iOS beta

Apple is shutting down websites that sell access to the company’s iOS betas, according to MacStories, disrupting a generally unseen business that was making tens of thousands of dollars annually.

We can’t say we’re surprised. In June, Wired ran a story about the underground industry of selling iOS 6 betas, or activating a phone’s UDID so that it can access the latest form of Apple’s unreleased mobile operating systems. The story cited a number of websites that sell these betas, many of which MacStories noticed are being shut down. These include,,, and others. One website owner confirmed that the sites were being taken down as a result of Apple intervention.

Apple releases betas of these operating systems so that developers, who pay $99 to get an account, can spot issues and provide suggestions on how the iOS version could be better prior to release. Mac OS X versions are also available through this beta plan. Those with a developer account can activate the beta on not just their phone, but 99 others as well, which is where the black market begins.

One hundred activations cost a developer $99 for the account, but those extra betas are often sold for less than $10 each. Wired notes that one website, UDID Activation, posted its sales on its website, boasting more than $20,600 in revenue for only one week. The site, which has survived the Apple fray, no longer displays this information, according to MacStories.

As opposed to cherry picking the founders and employees of each of these websites, it seems Apple is simply issuing take-down requests to Internet Service Providers citing copyright infringement. The company is also targeting those selling Mac OS X betas.

Apple recently announced at its WWDC conference that iOS 6 will be released fully sometime this fall.

via MacStories; iPhone image via kpvl/Flickr

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