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  • 06.10.09

How to Get iPhone OS 3.0 Now (Yes, Now)

If you’re an iPhone user, you watched the announcement of iPhone OS 3.0 with lip-smacking enthusiasm. But Apple wants you to wait until June 17th to download the new software–an unbearable seven days away. Why not get the new iPhone OS now, and be the envy of, well, anyone else who’s as impatient as you are?

If you’re an iPhone user, you watched the announcement of iPhone OS 3.0 with lip-smacking enthusiasm. But Apple wants you to wait until June 17th to download the new software–an unbearable seven days away. Why not get the new iPhone OS now, and be the envy of, well, anyone else who’s as impatient as you are?

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iPhone OS 3.0

You can: Apple has seeded the so-called “Golden Master” edition of the iPhone 3.0 OS to developers, making it ready for the masses. This is the same version you’ll be able to download in a week–you don’t have to be a developer to run it, as with the Beta version. That said, it’s not entirely a one-click upgrade; you’ll need a modicum of tech savvy to make it happen. Specifically, you need to be able to hold down the “option” or “shift” key when you click the mouse. Think you can handle it? Go.

EDIT: You’ll also have to live with one annoyance: you can’t sync your
apps from iTunes. Instead, you must re-download them all using the
iTunes Store on your iPhone.

Step 1: Search your favorite torrent site for iPhone OS Golden Master, or some variation thereof. You’re looking for a torrent file called “iPhone1,2_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw”. If it’s some other version–7A***–don’t bother. That’s the Beta, which you’ll need to be a registered developer to use. Caveat Torrenter: Be careful of downloading malware files masquerading as the real thing. (Thanks, Gizmodo)

Step 2: Once you’ve popped the torrent into your P2P client, download it. The file is 230MB, and is the same for Mac and PC.

Step 3: Before you do anything with the download, sync and back up your iPhone, just in case. This won’t help you if the installation fails, since you’ll have updated to the new 3.0 firmware, and you can’t restore a 2.X firmware version on a 3.0 iPhone. But at least you’ll have a backup ready when the software is available publicly, and you can try the process again then.

Step 4: Now you have the restore file chillin’ on your hard drive. Connect your iPhone, enter iTunes, and go to the iPhone screen. You’ll see a “restore” button. WAIT.

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iPhone Restore

Step 6: Wait. Eat a croissant. Imagine copy-pasting on your iPhone. Change your pants. Resume waiting.

Step 7: iTunes will restart your iPhone and should load your last backup. You’ll notice this happens much faster than in previous versions of iPhone OS.

Step 8: Keep waiting. iTunes will load your address book, calendar, and all that other crap, and make a few clean-ups of its own volition. Then it’ll install your apps. Huzzah!

Step 9: Wait for iPhone to initialize. Now you’re done: go explore, and use Apple’s new list of features as a guide.

I’ve installed the new OS on two iPhones so far this afternoon with no hitches. It bears noting, however, that Apple does not condone pre-release installations, and they won’t help you if you somehow manage to screw things up. That disclaimer aside, enjoy!

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.

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