iOS apps installer (no iTunes needed)

December 17th, 2012 by Slav

Let’s face it, nobody in their right mind would describe developing applications for Apple as a “pleasant experience”. This is especially true when you’re on a PC. Especially when you compare developing android air app on PC and deploying it for testing on android device.  The amount of hoops apple makes you jump through and the effort needed to deploy your app on device just so you can test it is just downright discouraging.  The fact you need to use iTunes to deploy your app makes it very frustrating, as there’s a limit to a number of computers that are authorised to connect to certain devices, which is a pain if you have a multiple apple devices in the company, that we use for testing and debugging, and each of these when connected would have to be first sync, and depending on the size of your team de authorised from one computer to other, the whole deployment process just took too long and was a major pain.

Thankfully , since couple of month ago and version 3.4 of AIR we can deploy AIR apps directly to apple devices without using iTunes. There are couple of ways to do this – like using ANT scripts if you are using eclipse based IDEs, or command prompt, but none of them are very straightforward and user friendly.

That’s why me and my colleague Ben decided to make a GUI wrapper for this, that would make this matter of a simple drag and drop..

How does it work ?  Simples!



  1. Run Setup.exe to install the app installer application.
  2. Start the application (it will check automatically at the start for usb connected apple devices) if your device wasn’t connected , connect it now, and click “Check connected devices” and make sure your device is found.
  3. Drag your app description xml file onto the app
  4. Drag Your compiled IPA file onto the app
  5. Press install on device.

That’s it!

It might take a minute or two , depending on the size of your app, but after the installation process is done you should have your app deployed on your device.

There are few caveats :

  • this installer works only with ONE apple device connected so make sure you unplug your other devices
  • if your ipa file wouldn’t deploy via iTunes, it won’t deploy via this app either. e.g. it will fail if there’s problem with certificate, or provisioning profile (for example make sure your device is added to the provisioning profile for your app)
  • it will only deploy adHoc profile applications, i.e. those compiled for testing on specific devices, and NOT the general distribution ones, (destined to be distributed via iTunes)

Posted in AIR, AS3, flash

13 Responses

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    I prefer iFunBox! It let you install any IPA, handle several devices and you can even your app by WiFi.

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