch for how well it works – or whether it works at all. Second, if you do this, save your old backup along with the .ipsw file for iOS 5.1.1. That way if you encounter a problem, you can always get your phone back to where it was before you started. Third, it’s worth stressing that this is a beta version of iOS 6. What’s more, it’s the first beta version. While Google has tried its best to teach us that “beta” means “pretty much ready for the public,” that’s not what it really means at all. From everything I’ve been hearing, the iOS 6 beta is pretty rough.
In other words, if all you want is to get your hands on iOS 6 early, you should probably skip this. If you’re a little more technically savvy and you want to be able to poke around in iOS 6, then this may be a good way to do it (but again, I haven’t tested it, so I can’t confirm). At any rate, you can bet that if Apple finds out this is possible, iOS 6 beta 2 will be locked down a little tighter, making it impossible to install without a developer ID.