Installing an AdHoc Build manually


When we’re developing apps, we often want to share private builds with partners, clients, and alpha testers.

Often, we’ll use services like TestFlight to make this as simple as possible. However, those services sometimes stop working (TestFlight in particular seems to occasionally develop long term problems with a particular iPad / iPhone / etc).

So, we might ask you to do a manual install instead. It’s a quick process, but you have to download a special Apple app (for Windows or Mac) to do it for you.

NOTE: we do NOT want you to use iTunes for this process! iTunes is slower and more difficult to get right – Apple has a faster, simpler app that will do it!

Step 1: Download and install iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU)

Download links

  • Windows: Download – Apple broke this link
    • UPDATE: Apple’s webteam keeps moving this page, for no good reason. You can always find it by googling “iPhone configuration Utility download Windows”.
    • As of Dec 2011, the link is now: Download
  • Mac OS X: Download

Step 2: “install” the app on your local computer

iPCU will install the app on your phone – but it needs to know where to find the app in the first place!

We will supply you with an AdHoc copy of the app. This is a file with a name ending in “.ipa”, e.g:



  1. Run iPCU. The interface looks like iTunes, but simpler.
  2. On the left hand side, at the top, is a section “Applications” – click on this.
  3. Drag/drop the “.ipa” file from Finder (OS X) or Windows Explorer (Windows) into the list of Applications at the top right of the screen.

Done! When we send you a new version of the app, you need to repeat the steps above, to OVERWRITE the old version.

Step 3: Connect your iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad

Run iPCU, and on the left hand side you’ll have an interface that looks just like iTunes. When you plug in your iPhone/iPad, wait a few seconds, and it will appear at the bottom of the list, under “DEVICES”. Click on the device name to select it:

Step 4: Select the OTHER “Applications” (the one on the Device!) and Install

(to repeat: in Step 3, you should have clicked on the device on the left hand side)

On the RIGHT of the screen, you’ll now see 5 tabs with info about your device. Select the one titled “Applications”

You’ll see a list of apps installed on the device, and each one has a button, either “INSTALL” or “REMOVE”.

Find the app that you want to install, in the list, and hit the “Install” button to install it.

All done! No need to “Sync iTunes”, no wait – it’s usually instantaneous.