MacRumors reports that iOS 8 Beta 2 is out. The first iOS 8 Beta was released on June 2. The Beta 2 version of iOS 8 offers tons of fun features, including the hotly anticipated QuickType keyboard, the ability to see battery usage by app, and new “Raise to Listen” message functionality.
Unlike OS X Yosemite, there is no public beta program for iOS 8. Want to get your hands on iOS 8 right now, without waiting for the official release later this year? Follow the steps below to score iOS 8 before the rest of the crowd.
1. Determine Whether You Actually Want iOS 8 Beta
Okay, you’re reading this article, so it’s safe to assume that you do really want to install iOS 8 Beta 2. That being said, you should know what you are getting yourself into.
Just because something is the newest version doesn’t make it the best. Some features in the iOS 8 Beta 2 version that may not appeal to all users include a non-deletable version of the Podcasts app, as well as a new iCloud Photos feature that will replace your existing Photo Stream settings.
Additionally, not all iOS 8 Beta 2 features will work on your iOS device. For example, the QuickType keyboard won’t work if you’re rocking an iPad 2, and some users add that the feature doesn’t work for users of the Split keyboard. BGR has a list of known iOS 8 issues that may frustrate those who are trying to use iOS 8 Beta to test and build apps.
Cult of Mac has a full rundown of what’s new in Beta 2, so give it a thorough read before committing to an upgrade.
2. Create a Backup of Your iOS Device
As we’ve warned you in past articles about downloading Beta builds of iOS, installing an iOS 8 Beta build comes with some amount of risk. You could damage or brick your device.
Even public-ready versions of iOS can have unexpected issues: just take the recent case of iOS 7.1.1, which caused data loss for some unlucky users. Just to be safe, you should create both a fresh iCloud backup, as well as a manual backup. Make sure to remember your password if you are creating an encrypted backup.
3. Choose Your Path: Legit iOS 8 Download or Sneaky iOS 8 Download
Here’s where things get tricky. The legit, legal, totally Kosher way to get iOS 8 Beta builds is to join Apple’s iOS developer program. Membership costs $99/year, and enrollment can take up to 24 hours to be activated. Once activated, simply log in at this Apple webpage to get started with iOS 8 Betas. Apple will walk you through the process in detail as you go along.
If you don’t have that kind of cash, there are torrent sites that can provide you with the files you’ll need to install iOS 8 Beta 2. Do note that tormenting is illegal is many jurisdictions, and torrent sites can also infect your computer or device with malware. Download illegally obtained iOS 8 Beta data at your own risk.
This can’t be stressed enough: CAREFUL RESEARCH is key to obtaining these programs. Occasionally, this software can be laced with harmful malware that can permanently damage your phone. Downloading the incorrect IPSW file is a possibility too. If you have a friend or family member who is experienced with torrent sites or installing iOS Beta builds, ask them for their advice. You can also search YouTube for videos that can provide more information or links.
4. Download the Correct ISPW File & Install It
Once you have found a reliable IPSW file, all that remains is the install process. Prior to installation, the International Business Times recommends taking a few steps:
“Before downloading the iOS 8 beta, iPhone users should make sure their version of iTunes has been updated to the latest version, then back up their devices. To check if iTunes is up to date, click “Check for Updates” in the program or visit the App Store to make sure all software is updated.
To download iOS 8, your iPhone or iPad’s UDID must be registered with IMZDL, a popular source for iOS and OS X betas. You will also need to find out your device’s identifier: While an iPhone on AT&T uses the identifier A1428, a Verizon iPhone uses A1429.”
You will also want to fully charge your device, and keep it plugged into a power source during installation. This is because iOS installation can take a while to complete, and the process tends to be battery intensive.
To start the install, just open iTunes and choose “Restore your iPhone.” Mac users: hold down Alt/Option when clicking “Restore.” Windows users: hold the Shift key when clicking “Restore.”
Whether you go the legit or sneaky route to get iOS 8, enjoy the new features and watch out for unexpected bugs.
If you try out iOS 8 in Beta and decide that you hate it, don’t lose hope. BGR has a handy article that can help you downgrade from the iOS 8 beta to the last public release of iOS, which is iOS 7.1 as of this writing.