Apple Cracking Down on Sites Selling Access to iOS 6 Developer Betas
Late last month, Wired covered the emergence of a cottage industry of businesses selling access to iOS developer betas prior to their official launch. Apple offers these developer betas to registered iOS developers. The fee for such a registration is $99/year. Some enterprising individuals have turned around and started selling their 100 possible device slots to users looking to install the iOS betas prior to their official launch.
Behind the scenes, each service uses the same simple backdoor: Registered iOS developers can activate up to 100 unique device IDs (or UDIDs) for their account, an essential tool for testing apps on multiple devices. Once registered with Apple, the activated device is also able to run pre-release versions of iOS, though developers are forbidden from sharing pre-release software outside their own team.
Ignoring these warnings, activation services charge a small fee to add a customer’s device to their developer accounts. When they hit the 100-device limit, they just register a new account with Apple.
This has been going on for a couple of years with no particular intervention from Apple. As Wired notes, it seems Apple just didn't seem to care, despite their wide availability.
That may have changed since the publication of the Wired article. MacStories has noted that many of the services listed in the original Wired article are no longer available. After reaching out to the sites, it seems that Apple has started taking action against these services.
While most of our emails bounced, we heard back from one of the site owners (who asked to remain anonymous), who confirmed his hosting provider took down the site after a complaint for copyright infringement by Apple. Similarly, the CEO of Fused tweeted in a reply to Andy Baio that Apple had been “fairly heavy-handed” with DMCA requests to UDID-selling sites hosted on their network.
MacStories exchanged emails with the owner of one of the services which made $75,000 since the release of the iOS 6 Beta in June.