SiliconFilter

iOS 5 Beta: So Widely Available Already, Users Leave Negative iTunes Reviews When Apps Crash

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The first developer-only beta version of iOS 5 has only been out for about a week, but it’s already clear that no other pre-release version of iOS has ever seen a wider release beyond the developer community than this one. It’s hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but there are clearly enough users who either paid $99 per year to become part of Apple’s developer program or who paid a rogue activation service a few dollars to get access to the beta that way. As iOS developer Malcom Barclay notes, this wide release has some interesting consequences for developers: some users are now leaving negative iTunes reviews for apps that don’t work on iOS 5 yet.

Ios 5 crashed please fix

Will Apple Crack Down on Fake Developer Accounts and Activation Resellers?

Few companies keep their betas under tighter wraps than Apple and the $99 developer fee has generally kept regular users from just installing a beta out of curiosity. Now, however, the rogue beta activation market continues to grow and even a $99 fee isn’t much of a deterrent anymore for those who really want to get the latest and greatest from Apple a few weeks early. Sadly, it seems some of these users don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘beta’ anymore.

It will be interesting to see if Apple will try to crack down on rogue installs when it’s ready to test the next major version of iOS. There’s little the company can do about those who want to pay $99, but we may see higher fees for developers who want to activate additional UDIDs (currently, every developer account comes with 100 additional activations for beta tests – a loophole that resellers then exploit).

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10:51 pm


Rogue Activation Services Let You Try iOS 5 Today

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Theoretically, only developers currently have access to the latest version of Apple’s iOS 5 software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In reality, however, getting access to beta versions of iOS has never been easier for non-developers. Getting the software (which is easily available if you know how to use Google) is just one part of the process, though. Your phone’s UDID also has to be registered with Apple.

The easiest way to do that is to get a $99 developer account, but for most people, that’s a lot of money just to try out some beta software. Because of this, a large market for rogue iOS activations that allows virtually anyone who is wiling to risk their phone and $5 to $10 is currently flourishing. Some of these services have been around for a while, though most started around the time of the lengthy iOS 4 beta test.

There is, of course, also a well-known way to bypass the activation process altogether by performing a number of well-timed clicks and swipes, but that method leaves the phone part of your iPhone unusable. Using the paid rogue activation method leaves you with a fully functioning device without having to pay $99 for an Apple developer account.

How do these services work? Apple allows every developer to activate a set number of additional iPhones. These rogue activation services simply set up a developer account and then activate as many phones as they can (you have to send them your UDID when you request your activation).

Consider the Risks

There are obviously some risks involved here. Clearly you’re sending money to somebody who may or may not perform the service you requested. I hesitate to link to any of these services here, but if you decide to go this route, make sure to check what others are saying about them on the Web and on Twitter. Besides losing your money (generally between $5 and $10), you also run the risk of bricking your phone (at least temporarily until you can find somebody else who will activate your UDID on his developer account) as you can’t know for sure that your phone’s UDID was activated until you have installed the beta software. Most of these services will email you once they have activated your account, but you have to take them at their word that this is indeed the case.  

As usual, use common sense and proceed at your own risk.

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1:45 am


Twitter Launches New Permissions Screen, Vows to Keep Your Direct Messages Safe

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Twitter just announced that it is launching a redesigned permissions screen today that will make it easier for users to understand which data they are sending to third-party services. In addition, Twitter also announced that apps that “do not need access to your direct messages will no longer have it” by the end of the month. Over the next few days, you will likely see quite a few pop-ups in your third-party Twitter apps that will ask you to confirm that you still want them to be able to access your direct messages.

Keeping your DMs Safe

How exactly Twitter will determine that an app doesn’t need access to your direct messages isn’t clear, but it’s good to see that the company is closing this major security and privacy loophole. Until now, your direct messages were accessible to any third-party app that asked for it as Twitter’s API only supported two types of account authorization: read-only and read-write. There was no way to block third-party apps from accessing your direct messages.

New Permissions Screen

The new permissions screen will also help to explain to users what data you are sharing with a third-party service. To see which apps currently have access to your Twitter data, just head over to the “applications” page for your Twitter account.

new_twitter_permissions_screen



10:14 am