How To Install iOS 6 Without A Developer Account

How To Install iOS 6 Without A Developer Account

Too impatient to wait for iOS 6’s public release? Install it now. Image courtesy of William Gamache ((sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)).

Itching to get your hands on the iOS 6 beta Apple released on Monday? Well, right now, it’s only available to registered developers. But according to some, there is a way you can install iOS 6 on your device. The process is incredibly simple, and all you need is the latest iTunes release and the iOS 6 .ipsw file for your device.

According to iPhone developers, you can install iOS 6 on an unregistered device as easily as you can on a registered one. Before we tell you how to do it, there’s some stuff we need to get out of the way. It’s boring, but important.

First, iOS 6, as you know, is still in beta, and a very early beta at that. That means that not everything works as it should, and that you can almost guarantee at least some of your favorite apps won’t function. Second, this firmware is intended for registered developers only. Although it can reportedly be installed on unregistered devices, there’s a very good chance you could be one of the unlucky ones who gets stuck with a device that won’t work.

Finally, we haven’t tested this so we cannot confirm anything. Those who have tested it have reported mixed results; while it works well for some, it doesn’t work for others.

We’ll tell you how it’s done so that you can test it yourself, but that decision is yours, and we won’t accept any responsibility for anything that goes wrong. If you do proceed, back up your device and ensure you also have the iOS 5.1.1 .ipsw in case it doesn’t work and you need to downgrade.

Okay, here goes:

  1. Download the iOS 6 beta file for your device. You can find this either by searching Google, or from the iPhone Developers site linked at the bottom of this page.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, upgrade to the latest version of iTunes (10.6.3), then open it up.
  3. Plug in your device and allow it to back up.
  4. Now hold down the option key on your Mac (that’s shift for Windows users), and click on the ‘Check for Update’ button. Do not click the ‘Restore’ button because it won’t work.
  5. Select the iOS 6 .ipsw file you just downloaded and allow it to install.

You should now be running the iOS 6 beta, and you can either setup your device as ‘new’, or restore your content from the backup you made earlier.

If the process fails and your device cannot be authorized, then restore your device back to iOS 5.1.1.

If you do attempt this, let us know how you get on in the comments.

  • jotajota91

    I restore it to 5.1.1 first to remove jailbreak, but ir WORKS!

  • Oleguer Txdr

    It works fine! I did this yesterday night and now I’m running iOS 6 and it is awesome :) Although it’s not as fast as iOS 5 was, but this might be because of it’s in beta…

    In fact, if you want your device jailbroken, you’d better not upgrade, but if you used to use legal tweaks, like do not disturb, facetime over 3g, and these, now they’re covered on iOS 6, and the other tweaks, like springtomize, fakecarrier, cyntact, etc… they’re not important things to have, in my opinion… So if you don’t want to download apps via Installous, I really recommend this upgrade :)
    One question tho, does anyone know why Safari doesn’t get a unified smart search field on iOS 6, like it will in Mountain Lion??
  • fabianumpierre

    And leave the backup from iOS 5.1.1 untouched. If you want downgrade later, you’ll need. (its impossible restore a backup from iOS 6 to 5.1.1)

  • bm28

    I did it on my iPhone 4 last night and it worked without a hitch, although it did take it’s time so don’t worry if it takes longer than normal.

  • Kaive Mustache

    Actually it is possible to downgrade to iOS 5 as long as you still have the ipsw from your update… Did this upgrading thing yesterday and got stuck during activation, just hold the power and home button until it restarts, when the apple logo showed up, release the home button. From there, plug it in into iTunes and everything else is self explanatory :)

  • Azul

    iOS6 update fails every time saying “The iPad … cannot be restored at this time because the iPad software update server could not be contacted or is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later”.

    Any ideas? Are apple servers too loaded? I did try using 8.8.8.8 as DNS server but didn’t work.
    TIA
  • FriarNurgle

    Know what I’m doing tonight.

  • joewaylo

    And leave the backup from iOS 5.1.1 untouched. If you want downgrade later, you’ll need. (its impossible restore a backup from iOS 6 to 5.1.1)

    It is possible. Hold Power and Home to reset, only hold Home, and plugin. Then the restore question will pop up. Hold Shift and click Restore to pull up the file selection and choose the 5.1.1.

  • Cass Mieczakowski

    Anyone have issues with Passbook? Seems to be stuck on a start screen.

  • GingertronMk1

    Perhaps a stupid question, but can you not hit ‘Restore’ in iTunes and do it that way? For if it goes wrong, that is.

  • saalokin

    not working..

  • ash1684

    I restored 5.1.1 jailbroken with option key and ios 6 select, ios 6 got installed but device gone in restore mode (the screen with iTunes logo). So i reinstalled as before IOS 6 in restore mode with restore button + option key and all gone ok.

    It’s 3 days that i’m on IOS 6 with no developer account.
  • Joe Mars

    I´m downloading the iOS6 IPSW from pirate bay for mi iPhone 4s, am I doing right? or Do I need to get the iPSW from somewhere else? thanks guys!

  • nathanl1192

    I´m downloading the iOS6 IPSW from pirate bay for mi iPhone 4s, am I doing right? or Do I need to get the iPSW from somewhere else? thanks guys!

    Should be fine, but I recommend imzdl.com

  • saalokin

    IT DOES NOT WORK

  • Karolis Makrickas

    The process will always fail and your device cannot be authorized if you don’t have developers accounts. So why to name article “Install iOS without A Developer Account”? OK, you can install, but it wont work and you always get the message – asking you to authorize :)


    Even more – Apple updated authorization process, so you not only have to add your phone as developer device, you will also need to install xcode and add phone as developer device there as well 
  • joshakjohn

    Works great and easy and simple to do. Did it to my iPod last night but just restored back to iOS 5.1 because it is quite buggy.

    If you want to restore to iOS 5.1 just do this:
    1.Make sure iPod, iPad, or iPhone is completely powered off.
    2.Hold the home button while its off.
    3.While holding the Home button, connect the cable. The iPod, iPad, or iPhone should power on.
    4.Keep holding the Home button.
    5.The Connect to iTunes image should come up.
    6. Congrats, you in recovery mode.

    If that fails you may want to try DFU mode 

    1. Connect your iPod, iPad or iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.
    2. Switch off your device.
    3. Hold the Sleep/Wake button and Home button.
    4. After 10 seconds release the Sleep/Wake button.
    5. You should have a device installation thingy popup installing your device with “DFU” at the end.
    6. Follow the instructions on iTunes.

    This will work as Apple is still signing iOS 5.1
  • SparxSLX

    it no longer seems to be working just tried with my iphone 4 and it asked for me to authorize my device as a developer. No big deal I just restored back to 5.1.1

  • Bob Kueppers

    Last year I had the beta of iOS 5 and each time the beta expired, it bricked my phone until I was able to download and install the latest beta. Once it just randomly did it when I was at a bar and it freaked me out. People doing this nondeveloper method should be warned that their phone may get bricked and have to wait till someone makes the latest beta avilable. 

  • haineux

    Note: What you will be installing is UNFINISHED WORK, which contains BUGS which will sometimes make it hard for you to use your phone.

    YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE OR RECEIVE PHONE CALLS.
    You could also end up with your phone in a very screwed up state, and not be able to make it work again. If you do so, you might not be able to get help fixing it.
    Many legitimate developers DO NOT INSTALL the beta software on their primary phone, because they know that if, for instance, they are in an emergency, and the phone won’t CALL, it would be a BAD THING.
    Just so you know. 
  • Luis Faria

    Worked for me on my iPad2.

  • baby_Twitty

    Works for me. Typing on my new iPad now, running ios6 without registered UDID

  • mehjohnny7

    I got until like the very end, when all the loading bars were filled and my iphone had just the apple logo itunes said “this iPhone cannot be updated… error code (-1)” i kind of expected this, as i had similar situation with attempting to install the ios 5 beta back in 2011.

  • joshleyva

    Will I be able to get all of the future betas?

  • joshakjohn

    Works fine on both iPad 2 and iPod

    http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1801/photocy.png

    No problems even though im not a registered developer. 

  • ricardogaspar

    It’s working fine….thanks

  • elgaupo42

    Yes! It worked! This is awesome. I have never seen an article like this on COM before. Do you they will publish each beta release as well?

  • Cliff Soh

    It works!

    But some error with the photos restored from backup, some photos turns totally black.
    So I decided to reset and erase all the contents & setting, after that it can’t successfully get activate due to device did not registered under developer account.
    If you’re worry you will get stuck between any stage of iOS6 beta, better wait for the official launch of iOS6.
  • Lucas Phillips

    IMPORTANT: If you have ever downgraded iOS with Saurik’s server, you need to change the hosts file IP back to Apple’s server. If you leave it as saurik’s server, it will not work. If you don’t downgrade (or don’t jailbreak, for that matter), you can ignore this.

  • ChicagoNava

    Works like a charm thus far. Only 30 minutes in and all is smooth. Still exploring go course, but its much faster than iOS5.

    I have a 16 gig iPhone 4 for AT&T btw.
  • C0nnectIndia

    I wish IOS6 had flash on it. My Government Job website doesnt load well with out flash. Need to work on the site i guess.

  • Matt Altepeter

    Won’t work for me..I keep getting “Device is not eligible for the requested build” error..

  • TheRealJTRay

    You can indeed install iOS 6 Beta on your iPhone.  From firsthand knowledge if you erase and attempt to reinstall after that, the iPhone will not register without a UDID and you have to put it in DFU mode and reinstall via iTunes. 

    Running iOS 6 Beta on a 3GS is a bit sluggish and many of the nicer features are not available.  I am not sure if the sluggish response is a result of the 3GS not having enough horsepower or if it is the beta software.  

    My favorite parts of iOS 6 Beta at the moment are the Alarm App’s ability to use a song from iTunes as the wake up sound.  I also love the iTunes Match Streaming.  Not having to load my music on my iPhone any longer frees up so much room.  Also the Alarm App can use a song from iTunes Match to wake you.  It doesn’t need require a local file of the song. 

  • guywrites

    Hey, I’m not sure if this is totally wise to do since Apple can remotely brick your phone if your UDID is not properly registered with them. If you want to go the legit route, i’m a developer with some? slots open. Hit me up at (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

  • joshleyva

    worked for me, thanks guys! 16GB iPhone 4S Verizon 

  • Jonathan Mello

    Had to restore it first but it works great

  • davidrainsbergerii

    So lets just say for instance i am one of those unlucky people of which whom it says that i need to be a registered developer and then stops everything. what should i do exactly? i tried restoring and it said the device is not eligible.

  • joewaylo

    I wish IOS6 had flash on it. My Government Job website doesnt load well with out flash. Need to work on the site i guess.

    Go HTML 5. Flash has too many bugs in it and can open your system to trojan attacks.

  • joewaylo

    Error -1 like the other user posted.

  • thehighesttimes

    I got it to work on my 16GB 4S after doing a clean install of 5.1.1, setting up as new and straight away restoring it with the iOS 6 .ipsw

    Works fine now and I like it, just it drains my fucking battery twice as fast as 5.1.1
  • ApplePr0n

    It works yes, but I’d be hesitant to do this because I HIGHLY doubt that beta 2 will allow this to continue

  • sjoerdly

    It works on my 3GS even. Noticing that this keeps my 3GS as slow as it was using 5.1.1 but it is still usable. 

  • sjoerdly

    Anyone have issues with Passbook? Seems to be stuck on a start screen.

    It’s stuck on my 3GS as well. maybe its not working on older phones or not finished yet?

  • Andreas Nielsen

    I have an iPhone4S 16GB and this does NOT work for me! It said something about “this device is not alligble for this build” or something! It also said I had to register as a developer at Apple.com.

    Wonder how some people succeed in this and others don’t. The devices are the exact same and the procedure is the same but the outcome is different?

    However I’m rolling back to iOS 5.1.1 and waiting for a hopefully safe guide to install iOS 6 or even for the official release.

    I personally wont recommend anybody doing this without a backup because it seems there’s a huge chance that you’ll need it!

  • Iwright1627

    Where is the link? I want it on my New Ipad wifi only..

  • Iwright1627

    Nevermind i got an error 404…any other sites?

  • gltch486

    Just tried this today. Didn’t work. Both my iPhone 4 and iTunes said I couldn’t use it because I didn’t have a dev account. My phone was “bricked” until I put it back in DFU mode and told it to install iOS 5.1.1, which is now installing once again.

    Best of luck to those that can get it to work.

  • druggelino

    So if you make a backup when on iOS 5.1.1, then install iOS 6 and restore the backup, Will you go back to iOS 5.1.1?

  • druggelino

    wtf i follwed every single step and it still says im not registred as part of the developer program fuck this

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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