Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is right on schedule with iOS 7 development, as the company released the third beta of its newfangled operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners on Monday. Apple’s release schedule for its iOS 7 betas has been smooth thus far, with each new release coming exactly two weeks after the prior update. The iOS beta 3 update arrives just two weeks after second beta for iOS 7, which also arrived two weeks after the first beta for iOS 7 was launched after Apple’s keynote at WWDC 2013. It looks like Apple won’t have any trouble meeting its iOS 7 release date deadline this fall -- we expect its public arrival on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
The third beta of iOS 7 is listed as build “11A4414e,” as opposed to "11A4400f" and "11a4372q,” the listings for the iOS 7 beta 2 and iOS 7 beta 1, respectively. But while iOS 7 beta 2 added functionality for iPad and iPod users, as well as some major fixes from the first beta release, iOS 7 beta 3 is all about polish. The most noteworthy features from the iOS 7 beta 3 release include a thicker, redesigned default font, a bigger status bar to read your device’s vitals easily, more options in the lock screen, a much more natural-sounding Siri, new download animations for applications and much more. By all accounts, iOS 7 beta 3 is not only the most stable iOS 7 beta release thus far, but also the most refined.
For those looking to download, install and experiment with iOS 7, users should beware that iOS 7 is still a beta build, which means there are still plenty of errors, bugs, crashes and other issues; that said, many iOS developers with iOS 7 have reported the operating system works very smoothly on the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and even the iPhone 4. Any registered iOS app developers can access and download the iOS 7 beta 3 for free, but unregistered Apple fans that can’t wait for the fall release date of iOS 7 can simply opt to pay the $99 fee to Apple, which will give them access to the iOS 7 beta software, as well as all other Apple software betas, ahead of its public release date.
Users who have already downloaded the first and second iOS 7 beta will be able to download the iOS 7 beta 3 update directly through their respective devices. But if you haven't downloaded the iOS 7 beta yet but you'd like to try iOS 7 beta 3 on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, check out our step-by-step guide on how to download iOS 7 below.
Before You Download iOS 7
Prior to downloading any beta for iOS 7, users should definitely back up their iDevices (including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) to iTunes; be sure iTunes is running the latest version by clicking the “Check For Updates” option in iTunes, or simply visit the Mac App Store on your computer to make sure the software is current. Also, you will need to register your device’s UDID with IMZDL, which is the largest source of Apple betas for iOS and OS X, and you will also need to know your device’s identifier; for example, a Verizon iPhone’s identifier is A1429, while an AT&T iPhone’s identifier is A1428. Once you have this information and everything’s backed up and up to date, you may now begin the process of downloading and installing iOS 7.
Apple iOS 7 Installation Guide
1. Download the iOS 7 Beta 3 file for your specific iPhone, iPad or iPod model off Apple’s website. We've listed the direct download links to the iOS 7 beta 3 pages below, so just find the right model and download away -- just remember, you need to be an Apple iOS developer or pay that $99 registration fee.
Apple developers and users who have already paid the $99 fee will need to log in to access the download files for iOS 7 beta 3. Once downloaded, the file you download will show up on IMZDL, but it could take a little time.
2. Open up iTunes, and Restore your iPhone with the iOS 7 beta 3. On a Mac, make sure you’re holding down alt/option when you click Restore, and on Windows, hold down Shift when you click Restore.
3. To find the iOS 7 beta 3 file for restoring your iPhone, find the downloaded iOS 7 beta 3 file on your computer, which should be the most recently downloaded file that ends with “.ipsw.”
Congratulations! Once the iOS 7 beta installation is complete and your iDevice reboots once or twice, you will be able to experiment with iOS 7 on your iPhone, iPad, iPad mini or iPod touch. For users downloading iOS 7 beta for the first time, the entire process to convert your iPhone's or iPad's OS to iOS 7 might take about 40 minutes to a full hour or more, so definitely keep your device plugged into a power source.
For those uninitiated, iOS 7 boasts a complete revamp of the font, style, colors, icons and textures of iOS to make it a familiar but entirely new experience. But iOS 7 isn’t just filled with cosmetic changes; iOS 7 is a massive feature-ridden update with plenty of new tools to discover and use. Most notable among the new iOS 7 features: the helpful Control Center that contains quick access to important settings; the built-in parallax that shifts the background image in response to one’s movements; a new way to multitask apps; the AirDrop feature for sharing photos or documents with other iPhone users in the area; and much more. Once again, we expect Apple has pegged the release date for iOS 7 to be Wednesday, Sept. 18 -- exactly 100 days after the June 10 unveiling of iOS 7. The release date of iOS 7 is also expected to precede the release of at least one new iPhone model; we believe the new iPhone 5S will see its release date just two days after the public release of iOS 7, on Friday, Sept. 20.
For more on iOS 7, check out our visual guide on iOS 7 to learn more about the new design, some surprise features we discovered from the first iOS 7 beta, plus our collection of 80-plus screenshots of iOS 7. What do you think of iOS 7? Do you plan on downloading and installing iOS 7 beta 3? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.