Whenever Apple announces a new iPhone they usually pair it along side a new major release of iOS and this year is no different. With the announcement of the iPhone 5 comes iOS 6. iOS 6 has been in beta for a while now and those with an Apple Developers Account have already had access to it in order to test their apps to make sure they are compatible with all of the new tweaks, but what about those of us without a Developers account? What about all of us that just want to play around with the new version of the operating system? Well, unfortunately if you can’t get your device UDID registered with a Developers Account, you can’t download and install any of the beta versions, however, as of yesterday the Gold Master (GM) release of iOS 6 was made available to developers and this one you can install. The GM release, in theory, is the final release of the operating system and is the same version that will be installing over-the-air on all iOS devices on September 19th. This means that there are no UDID Developer account restrictions like the previous betas. However, you still have to be a developer in order to download it… from Apple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find it elsewhere.
This tutorial will go step-by-step and show you how you can install iOS 6 on any compatible device right now without having to wait until September 19th. It will work perfectly fine and no, you will not have to update again on the 19th. This will be the exact same version that will be released then, so you won’t be notified that there is an update and you won’t have to do anything… There are no cons to doing this now.
iOS 6 IPSW GM File – There are specific firmware files for each device so make sure you grab the correct one. There are also different files for the network you’re on (if you have an iPhone 4); the CDMA file will work for Verizon and Sprint, the GSM file will work for AT&T. So if you have an iPhone 4 on AT&T (like me), then make sure you download the firmware specifically for the iPhone 4 (GSM) or it won’t work. I’m not going to post links to the firmware files here, but this site seems to have a decent list going.
How To Install iOS 6 On Your Device Before September 19th
Now that you’ve found a compatible firmware version, here are the steps you need to take:
- Make sure the firmware file you’ve downloaded (from here) is a .ipsw file, meaning if it’s a .zip file, unzip it, if it’s a .dmg file, open it up. The file needs to be .ipsw.
- Download iTunes 10.7 from Apple. (Requires OSX 10.6.8 or Later)
- Plug-in your iPhone and Backup Your Phone & Pictures
- Backup Your Phone & Pictures (don’t forget to back up… seriously)
- In iTunes – On a Mac hold Option and Click Restore (see screenshot below). On PC hold Shift and Click Restore.
- A window will pop up, find that .ipsw file for iOS 6
- The phone will go through and load iOS 6, once it’s done you can restore your phone from a backup (from the computer or from iCloud).
That’s it! It’s pretty simple actually and pretty hard to mess up. So if you’re eager to give all the latest features a try, but don’t want to wait until September 19th, then feel free to give this a shot. If you have questions you can leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer them.