By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 13, 2013 03:13 PM EDT
Apple's newly unveiled iOS 7 brings the first design overhaul to the company's mobile platform and now the first beta version is available for download.
As expected, iOS 7 is currently available only as a beta so developers can play with it for most of the summer and have their apps ready for the full release of the mobile OS later in the year, along with a new iPhone.
Developers, however, are not the only ones who can get their hands on the new iOS 7. Apple also has thousands of non-developer fans who pay $99 a year for an iOS developer account just to get early access to the company's mobile software. And, here's how you can also get your hands on the pre-release beta version of iOS 7.
Before getting started on the iOS 7 beta race, interested users should check a few things on the prerequisites list. First of all, the aforementioned iOS developer account is a must. Such accounts cost $99 per year and are available through Apple's website here.
Once you've got the developer account settled, you'll need a development device for iOS 7. It is advisable to use a device for this purpose only, therefore trying the beta on your personal handset is not recommended. Beta versions of new operating systems can often be buggy, unstable and crash. So, if you use your personal device, proceed at your own risk. The new iOS 7 currently supports the iPhone 5 (CDMA, GSM and global GSM), iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 (GSM, GSM Rev A and CDMA) and fifth-generation iPod Touch.
Next, you will need your device's identifier so you know which version of iOS 7 beta to download. A Verizon iPhone has the A1429 identifier, for instance, while an AT&T iPhone has A1428. Your device's Unique Identifier (UDID) is also necessary, which in turn is required for registering your developer device in the iOS development center. Users cannot complete the iOS 7 beta installation unless they authenticate the device in question.
Lastly, you might want to backup your device on iTunes just in case the handset crashes and loses all your data. If this occurs and you have to start all over, having a backup on iTunes will come in handy.
Note that once you install iOS 7 it will be quite tricky to downgrade, so think twice if you really want to go through with this. Issues may also arise when activating the device after installing iOS 7 beta.
Requirements for iOS 7 Beta
Before downloading the .dmg file of iOS 7, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes and upgrade your Mac to Mac OS X Mountain Lion version 10.8.3 if you're not already on it. You will need this version later for the Xcode Developer Preview. The latest step in the preparation process is to make sure you have a full battery so the OS download goes smoothly. Ready? Let's proceed.
How to Download and Install iOS 7 Beta
Get your Mac and head to the iOS Development Center, then download the appropriate version of the iOS 7 beta. Once you open the .dmg file, you should find the .ipsw file. It's quite hard to miss it, considering that it's the only one in the download file of iOS 7. Connect your developer device to the computer, fire up iTunes and click on the iPhone button in iTunes. If you didn't backup your phone to iTunes already, do so now. Next, press the Option button in iTunes and select the iOS 7 beta .ipsw file from the window that pops up. Downloading this file should take roughly 10 minutes. Select the .ipsw file you downloaded and complete the installation. You can then restore from backup.
Once the download is complete, you have the new iOS 7 beta. The process is rather slow and generally buggy, not to mention that it may drain your battery a bit faster than usual. You will, however, have the very latest version of iOS 7. Let us know how it goes.
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