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How To Download iPhone/iPad Apps without Using an Apple ID

Posted by Jamie on July 27, 2019

Are you looking for alternative ways to download apps without using an Apple ID? Do you want to stay legal but work around the system in order to get apps for your iPhone? Do you want to overcome the loss of the App Store in iTunes?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then this tutorial is for you. I’m going to discuss how to install apps without the iTunes and without jailbreaking your iPhone.

The headline was prompted by comments we had received about the loss of the App Store in iTunes version 12.7. While you can still download all the apps you want directly onto your device, those of you with multiple devices didn’t want to have to keep download the same app multiple times.

While the actual subject relates to the App Store, lots of the comments referred to the Apple ID. I’m taking that as meaning you want to load apps as you used to before the disappearance of the App Store and without entering your Apple ID.

Bye-bye App Store

Things used to be so simple as an Apple device owner. You bought your iPhone or iPad, installed iTunes, set up an account, got your Apple ID and linked your iPhone and/or iPad to your account.

You then had a complete self-supporting ecosystem where you could buy music and apps and load them onto your devices with ease.

iOS 12.7 changed all that with the removal of the App Store. Where you could once download apps onto your Mac and manage your mobile devices from there, you now have to download apps directly onto your device. Fine in some ways but not so great in others. So what is an iPhone or iPad owner to do?

You have three main options to overcome this problem:

  • Use a third-party tool to sideload apps onto your device.
  • Jailbreak your iPhone or iPad so you can use alternative app stores.
  • Use an older version of iTunes released by Apple that still supports the App Store.

I’ll discuss each of these options so you can choose the option that’s best for you, though I recommend the option to use an older version of iTunes.

Use a third party tool to sideload apps onto your device

There are lots of tools online that offer to download apps without using your Apple ID or iTunes. Some of them may work but I know some of them don’t because I have tried them.

The upside of using third-party tools is that you gain control of what you put on your device and how you use it. The downside of this approach is that you lose control over what is installed on your device and open up your phone or tablet up to malware. That is, it’s a security risk to use third-party tools to download and install apps.

The other downside of using third party tools is that your Apple ID is added to the digital signature of the app as it is installed.

Jailbreak your device so you can use alternative app stores

Jailbreaking is now easier than ever and there are dozens of tools that walk you through the entire process. It takes less than fifteen minutes and allows you to take control of your phone like Apple never intended.

The upside is that you can use alternative app stores, install any app you like and gain access to iOS core files. The downside is that jailbreaking voids your warranty and you don’t always know what you’re installing. If you’re paying $1000 for an iPhone X do you really want to void the warranty? Do you really want to risk it with malware? Jailbreaking your advice is not a good idea.

While the App Store ecosystem may be restrictive, it is so Apple can ensure the quality and safety of apps. You won’t get that with jailbroken apps.

Use an older version of iTunes released by Apple that still supports the App Store

The real alternative that works, will not void your warranty and maintains the safety and security of your device is to use an older version of iTunes. In answer to the cry of the millions of people lamenting the loss of the App Store in iTunes 12.7, Apple has released iTunes 12.6.3.

Officially, the reason for the changes was to support enterprises who used iTunes to manage multiple devices but anyone can use it. Here’s how you can deploy apps in a business environment with iTunes:

  1. Visit this page on the Apple website.
  2. Select the text link that relates to your computer OS.
  3. Download iTunes 12.6.3 and install it.
  4. Connect, register and sync as you normally would.

This version of iTunes seems similar in almost every way to iTunes 12.7. I don’t know if iTunes 12.6.3 will still be supported and see the forward revisions the release version will.

As Apple needs to keep the enterprise on the side in the face of better Android devices, I would imagine that it will do something to help keep business using Apple devices.

Using iTunes 12.6.3 is a far better alternative than jailbreaking or using third party app installers. iTunes may be restrictive but it is entirely for our own benefit!

If you’re an Apple device user, you might want to check out other TechJunke articles, including How to Cancel App Store Subscriptions via iOS and iTunes and How to Use iOS 12 iPhone Battery Usage and Battery Health Information.

Do you know any other ways to load apps without using an app loader or jailbreaking your device? If so, please tell us about it below if you do!

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