Apple has unveiled a major update to iOS annually for the past five years, but usually delays the public release of that software update until at least a few weeks or months following the announcement. Developers that have officially registered to be part of Apple’s Developer Program for $99 per year, however, are treated with exclusive access to the latest iOS betas within just minutes after they are announced.
Developers are able to register up to 100 iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices to their registered developer account by linking a device’s Unique Device Identifier (UDID) string. Some developers have taken advantage of this registration method that Apple provides by selling UDID activations for around $5 to $10 each.
By doing a quick Google search, you will find a number of different websites that offer these services, which allow a user that is not a developer to pay a small fee to be able to use the latest iOS update — iOS 6 beta, for example — on their device. Find out what makes this process so easy and what action — if any — Apple is taking to prevent this from occurring.
Fortunately for the users that are offering these registration services, Apple does not seem to care too much about the issue. Several webmasters that operate these services have stated that they have not been pressured by Apple whatsoever to shut down their websites or cease what they are doing.
Some developers have turned UDID activations into a lucrative — profitable, in case you were wondering — business, simply setting up more registered developer accounts with Apple for $99 each after they reach the 100 device limit on each. Wired had a chance to speak with the owner of UDID Activation, a website based in Illinois that will active your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad’s UDID for $8.99 each.
The man, who preferred not to be named, talked about how easy the UDID activation process is. “I set up a new Apple developer account every time I need another list,” he said. “I have 30 developer accounts, all with the same name and address, and Apple’s never said anything.”
Apple does mention that developers who breach their Developer Center agreement by offering non-developers access to exclusive beta software can face criminal or civil liability, but it has yet to enforce that policy with any of these backdoor businessmen. Until the Cupertino-based company takes action, these websites will likely continue business per usual.
The legal team at Apple doesn’t seem to care too much about this problem for whatever reasons. Perhaps the company enjoys the profits it makes from selling these extra developer accounts that otherwise might not have been purchased. Nevertheless, iFans still maintains its zero tolerance policy against the buying, selling, soliciting, or sharing of UDID registrations for iOS beta downloads, actions that are strictly forbidden on this website.