Installing applications that aren’t available on the App Store, such as emulators or tweaked apps, has never been particularly painless. For the last few years its been possible to install apps using an enterprise certificate from websites like AppValley and TweakBox, but these are prone to being revoked, meaning the app needs to be installed again.
It’s possible to install IPA files on your device using your standard Apple ID, but these limit the functional time of the app to 7 days before it needs to be manually re-signed. Enter AltStore, an app that allows you to install apps using a free Apple ID and automatically re-sign them before they expire.
AltStore works by having the ‘AltServer’ software running on a Windows or Mac computer that is part of your home network. When your iOS device is connected to your home Wi-Fi and the AltServer software is running, it will periodically refresh the apps installed on your device before they expire.
- iTunes (direct from Apple, not Microsoft)
- iCloud (direct from Apple, not Microsoft)
- IPA Files:
– iOS Ninja
– IPA RHINO
Requirements & Notes
- A Windows 10 or macOS 10.4.4+ computer is required
- iTunes and iCloud must be installed on your computer using the installers from Apple, not the Microsoft Store.
- Unless you use a paid Apple developer account you can only install up to 9 apps, and only 3 of them can be ‘active’ at once. This is a limitation enforced for free Apple developer accounts.
- AltStore is still in development and may have bugs. If you have any issues with AltStore, check their FAQ page before asking for help.
- On your Windows 10 or macOS 10.4.4+ computer download AltServer from altstore.io.
– On Windows extract the zip file and run the ‘setup.exe’ file to install AltServer. Once installed open AltServer from the start menu. If any firewall prompts appear make sure to click allow.
– On macOS extract the zip file and move the AltServer app to your Applications folder. Once there open the app. Once open click the AltServer icon in the top-right menu and click ‘Install Mail Plug-in’. Follow the prompts to install the mail plugin which is required on macOS.
- Plug your iOS device into your computer. If it the first time doing so, make sure to trust the connection on both the device and in iTunes on the computer.
- In iTunes open the devices menu, enable ‘Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi’, then click Apply.
- Click the AltServer icon in the bottom right on Windows, or top right on Mac. If it isn’t already, tick ‘Automatically Launch at Startup’. Then, under the ‘Install AltStore’ menu click the name of your device.
- You will need to enter an Apple ID and password to install AltStore with. It is recommended to create a second Apple ID just for this, but any account can be used as long as it does not have two-factor authentication enabled.
- Once logged in, AltStore will begin installing on the device. This could take a few minutes, so be patient until the icon appears on the home screen.
- When the app is installed you will need to trust the Apple ID used before you’ll be able to open it. To do this go to ‘Settings > General > Device Management’, tap the Apple ID used and trust it.
- Open the AltStore app, tap the ‘Settings’ tab, then tap ‘Sign in with Apple ID’. You will then need to sign in with the same Apple ID used previously.
- Tap the ‘My Apps’ tab, then click ‘Refresh All’ to check that the connection to AltServer is working. If it is working a progress bar will appear briefly while the apps are refreshed.
- To install an app download the IPA file from one of the websites linked above or anywhere else you want to download an app from. In the AltStore app under the ‘My Apps’ tab tap the plus icon and select the IPA to install.
NOTE: When installing or refreshing apps you must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the computer running AltServer
- If the IPA is compatible with your device and iOS version it should install and appear on the home screen.
- If you are using a free Apple developer account you can only install up to 9 apps, and only 3 of them can be ‘active’ at once. You can easily switch between active apps inside of AltStore while connected to the same Wi-Fi as AltServer, but inactive apps will not be usable. Apps that are made inactive do not lose any of their data.
Make sure to regularly open the AltStore app to ensure apps are refreshed while connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer. AltServer should be left running whenever your computer is on, and you should leave the computer on for a while at least once a week to ensure apps are automatically refreshed.