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Apple Disabling iOS 5 Beta Installs and Developer Accounts Over Sales of Device Slots? [Updated: Old Betas Expiring?]

Since late yesterday, MacRumors has received a few reports of users who have seen their devices running various beta versions of iOS 5 shutting down and returning to activation mode. The reports have been sporadic, with some users suggesting that earlier beta versions may simply have been expiring and been disabled by Apple.

But according to a report from Karthik.K (via AppleInsider), the deactivations appear to be a concerted effort by Apple to crack down on registered developers who have been selling off extra beta slots to offer non-developers access to iOS 5 beta versions. Developers who have sold off their slots are apparently reporting that Apple has shut down their accounts over the violation of the company's developer terms, which limit beta iOS installations to the developer's own devices for testing purposes.
Many of my developer friends have reported that Apple has sent an email warning which said that they have identified the developer to be selling his slots for some users to get early preview of iOS.

And Apple has started closing the developer accounts for selling the slots and also, have flagged the UDIDs associated with that dev account, thus making the iOS 5 device unusable.

Many developers have received this letter and immediately banned their account from the developer’s program.

Once Apple locks your iOS device, the phone will enter the initial setup mode asking you to connect to a WiFi network. And nothing happens more than that.
Apple allows developers to register up to 100 devices to a single developer account, which costs $99 per year. Each developer can submit a list of Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) to be registered under their account, and some users have taken to selling off those device slots to non-developers for $5-10 apiece in order to pay for their own developer access and make a small profit. Going even further, entire websites have even sprung up to facilitate the direct sale of such slots.

As a result of those beta slot sales, access to the iOS 5 has been relatively wide open, facilitating significant disclosures about the next-generation mobile operating system despite many of the details technically being covered by non-disclosure agreements between Apple and its developers.

It is unclear why it has taken Apple so long to crack down on the behavior, as the selling of beta slots has been an open secret for quite some time. iOS 5 is set for a public release sometime this "fall", with the general consensus being that it should appear alongside the iPhone 5 in September or October.

Update: Most of those reporting that they were affected by the issue note that they were running either Beta 1 or Beta 2 of iOS 5, both of which have expired. We have received scattered reports of users on Beta 3 and Beta 4 being affected, but those may be erroneous. Consequently, the issue may simply be expiring early beta versions as we initially supposed.

We are still looking for more reports of users on iOS Beta 3 or the current Beta 4 who can confirm being affected.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

102 months ago
Good, devs shouldn't be making a profit off of UDIDs anyways.
Rating: 55 Votes
102 months ago
Can't believe they didn't do it sooner!
Rating: 32 Votes
102 months ago
This should have been done ages ago.
Rating: 30 Votes
102 months ago
I’m skeptical that Apple would bother.

But if they did, maybe it will help with all the ridiculous App Store 1-star reviews from people who say “this app crashes on iOS 5 beta!” :rolleyes:
Rating: 30 Votes
102 months ago

omg this happened to me last night! I lost my mind.

What happened was that I legally paid for a dev account but then decided that it wasn't for me, got a refund by apple but still had ios 5 beta 2 running. I should of been notified before losing almost everything on my phone, not smart by apple to do that to people who did actually pay.

Sounds like you bought a dev account to run iOS 5 and then returned it with no intention of keeping it.

Just saying.
Rating: 22 Votes
102 months ago

That part is a lot of a dick move by apple. Fair enough suspending the account, but people on iOS5b this way are the people who are probably your most keen customers!

It really doesn't matter. They should have known what they were getting into. And the developers broke their NDAs.

I agree that this should have happened a long time ago.
Rating: 19 Votes
102 months ago
It's not surprising as it does violate the TOS. I agree with the article, though, in wondering why it took them so long. Perhaps the anticipation of iOS 5 was sufficiently higher than before that more slots were being sold in this way for Apple to notice and act. I don't blame Apple for disabling the devices since there is no good way for them to handle it otherwise. It's not that they've destroyed the device. The user just has to do a restore. Something they should have known before they chose to install beta firmware.
Rating: 18 Votes
102 months ago

I don't understand the anger people have towards those that are excited enough to want an early peak at new software. How exactly do they hurt you personally in any way?

1) lots of lamers posting negative (1-star) ratings on App Store because our (the legit dev's) apps don't (yet) work with iOS5. We are left to assume that these "lamers" are not dev's... just tools that want to show off their iOS5-ness.

2) less saliently, lots of FUD on these forums (and iphonedevsdk) from these same lamers.
Rating: 15 Votes
102 months ago

Some of us are natural geeks and want to tinker with our device. I for one, like the feature of iOS 5 and want to try it out, but don't have $99 to throw down.

So since you don't have $99, but you're a "natural geek" (As opposed to an unnatural geek), somehow that justifies you breaking the law?
Rating: 14 Votes
102 months ago

Once you are on 5beta, you can't go back to 4.x

I thought I'd get downvoted. But with 5.0b on my phone, if apple disables it, and I can't go back to 4, how is that good for anyone? And how has someone who isn't selling slots, but just wanted 5.0beta on their phone hurting apple?

That's because most of these people don't understand that the DEVELOPER PREVIEWS are for developers to test their apps only.

omg this happened to me last night! I lost my mind.

What happened was that I legally paid for a dev account but then decided that it wasn't for me, got a refund by apple but still had ios 5 beta 2 running. I should of been notified before losing almost everything on my phone, not smart by apple to do that to people who did actually pay.

WRONG. You did not paid if you got a refund from Apple.
Rating: 13 Votes

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