As expected, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released iOS 8 beta 2 into the wild on Tuesday. With a number of fixes to problems encountered in beta 1, iOS 8 beta 2 is a more stable release. Apple gave its mobile operating system a visual redesign with iOS 7 last year, and this year it focused on integrating several new features into iOS 8 for iPhone and iPad, perhaps even the ability to use multiple apps with a split-screen feature.
Apple said it will schedule a wider release date for iOS 8 sometime this fall, but it made a beta version of iOS 8 available for developers to download and install earlier this month. Apple developers can access beta 2 for free, but iPhone users eager to check out iOS 8 right now can also access beta 2 before its official release date.
For anyone willing to pay the $99 annual fee, iOS 8 is available for download from Apple immediately, but it's still only a beta release, which means it's much more useful for developers than regular users and may well contain software bugs and other errors. Downloading iOS 8 beta 2 might seem like a worthwhile prospect for those eager to see Apple’s latest, but is not recommended for novice users.
Before You Download iOS 8
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.
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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. Once you have this information and have backed up and updated your device, then you can download and install iOS 8 beta 2.
Apple iOS 8 beta 2 Installation Guide
1.) Download the iOS 8 beta file for your specific iPhone or iPad model from Apple. Developers -- and users who pay the $99 fee -- will need to log in with their Apple ID user names and passwords to access the beta release. After that, the file should show up on IMZDL.
2.) Open iTunes and choose “Restore your iPhone” with iOS 8 beta 2. On Macs, hold down Alt/Option when clicking “Restore.” Windows users should hold the Shift key when clicking “Restore.”
3.) Check your “Downloads” folder for the iOS 8 beta 2 installation file, which should end with “.ipsw,” the file extension name for iPhone firmware files. The iOS 8 beta 2 installation will use a lot of battery power, and it may take some time to complete.
Please note that Apple has a few other caveats for those who want to install iOS 8 beta 2, noting that the early “version of iOS is intended only for installation on development devices registered with Apple’s Developer Program. Attempting to install this version of iOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state, which could necessitate an out-of-warranty repair.”
Apple's iMessage will also receive some new features with iOS 8, including the ability to add and remove contacts from message threads. The iMessages app includes a new gallery to view images sent in chat, and it will give users the ability to send voice messages and images with a single tap.