iOS 8 Beta 5 is out. The next Beta of iOS 8 is expected later this month. Unlike OS X Yosemite, there is no public beta program for iOS 8. However, you can still try iOS 8 before the public launch if you know where to look.
Want to get your hands on iOS 8 right now, without waiting for the official release later this year? Follow the steps below to get iOS 8 Beta 5 for your device.
1. Determine Whether You Actually Want iOS 8 Beta 5
There are some downsides to working with a Beta version of iOS in general, and the iOS 8 Beta 5 in particular. That being said, iOS 8 Beta 5 introduces some of the most intriguing and exciting features out of any of the previous Beta releases.
NBC News notes that some of the coolest new features in Beta 5 are related to HealthKit:
“iOS 8 beta 5 adds a new Health panel in the Privacy menu, new icons for Body Data and Data Exporting, the ability to store workouts and an option to show your medical ID on your device’s lockscreen. Based on various rumors, the upcoming iWatch will place a heavy emphasis on health and fitness and sync with iOS 8.”
Computerworld writes that other HealthKit features users can look forward to experimenting with include tests for breathing, info about altitude, galvanic skin response, glucose levels, and hydration levels. Apparently, heart rate readings have been removed in this iteration.
Apple Insider notes that Beta 5 includes fixes for the following apps and services: iCloud backups, CarPlay, CloudKit, Document Providers, Extensions, FaceTime, Family Sharing, Find my Friends, Handoff, HealthKit, HomeKit, iAd, iCloud Drive, iCloud Keychain, iTunes Sync, Keyboards, Localization, Metal and OpenGL, Music, Springboard, and UIKit. Most of changes are minor tweaks, rather than huge new feature sets.
Not all iOS 8 Beta 5 features may work on your iOS device of choice. Cult of Mac notes that, while Wi-Fi calling is supported in Beta 5, only T-Mobile supports this feature in the USA.
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 make a note of your password if you are creating an encrypted backup.
3. Choose Your Path: Official iOS 8 Beta Download or Pirated iOS 8 Beta Download
Here’s where things get tricky. The legit 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 5. 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, 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 drain the battery quickly.
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 Beta 5, enjoy the new features and watch out for unexpected bugs. The public release of iOS 8 is expected this fall, when Apple also debuts the latest version of the iPhone. In the meantime, if you are unhappy with any iOS 8 Beta you’ve installed, you can always “roll back” to iOS 7.1 and wait for iOS 8 to get its stable, public debut.