Apple iOS 7
Apple has released five different beta versions of iOS 7, which means we're quickly approaching the public release date of iOS 7. We're expecting iOS 7 to arrive on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Apple

Less than a week after the release of iOS 7 beta 4, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) on Tuesday released the fifth beta preview of iOS 7, the company’s redesigned operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple managed to release a new iOS 7 beta every two weeks since June 10 when iOS 7 was introduced, but after a tumultuous few weeks created by a security breach that hit the iOS Developer Center -- Apple has restored most of the site’s functionality, though it’s still not quite ready -- iOS 7 beta 4 saw its release three weeks after the iOS 7 beta 3, and iOS 7 beta 5 released a week after that.

Apple is still technically on schedule, as iOS 7 beta 5 would have released this week even if Apple had kept its original two week release pattern. The security breach doesn’t appear to have caused any major delays, as the latest iOS 7 beta release proves that Apple is getting closer to having the operating system ready for the public. With the iOS 7 gold master right around the corner, the release date for iOS 7 is expected to arrive in about a month from now -- we believe the magic date will be Wednesday, Sept. 11 (more on the reasoning for that prediction later).

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is approaching “zero-priority-1-bug status” with iOS 7, which means iOS 7 beta 5 (and one more beta build expected to release in the coming weeks) has almost no critical bugs left in the system. Once the iOS 7 beta period is over, Apple will release iOS 7 GM internally before releasing a final iOS 7 GM seed to developers, which would be the last step before the public release date of iOS 7.

The fifth beta release of iOS 7 is listed as build “11A4449a,” as opposed to build “111A4435d” for iOS 7 beta 4, “11A4414e” for iOS 7 beta 3, and "11A4400f" and "11a4372q,” the listings for the iOS 7 beta 2 and iOS 7 beta 1, respectively. Apple added major fixes and new functionality for iPad and iPod users in the iOS 7 beta 2 release, and iOS 7 beta 3 delivered more polished features, including a thicker, redesigned default font, more options in the lock screen, a more natural-sounding Siri, among other changes. Apple added still more polish in its prior release, as iOS 7 beta 4 introduced an updated lock screen, new animations for Mail and Notification Center, tweaks to the Phone and Messages apps, and redesigned icons for Safari and AirPlay. Apple added even more polish to its latest release, iOS 7 beta 5, including a complete redesign of the Settings icons to make them easier to distinguish, new icons for the Phone app and Power Off function, and interface tweaks that make iOS 7 beta 5 feel faster and smoother to use.

Luckily for interested Apple users, there’s no need to wait until the public release of iOS 7 to play around with the new OS on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch; users can download, install and experiment with iOS 7 right now. Obviously, iOS 7 is still in beta so errors and bugs may arise, but iOS 7 is currently working very smoothly on most iOS devices, especially with the new beta 5 release. Any registered iOS app developers can access, download and install iOS 7 beta 5 for free, but unregistered Apple fans who can’t wait for the public release date of iOS 7 would need to pay the $99 licensing fee to access iOS 7 ahead of its public release date.

Users who've already downloaded any prior iOS 7 beta release will be able to download the iOS 7 beta 5 update directly through their device. If you've yet to download or install any iOS 7 beta, but you'd like to try iOS 7 beta 5, check out our step-by-step guide on how to download iOS 7 to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch below.

Before You Download iOS 7 Beta 5

Prior to downloading any beta for iOS 7, users should definitely back up their iDevices 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'll need to register your device’s UDID with IMZDL, which is the largest source of Apple betas for iOS and OS X, and you'll 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 -- this is important. Once you have this information and everything’s backed up and up to date, you can begin the process of downloading and installing iOS 7 beta 4.

Apple iOS 7 Installation Guide

1. Download the iOS 7 Beta 5 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 5 pages below, so just find the right model and download away -- just remember, you need to be an Apple iOS developer or pay the $99 registration fee.

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad (4th generation Model A1458)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad (4th generation Model A1459)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad (4th generation Model A1460)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad mini (Model A1432)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad mini (Model A1454)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad mini (Model A1455)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (AT&T model)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (Verizon model)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad 2 Wi-Fi

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 5 (Model A1428)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 5 (Model A1429)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 4S

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 4 (GSM Rev A)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 4 (GSM)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPhone 4 (CDMA)

- iOS 7 beta 5 release - iPod Touch (5th generation)

Apple developers and users who've already paid the $99 fee will need to log in to access the download files for iOS 7 beta 5. Once downloaded, the iOS 7 beta 5 file will show up on IMZDL, but it could take a little time.

2. Open up iTunes, and choose Restore your iPhone with the iOS 7 beta 5 file. 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 to iOS 7 beta 5.

3. To find the iOS 7 beta 5 file for restoring your iPhone, find the downloaded iOS 7 beta 5 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'll be able to experiment with iOS 7 beta 5 on your iPhone, iPad, iPad mini or iPod Touch. For users downloading the iOS 7 beta for the first time, the whole process to convert your iOS 6 to iOS 7 may take about 40 minutes to a full hour or more, so definitely keep your device plugged into a power source during that time.

For those unversed in the latest mobile operating system from Apple, iOS 7 features a complete revamp of the style, colors, icons and textures of iOS to make it a familiar but entirely new experience. But iOS 7 isn’t just a cosmetic update; iOS 7 offers game-changing new features and tools to make iOS 7 the most intuitive and most useful iOS release to date. 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.

Since the prior release of iOS 7 beta 4, we’ve since changed our release date expectations for iOS 7, pegging the new iOS to unveil on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and arrive on Wednesday, Sept. 11. We expect the release date of iOS 7 to precede the release of two new iPhone models; we believe Apple will release the plastic iPhone 6 (or iPhone 5C) on Friday, Sept. 13, with the new iPhone 5S arriving two weeks later on Friday, Sept. 27.

Check out our visual guide on iOS 7 to learn more about the new design, some surprise features we discovered in the very first iOS 7 beta, plus our collection of 80-plus screenshots of iOS 7. What do you think of iOS 7? Do you plan to download and install iOS 7 beta 5 or are you looking forward to its public release date this fall? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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