Installing the iOS 13 Beta Using a Windows 10 Computer

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I feel compelled to add to my post from earlier today, because the instructions in the Redmond Pie article I linked to left something to be desired. I have a feeling they didn’t try them out before they posted it, because they don’t work without some extra steps and considerations. So if you are a Windows user, have an Apple Dev Account and want to give the iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 Beta a go, here is what you need to do.

First off, they did have the basics right. You do need iTunes. However, they didn’t point out that it does matter which one you load. If you don’t remember, Apple made iTunes available in the Microsoft Store a few months ago. However, that version does not work for this process. I know because I loaded this version earlier today and ran into snags. If you installed iTunes from the Store, you need to uninstall it and download install file directly from Apple’s website and run and install it.

Go here to get to the Windows download page for iTunes and STOP RIGHT THERE. The link there is for the Windows Store version that you don’t want.

Scroll down just a bit and click the Windows link under Looking for other versions?

Now you will see this link, which is the one you need.

You’re Welcome.

Now you need to go to GitHub and download a set of files called libimobile2019. You will have to sign up for a free account. Once you do, just do a search for libimobile2019 and select the first option. Download the zipped version of the files to your desktop and extract them to the location of your choice. If you don’t want to do the signup process, this direct link should work.

Now, before doing anything else, be sure you have a backup. My recommendation is to make sure you have a current iCloud backup and then make a local backup using iTunes, as this will be faster to restore from if you run into trouble.

Now you need to open a Command Prompt. Not a Windows Power Shell, but an old school Command Prompt. Since Microsoft hides all of these things now, the easiest way to access it in Windows 10 is to either click the Start Button and press the Windows key on the keyboard. Then start typing Command Prompt and it will show up.

When the window opens, type cd and then press the space bar. Then you need to drag the folder named libimobile2019-master onto the Command Prompt window. Bear in mind that you may have two folders with the same name. You are dragging the one that has several files in it. In my case, it looked like this:

Press Enter and your Command Prompt will be cued up and ready.

Now, I have assumed that you have an Apple Dev Account, that you have registered the UDID of your Apple device and have downloaded the appropriate IPSW beta file. If you haven’t done these things, then you are wasting your time trying to load the beta.

Once you have the proper file, let’s do a little housecleaning. To make things easy, move the IPSW file into the same libimobile2019-master folder we dealt with earlier. The same folder that has several executable files in it. Then rename it to restore.ipsw so it will be a little easier to deal with.

Now it’s time to go back to Command Prompt. You will be running the executable called idevicerestore.exe, so you want to type idevicerestore into the Command Prompt window, followed by a space, then -d, then another space and finally restore.ipsw. It will look like this:

idevicerestore -d restore.ipsw

And like this in the window:

Make sure your device is connected to your computer and ready to roll. Then press Enter and away you go. Probably. At least for a minute. This is where I hit my big snag.

Evidently, there is a driver associated with iOS devices in Restore Mode that causes problems with this process. If your install fails with a message about iBEC, don’t worry. You haven’t messed anything up. Your device hasn’t even started the actual restore process yet. You will need to open the Device Manager if this does happen to you. As with Command Prompt, just open the Start Menu and start typing the name and it will come up.

Scroll down to the Universal Serial Bus devices and look for “Apple Recovery (iBoot) USB Composite Device.” Right-click and choose to “Uninstall this device.” Be sure to check the box for “Delete the software driver for this device” in the popup before confirming.

Once you have done this, repeat the steps to get:

idevicerestore -d restore.ipsw

in the window. This time, your device should clear Restore mode without issue. If anything else happens, just try it again. I had to run this three or four times before I got the right iTunes and the driver in question removed properly.

Assuming all is well, after a reboot you should see the familiar iOS Load Progress screen. However, it will be accompanied by a lot of activity in the Command Prompt window.

If this is unfamiliar territory for you and messages containing the phrases “timeout” and “no data found” make you squeamish, then you may want to get up and find something else to do for the next ten minutes or so.

After the DONE message above, I got the Black with White Apple Logo reboot screen, followed by the White on Black reboot screen showed at the top of the article. That was up for a few minutes before I saw the following:

Don’t freak out. It’s fine. Once this progress bar completed, there was one more and then my iPad Pro rebooted one more time and the login screen came up. Just to clarify, I didn’t lose any data, either. All of my data and apps were still installed.

I will say that iPadOS 13 is really buggy so far in my limited amount of testing. My Face ID doesn’t work at all, but I haven’t had time to look into that yet. My iPad can read the files on an SD Card but can’t do anything with them yet, while a thumb drive works just fine. It could be the formatting, but I will be shocked if they aren’t the same. A couple of apps don’t work. A lot of this is expected, but if you aren’t used to running betas, some of this may bother you, so be advised.

My family and I are driving home from our summer vacation tomorrow, so I went ahead and did this so I could get some testing time in while we’re on the road. When we get back home, I may swap my iPad Pro back to iOS 12 and use the new iPad Air as my testing machine since I don’t use it for work or anything really important. But until then, my Pro will let me kick the tires on all the new goodies.

Don’t take this as a definitive guide, as I didn’t come up with it. I got all of this information from a variety of sources. I just thought I would try and put it together in one place to make it easy on other Windows users who also want to get an early look at the new Apple goodies.





James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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