Guide to installing iOS 5 beta

[Update: Mon 7 November] Manually updating to iOS 5.

[Update: Thu 13 October] iOS 5 is now available! Download iTunes 10.5 first, then update your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch to iOS 5.

[Update: Saturday 23 July] iOS 5 beta 4 is now available: Over the air software updates is now possible.

[Update: Tuesday 12 July] iOS 5 beta 3 is now available. Find out how to match your version of iOS with the right version of iTunes for a trouble free upgrade.

[Update: Sunday 26 June] iOS 5 beta 2 – important – back up your 10.5 beta 1 iOS devices before installing iTunes 10.5 beta 2. More information available at Guide to installing iOS 5 beta 2 – what to do if you see "iPhone could not be synced because the sync session failed to start".
Error message: "iPhone could not be synced because the sync session failed to start"

[Update: Sunday 12 June] A separate set of instructions for installing iOS 5 beta on the Apple TV is also available.

iOS 5 was announced and released at the World Wide Developers Conference today. In order to try out the latest beta version of iOS 5 you need to be a member of Apple's iOS Developer Program. This article is a simple guide to install iOS 5 beta on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

If you aren't a developer a preview of what iOS 5 can do can be seen on the Apple website.

Before you start

  • You need a Mac.
  • Make sure that your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch has been registered as a development device in the iOS Provisioning Portal in the Members Center. This process requires your device's Unique Device ID (UDID). To get this, launch iTunes, connect your device, go to the Summary tab and click on 'Serial number'. This will toggle and show the UDID. 
  • Please be aware that once you upgrade to iOS 5 beta, there is no going back to iOS 4.

Installing iOS 5 beta on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch

  1. Login to the Apple Developer Member Centre and go to the iOS Dev Center. 
  2. Download iTunes 10.5 beta and the appropriate iOS 5 beta for your iOS device.
  3. Install iTunes 10.5 beta.
  4. Double-click 'ios_5_beta__XXXXXX.dmg' to mount the image. 
  5. Launch iTunes and connect your iOS device. Click Sync and make sure that a fresh backup has been made.
  6. Hold down the Option key and click 'Restore'. Navigate to the mounted image and select the xxxxxxx.ipsw file. 
    [3 Aug 2011] If you encounter Error 20 during this process, please see this article Error 20 – how to solve
  7. iTunes will then wipe your device and install iOS 5 beta (make sure you've made a fresh backup – see step 5). Follow the instructions. This will take a few minutes and your device reboot during this process.
  8. iTunes will inform you that your device has been recognised as a registered development device.
  9. iTunes will then ask you to restore from a backup. It should default to the last backup and the 'Last Synced' field should confirm this. Click Continue. The restoration process takes about 20 minutes.
  10. After the restore process all your data such as e-mail, text messages, contacts and photos should be restored.
  11. Your device will then take you through a series of setup screens including your Apple ID . Setting up iCloud is just a matter of flicking on the On switch.
  12. You are now done and iOS 5 will start to synchronise your apps, books, contacts, calendars, photos and music to your device over WiFi and in the background. 

Congratulations, you no longer need to connect your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch to a PC and iTunes for updates.

Note: if you receive an error 3002, it's because you did Option-Upgrade rather than Option-Restore. See step 6.

New to iOS development?

Check out the books in the right column.


Thank you

Thank you my dear for this nicely written and well done tutorial, well done!

جعله الله في ميزان حسناتك

Excellent instructions!

Thanks for posting your excellent instructions. Just the right amount of text and pictures to demystify the process. Worked perfectly for me when setting up iOS 5 beta 4 on my iPhone 4.

Error 20

Every time I have tried to install IOS 5 beta it comes up with an 'error 20' can't remember any other details but I will try again and post details! But if anyone else has come across this problem and can help it would be much appreciated as I'm desperate to get iOS 5 on my phone!

Many Thanks in advance

THANKS a lot for this HOWTO

I tried about 10 times. But your genious description maked it working!
Greetz from Austria ;o)


Sync & Backup Issues

I have installed iOS 5 beta 2, as well as the iTunes beta 2, and restored my iPad 2 backup from 4.3.3, but now my iPad cannot sync or back up in iTunes (over USB). In addition, it no longer segments the iPad contents in the summary tab into video/music/apps/etc., instead displaying one big yellow block of "other".

In iTunes, the 'Sync' button is greyed out, and when I make changes to apps or music etc. the 'Apply' button is also greyed out. When I navigate away from the iPad section in iTunes, it still asks me if I want to apply my changes, but if I click Apply it does nothing other than add the spinning arrows next to the iPad that never go away. The same thing happens when I right click on my iPad 2 in iTunes and try to do a back up -- it flashes something about it starting, but then just completely stops doing anything, other than the arrows spinning next to the iPad icon.

The option in the iPad 2's settings for iTunes Sync (over WiFi) also does not work. The Sync Now button is greyed out, and it says "Sync will resume when [Macbook Pro] is available." Both my Macbook and my iPad are on the same network, but they will not sync.

Has anyone else had these issues? I have tried restoring it multiple times, and have the newest updates to iTunes (beta 2), iOS (beta 2) and OS X (10.6.8) installed.


Some strange things in my iphone

hi, after I upgrade my iphone to ios 5.0 beta 2 and restore my backup file. The Xcode 4 can recognize my iphone is running on ios 5.0.

But except email,contacts,messages, and the basic program comes from the new ios, the rest of all my preinstalled programs and other documents(photos, videos) were recognized as the "other" category from the Capacity.

Do you have any ideas?


Yes, this 'other' category

Yes, this 'other' category inaccuracy has been reported widely in iOS 5 beta 2. This is beta software and should be addressed in future releases.

Thanks Hank

Yes, as you say, this is only a beta version. I wouldn't hope everything working fine.

Also, the apple map program is very easy to crash when you want to search some place.

iOS 5 beta version

Hi, I am new to the Apple Development program, I wanted to find out, after installing the beta version of the iOS 5, I would be able to use the phone as a normal phone right? None of my features would stop working. Any help is appreciated.


The phone definitely works.

The phone definitely works. Because this is beta software, there is a chance that other apps may not work though - I've found quite a few that just crash. For this reason Apple warns users to install iOS 5 on a secondary device.

Vladimir Shakirov

I installed ios 5 on my ipad and I can't register my device
Can't find where to do it

Could you tell how can i do it


Re: can't register my device

  1. Go to the Apple Developer Member Centre (it will ask you to login with your Apple Developer account).
  2. Once you are in go to 'iOS Provisioning Portal' > Devices > Add Devices
  3. Enter the 40 character UDID and click 'Submit'. 

It should only take a minute before iTunes recognises the device.

Alternate way

You can also open Organizer in Xcode --> right click on the device --> add device to provisioning portal

Thank You!!!

Thank you very much!!! I have been trying to get this beta installed since it became available yesterday and I've been running into all types of problems. After reading your guide I got it to work. I just wanted to say thanks.


Thank you!

I would just like to echo Rob's comments. I have managed to follow your guide and upgrade to iOS 5 flawlessly. Very easy to follow. Thanks again.


Holy Shit, thanks

Holy Shit, thanks