Sideloading Apps on iOS/iPad
Since many useful apps on App Store are completely paid or rental, it makes the buying process difficult a lot of times. There are of course generous free tiers available in certain apps, like GoodNotes – a great note taking app for iPad (now multi-platform supported), but a significant number of apps are completely behind paywall like ProCreate - a drawing and illustration app for artists.
It is normal & a good practice to test an entity or service before actually paying for it. Because sometimes we are not sure about our decision so getting a chance to test out the stuff would make the buying experience overall good & frictionless.
There might be a genuine reason for certain cases where an app or service needs to be absolutely paid but for say a drawing app – it doesn’t make sense.
Having that said, I recently started exploring the domain of sideloading apps on iPad. Unlike Android Apple doesn’t allow installing apps on iOS/iPad outside of AppStore without jailbreak or without signing, that is exactly where Sideloading helps.
Sideloading is the process of installing an application or software onto a device from a source other than the official app store or marketplace.
It was solely out of curiosity. I started with my browser – 🦆🦆Go, upon searching I found a couple of reddit posts with details on the topic. I knew a couple of instances already where modified .ipas were shared, I just needed the help on sideloading part, which was also compensated by reddit & the docs.
I am currently using AltStore for sideloading apps on my iPad. AltStore requires a PC. There also exists a fork of AltStore called SideStore which doesn’t require a PC.
After configuring AltStore, I went on with sideloading ad-free & premium-unlocked app of Infuse. I downloaded the .ipa from a Telegram channel & got it installed. It took a minute or so. The app was working like charm. Next I installed ad-free version of Youtube with Sponsor-block which auto-skips the promotional clips from the videos. The app also features downloading with the help of uYou.
I also tried ProCreate but the app had some issues and was crashing repeatedly. Same occured with GoodNotes. I later removed all the apps except Youtube.
Secondly due to Apple’s restrictions only 3 sideloaded apps can be active at a time. If you try to activate more than 3 apps, you will be prompted to “deactivate” a sideloaded app first. Also The Apps need to be refreshed every seven days else they will stop working.
Resources to get started
I’m not documenting the entire process step by step, instead I will link to the related resources that will help you with the process.
- A complete beginners guide to sideloading
- Noob Guide To Sideloading In iOS
- Offical Docs AltStore
- Telegram IPA Library
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