Tired of being limited by Apple‘s walled garden of approved iOS apps? Want access to apps and developers that push the boundaries of iOS? Then sideloading apps with AltStore may be just what you need.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through everything there is to know about getting AltStore set up on your iPhone or iPad. You‘ll learn:
- What is AltStore and the risks and rewards of sideloading apps
- Step-by-step instructions to install AltStore
- How to use AltStore to install unsigned third party apps
- Troubleshooting tips for common AltStore errors
- Best practices for safely sideloading apps from unknown sources
Let‘s get started unleashing the full potential of your iOS device!
What is AltStore and How Does App Sideloading Work?
AltStore is a sophisticated iOS app that allows you to bypass the Apple App Store and install apps from outside sources. This process of manually installing unapproved apps is known as "sideloading".
Here‘s an overview of how AltStore works its magic:
It resigns any app with your personal Apple developer certificate, fooling your phone into trusting it.
The resigned app file is sent to the AltServer program running on your computer.
AltServer then pushes the app to your iPhone or iPad using the iTunes WiFi sync connection.
This elegant hack essentially allows you to approval your own apps. By exploiting gaps in Apple‘s usually strict control, you can install apps that would never make it onto the App Store.
The Upsides and Downsides of Sideloading Apps
Breaking free from Apple‘s walled garden certainly provides more choice and flexibility:
Access apps rejected or restricted by Apple like emulators, torrent clients, and app stores like Aptoide.
Get early access to cutting edge apps or betas direct from the developer.
Discover indie apps that are relatively unknown or too niche for the App Store.
However, there are some downsides to be aware of:
Potential security risks from apps containing malware or spyware.
Apps may be unstable since they haven‘t gone through Apple‘s review process.
Apps may stop working if Apple revokes the enterprise certificate exploited by AltStore.
Violates Apple‘s terms of service which forbids app sideloading.
The key is to sideload apps responsibly. Only install from trusted sources, read reviews, and proceed with caution as you would with any app from an unknown developer.
Now that you understand more about AltStore and sideloading, let‘s look at how to actually set it up.
Requirements to Use AltStore
Before installing AltStore, your iPhone or iPad will need:
iOS 12.2 or later
Available storage space for AltStore (around 10 MB)
You‘ll also need access to a Windows PC or Mac with:
macOS 10.14.4 or later, OR Windows 10 or later
iTunes installed (latest version recommended)
WiFi connection (for syncing)
Finally, you‘ll need to download:
Xcode 11 or later (only required on a Mac)
AltServer – available from the official AltStore site
With the requirements satisfied, you‘re ready to install AltStore and start sideloading apps!
Step-by-Step Guide to Install AltStore on iPhone and iPad
Installing AltStore takes just a few minutes if you follow these steps:
1. Download and Install AltServer
First, head to the official AltStore site and download the free AltServer software:
Install AltServer on your Mac or Windows PC. Follow the setup wizard prompts and use the default options.
AltServer runs quietly in the background and works seamlessly with AltStore.
2. Connect iOS Device and Enable WiFi Sync in iTunes
Now plug your iPhone or iPad into your computer using the USB cable. Open iTunes and click the device icon:
In the device summary, scroll down and enable Sync with this [Device] over WiFi:
This allows your computer and iOS device to communicate over WiFi which AltStore needs.
3. Install AltStore on Your iPhone or iPad
With your device connected, click Install AltStore from the AltServer menu in your system tray. Select your device and enter your Apple ID when prompted.
AltServer will now install AltStore directly on your iPhone or iPad. Pretty cool!
4. Trust the AltStore Certificate
Head to Settings > General > Device Management on your iOS device. Tap your Apple ID under Developer App and hit Trust.
This verifies your personal certificate used to resign apps for sideloading.
That‘s it! You can now launch AltStore and start sideloading apps. Time to have some fun!
How to Use AltStore to Sideload Apps
Once configured, using AltStore to install unsigned third party apps is easy:
Find and download the
.ipafile for the app you want, usually from the developer‘s site.
.ipato your iOS device using AirDrop, email, etc.
Open the file in AltStore which will prompt you to install.
AltStore resigns the app and installs it. Tap Trust again if asked.
You can now open and use the sideloaded app normally. However, there are a couple limitations:
App expiration – Apps installed with AltStore expire after 7 days. You‘ll need to reconnect to AltServer to re-sign them.
Device limit – AltStore can only have two sideloaded apps active at once. You‘ll need to manage and revoke old ones.
Other than that, enjoy your brand new iOS apps! Explore what developers have to offer outside the App Store.
Troubleshooting Common AltStore Installation Problems
AltStore is generally reliable thanks to active maintenance from the developer. But you may encounter a few hiccups while getting set up:
AppSync Unified error – Turn off AppSync Alerts in AltServer settings > Advanced.
Unable to refresh apps – Ensure your computer and iOS device are on the same WiFi network.
Connection issues – Restart your computer, iOS device, router, and AltServer. Double check WiFi sync is enabled in iTunes.
Certificate problems – Revoke the certificate under your Apple ID settings and reinstall AltStore.
Missing libraries – Download and install any required frameworks for the app directly on your device.
Crashes or bugs – Try deleting and reinstalling the troublesome app. Update your iOS software and AltServer.
For any other issues, scour user forums like Reddit for solutions or ask the AltStore community. Don‘t be afraid to tinker a bit – that‘s part of the fun!
Best Practices for Safe and Responsible App Sideloading
While app sideloading opens up exciting possibilities, it does come with risks. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Thoroughly research any third party app – check reviews, developer reputation, and look for red flags.
Only download from reputable forums like Reddit and Telegram channels you trust.
Monitor app behavior for abnormal battery, data, or CPU usage.
Use antivirus software and check for spyware and malware.
Avoid granting unnecessary permissions.
Don‘t enter any sensitive credentials into third party apps.
Make occasional backups in case unstable apps cause issues.
Follow these tips and your app sideloading experience will be smooth sailing. Stick to trusted sources and you‘ll unlock amazing apps otherwise unavailable!
Unleash Your iOS Device‘s Full Potential with AltStore
And that‘s everything you need to know to get started with AltStore. The app resignation process and WiFi syncing is like magic once set up.
I hope this guide has shown you how quick and easy it is to:
- Install AltStore on your iPhone or iPad
- Sideload apps from outside the App Store
- Safely expand your iOS options
AltStore opens up an entire world of possibilities beyond Apple‘s control. You can emulate classic games, run restricted apps like torrent clients, or try out exciting indie projects.
So go discover your iOS device‘s hidden potential. Install AltStore today and unlock a more open, flexible, and customizable experience!
Let me know if you have any other questions about this powerful utility. I‘m always happy to help fellow tech enthusiasts push their Apple gadgets to the limit.