What's My User Agent?

How to aquire and install iOS7 on your iPhone, Now!

By Bruce Horst

After watching the keynote presentations at this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference today, I decided that I needed to get home as quickly as possible to download and install iOS 7 beta on my iPhone 5. As a self-taught app developer, I spend my days trying to keep up with the latest user interface design trends. I'm not much of a graphics guy, but this whole new move away from skeuomorphism has been fascinating to me. Parallax iOS 7 screen It seems that for the first time in my memory, Apple is following Microsoft's lead. Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system uses a user interface often called 'Metro' which is anti-skeuomorphic. In other words, Windows is using plain graphics with no gradients, textures or shadowing to clue end-users into which parts of their interface do what. Could it finally be that Microsoft has flipped the apple cart and taken the lead in user-interface design?

Year's ago I made the switch from Windows to OS/X because I wanted to become an iPhone app developer. I've created a few apps, but the process took so long that each time I had an app ready for market, it was too outdated and needed to be redone. I've enjoyed the process, though, and because of this I registered as an Apple Developer and thus was entitled to the early download of iOS 7 beta.

If you are interested in becoming an Apple Developer, the process is straightforward and can be done here: https://developer.apple.com/register/index.action. The cost is $99 per years, but there are many benefits that make this worthwhile, not the least of which is being able to download software that all your friends can only drool over. These are the first two requirements for obtaining and installing iOS 7 beta:

1. Own an Intel powered Mac (iMac, power PC, or MacBook).
2. Registered as an Apple Developer.

After you log into the Apple Developer portal at https://developer.apple.com and sign into your developer account, you'll need to find the exact model of your iPhone. This can be trickier than you think because for each iPhone that can accept iOS 7, there are different models for the various carriers. For example, my iPhone 5 is a A1429 because it is a CDMA model sold by Verizon. To find the model number, you normally only need to look on the back of the phone, but because my eyes aren't good enough to make out the tiny print, I had to use my wife's phone to take a picture of it! You can find specific instructions from Apple for finding your exact model number at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3939

I later remembered that you can open iTunes with your phone connected, and click iPhone to get your exact model number as well. I should have done that first. You'll need to download and install XCode, and use it to provision your iPhone as a development device.

3. Provision your iPhone as a development device.

Now you should download the appropriate version of iOS 7 beta from the Apple Developers site.

.dmg file 4. Download the iOS dmg package.

Next you'll need the latest version of OS/X installed on your Mac (10.8.4) and the latest version of iTunes (). The installation will not work without the latest versions of both of these.

OS/X 10.8.4 5. OS/X version 10.8.4
iTunes 11.0.4 6. iTunes 11.0.4

You'll need to connect your iPhone and back it up using iTunes. You need to carefully consider if you want to continue at this point because once you install iOS 7 there's no way to easily go back to previous versions. iOS 7 beta is not ready for normal public use, it does have bugs and incomplete software, and it sure drains the battery a heck of a lot faster than iOS 6 did. If you continue, you are doing so at your own risk.

ipsw file

The iOS 7 file that you downloaded will be a .dmg file. Click it to find the .ipsw file. The easiest way to proceed is to copy that file ad put it somewhere convenient temporarily, such as your desktop.

7. Unpack file.

With your iPhone connected, and the iPhone panel open in iTunes, click 'Restore from Backup while holding the option key. This will allow you to select the backup to restore from, so select the . file from the download.

Within a few minutes iOS 7 should be completely installed on your iPhone.

restore iPhone to iOS 7! 8. Install by holding the Option key and clicking 'Restore'.

Everything went smoothly for me, and my phone rebooted showing that now famous parallax home screen. After a few hours of playing around with it, I found the maps to be the most impressive, and the design could not be mistaken for something that Microsoft has come up with. What a relief!