So now that the iPhone 5 has been announced, iOS 6 is soon to follow. It officially lands September 19th, but if you don’t want to wait, you can install it on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad right now without needing an iOS Developer Membership.
- A computer (Over The Air updating is not supported for this method)
- iTunes 10.7 (which can be downloaded here)
- An iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad 2/3 running 5.1.1 (Absinthe claims your device needs a fresh restore of iOS 5.1.1. , I have not found this to be the case with my Wi-Fi iPad 3rd generation).
- iOS 6 .ipsw file for your device.
A few notes before beginning the tutorial:
- iOS 6 supports: iPhone 3GS and later, iPod touch 4th gen, iPad 2nd and 3rd gen
- This guide will not cover installing iOS 6 on AppleTV
- You MUST have iTunes 10.7 installed on your computer to upgrade your device to iOS 6. Using older versions of iTunes will most likely produce errors as these builds do not support iOS 6
- Because of space constraints, I will not host any iOS 6 .ipsw files off WordPress. Currently, you must use a torrent program to download the initial file, which will unzip and download the needed file. You can access the needed torrents here.*
Installing iOS 6:
- Open iTunes with your desired device connected. Perform a sync and ensure your device has been backed up LOCALLY**/runs iOS 5.1.1. Your device’s content will be erased and unobtainable if you do not backup.
- Search for the “Check for Software Updates/Restore” pane in the device menu in iTunes. Prepare to click Restore, but do not yet.
- Hold down the ALT key (Option) to select the .ipsw file you downloaded earlier. This will begin with your device ID, followed by _6.0 and build number which is 10A403. Example: iPad 3,1_6.0_104A03_restore.ipsw
- Prepare to wait while your device restores itself. Verify that the process has gone through Apple’s servers (this means if you play around with your hosts.plist file, get rid of #gs.apple.com). Once you pass the “Verifying Restore with Apple” bar in iTunes, you can wait while iOS 5 is extracted and iOS 6 is loaded to your device.
- Once your iPad reboots following the “Your iPad/whatever has been restored to factory settings”, go ahead and setup the device as normal. Not much has changed from the iOS 5 setup screen, with some exceptions for iPad and iPod touch 5th gen.
- At this point, iTunes will prompt you to restore from backup. You may, but I chose to setup the iPad as new while leaving it connected, and then restoring from backup***. Please note that restoring from a 5.1.1. backup will NOT revert you to 5.1.1. You are on iOS 6 for good.****
- Wait for your content to re-sync to the device, then enjoy all the goodness iOS 6 has to offer!
Thanks for reading!
* For those without uTorrent/BitTorrent, you can download the file from the site, then open it with your torrent program. I use Miro 5.
** I find it much more convenient to backup to my computer locally. I suppose an iCloud backup could work, but I would not count on it.
*** If you restore from backup, your passwords and login information will be saved. If you chose not to restore, you may need to enter your information again.
**** You are currently on iOS 6. AFAIK, You may be able to revert to 5.1.1 via DFU and finding an .ipsw file off the internet, but I will not be attempting this. Apple did state to their devs that using this GM means they cannot revert, so keep this in mind.