Apple pretty much assumes that everyone who is using their iOS beta has a Mac — which is a reasonable assumption, because the beta is really more for developers to make their application work with iOS 5 than for nerds like me who just want to use the features before they’re publicly available. But I digress.
Since Apple doesn’t really provide any instructions or support for installing iOS 5 using a PC, I will tell you how.
- Download and install iTunes 10.5 Beta 2 from here (you will need to have a valid Apple developer account, which costs $99/year). This step is very important! Even if you downloaded 10.5 Beta 1 to install iOS 5 Beta 1, you still need to download Beta 2, or the upgrade won’t work.
- Download iOS 5 Beta 2 from here (again, you’ll need a valid Apple developer account).
- Make sure to download the correct version for your device. If you’re on AT&T, download the GSM version; if you’re on Verizon, download the CDMA version.
- Using 7-Zip, unzip the .dmg file, then unzip the file “2.hfs” that is inside of that.
- Inside of that, there should be a file named something like “iPhone3,1_5.0_9A5248d_Restore.ipsw”. Note its location.
- Plug your iPhone into your computer and start up iTunes if it does not start automatically.
- Sync your iPhone to make sure that you have all the data on it backed up.
- Shift+click on Restore, then navigate to that .ipsw file from step 3 and select it.
- Restore your phone.
- After restoring using that file, you will need to restore again using the backup from step 5. This will take some time, but it will add all of your contacts, text messages, songs, apps, etc. back onto your phone.
And then you’re done! The only real glitch I’ve noticed is that during the last step, some applications seem to get lost in the ether, so you may have to reinstall them. You may also have to re-enter email passwords and the like.