Apple’s iOS 6 was announced during the company’s WWDC conference early last month, and registered iOS developers received a beta version of OS. Registered developers typically pay $99/year for the registration, however, the betas have shown up on numerous sites, other than Apple’s developer portal.
In late June, Wired reported on websites illegally selling developer betas to the public, prior to an official launch. Developers registered to receive the betas are allowed 100 device slots which is being sold on these websites. After the 100 device slots are sold, the person simply opens up another account with Apple to acquire another 100 device slots.
Behind the scenes, each service uses the same simple backdoor: Registered iOS developers can activate up to 100 unique device IDs (or UDIDs) for their account, an essential tool for testing apps on multiple devices. Once registered with Apple, the activated device is also able to run pre-release versions of iOS, though developers are forbidden from sharing pre-release software outside their own team.
This went under the radar for quite some time, without any action from Apple. However, as the issue becomes more widespread and more copies of the betas get out, Apple is beginning to crack down on these websites selling the betas. MacStories contacted the owner of one of the websites who revealed that the website was pulled following a complaint for copyright infringement from Apple.
While most of our emails bounced, we heard back from one of the site owners (who asked to remain anonymous), who confirmed his hosting provider took down the site after a complaint for copyright infringement by Apple. Similarly, the CEO of Fused tweeted in a reply to Andy Baio that Apple had been “fairly heavy-handed” with DMCA requests to UDID-selling sites hosted on their network.
The owner reportedly made $75,000 from such service since the beta release of iOS 6 in June. Apple is likely cracking down in order to prevent this issue from spreading to the OS X Lion platform as well as future iOS betas. It is unclear at this point what other websites have received a claim of copyright infringement, as Apple’s actions are fairly recent. iOS 6 is expected to be released in October, alongside the next generation iPhone 5 and the rumored iPad Mini.