As you’ve likely heard, iOS 9 allows you to sideload apps on to your iPhone or iPad using Xcode 7. This means that you can find an open source app, load it into Xcode, and deploy it to your device, bypassing the App Store in the process. All of this can be done without a paid developer account.

This essentially amounts to Apple “opening up” iOS to all apps. All it takes is a little knowledge of Xcode 7, an iPhone or iPad running iOS 9, and a little bit of time. Of course, there are always variations and one-offs that appear from time to time, but for the most part, sideloading apps is easy. In this post, we’ll show you how.

Note: Before we get started, be sure to only sideload apps that you trust. Since these apps are open source, look through the code if you wish to see what the app is doing. If you’re not comfortable wading through code, be sure that others have vouched for the app before deploying anything your device. Remember, these apps have not been reviewed by Apple.

This tutorial will serve as sort of a reference guide for all of our posts that involve sideloading an app. In this example I’m going to use GitHub as our source for apps.

Create a developer account

This isn’t a paid developer account, but it’s a developer account nonetheless. If you already have a developer account, you can skip this section, otherwise you want to create one now. Keep in mind that a normal Apple ID can be turned into a developer account.

Create Developer Account

To create a developer account, visit Apple’s developer website at http://developer.apple.com. Once there, click the Member Center option in the upper right-hand corner, and click Create Apple ID. From there, it’s just a matter of filling out the requested information to create your account. Once you have created your account, you can move on to the next step. If you already have an Apple ID, log in with that ID to turn the account into a developer account.

Download Xcode 7

Xcode 7

You’ll need Xcode 7 to sideload apps to your iPhone. There’s simply no way around this. Xcode 7 is a large download, so you definitely want to initiate the download as soon as possible. You can find Xcode 7 on the Mac App Store. Once you download it, launch the app and complete the setup.

Add your developer account to Xcode 7

Add Developer Account Xcode 7

Launch Xcode 7 and go to Xcode →  Preferences → Accounts. Click the + button in the bottom left-hand corner, and select Add Apple ID. Type in your Apple ID and Password and click Add.

Find the app you wish to sideload

GitHub is a great resource for open source apps. In this example, I’m going to show you how to quickly sideload an app called Gamma Thingy. This is an app that allows for changes to the iPhone’s screen gamma settings for comfortable viewing in low light settings.

GitHub sideload apps

In the bottom right-hand corner of an app’s GitHub page, you’ll see a text box containing the HTTPS clone URL. Copy the URL listed there, in this case: https://github.com/thomasfinch/GammaThingy.git

Check Out the code in Xcode

Download GitHub Xcode 7

Open Xcode 7 and click Source Control → Check Out. In the repository location box, paste the URL you copied in the last step and click next. Click the Download button that appears to download the source code to your Mac and import into Xcode 7. Once the code is fully loaded, you will see the name of the project followed by ‘Ready‘.

Connect your iOS 9 device

Connect iPhone Xcode 7

Connect your iPhone running iOS 9 to your Mac via USB. Select your device from the drop down box next to the project name near the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Keep in mind that it may take a while to fully process the symbol files needed for your connected device.

Build and deploy the app

Xcode 7 Build Succeded

Once the status says Ready, click the Play icon (Play Icon Xcode) to begin the build process. Depending on the app involved, this may take a while. Once the app is built, it should appear on your iPhone’s Home screen. Unlock your device, and launch the app from your iPhone to verify that it works.

Untrusted Developer

You may need to allow the app on your device before you can begin using it. To do so, go to Settings → General → Profile → Your Apple ID → and tap Trust.

Untrusted Developer

Of course, there are numerous things that could potentially prevent you from successfully deploying an app to your iPhone. It could be bad code, the wrong version of iOS, the wrong version of Xcode, or any problem in between. Or, if you do get the app deployed, there could be logic errors in the code preventing it from working properly.

The point is, it may take some time for you to get this right, especially if you’ve never used Xcode before. But don’t give up, it’s very rewarding to be able to take an app that you see online, and deploy it on your own. Just be careful not to install anything that looks shady, or that hasn’t been vouched for via trusted sources or via us here at iDB.

What do you think? Do you have any additional tips or suggestions that might help our readers? Sound off and let us know.

  • Stayo

    Can u do this with cydia

    • Anonymous

      Thats the question i have too. I suppose you could. But i think the problem might be with apple sand box the tweaks might not work. But i also dont much about the detials of that. Im better with chemistry rather then computer.

    • Favna

      I mean… I know it’s not really everything.. but there is appsync unified from karen pineapple’s repo alongside with some way to install .ipa’s (be that an app such as appcake – DO NOT DO PIRACY FOR THE LOVE OF ALL!! or be that one of those script ipa installers that are on Cydia)

    • Nino

      Of course not, Cydia is not just a standalone app. What do you think it does when you jailbreak and open it? “Preparing filesystem”….there you go.

      • CryptoCoin420

        It was a legit question, you don’t have to be a dick.

  • Moviebox here I come!

    • Mr.Coolfreak

      you found the link for it on github?

      • Nah waiting on someone else to.

      • Rowan09

        They have it at iemulator on their store. I have it on my 6S Plus right now.

      • Nice ima look it up

      • Thanks I have it on my phone now whoo

      • GeekCornerUK

        I believe it expires every 90 days though

      • It says you have access for a whole year.

      • GeekCornerUK

        Ah that’s good last I heard was side loading was 90 days

      • Rowan09

        He didn’t side load it he got it from iemulator.

      • GeekCornerUK

        Ok now I get it

      • That’s due to the free developer account I believe. Buying the $99 one would allow you to have it forever if I’m not mistaken.

      • GeekCornerUK

        Ah ok

      • NeftyCorrea

        just for a year .

      • Well I think the app stays on your phone but you no longer have access to the site so you can’t get updates through the site but the app will still function.

      • NeftyCorrea

        oh alright bro. yea thats true

    • Smeltn

      You can already get Moviebox from vshare which you can get without jailbreak

      • Thanks for the tip.

      • Pokeh321

        Is that safe

      • GeekCornerUK

        Apple often pulls the certificates though so I use a signing service

      • Chris

        Is there a way to get music box I try loads and won’t load keep getting error about banned account or something googled it and music box needs updating but Carnt get it loaded without jailbrake

    • Yunik

      i think instead of movie box someone should bulit a torrent client for iOS like this Gammathingy app. which will help us download any torrent movies and file. what do you think?

      • I prefer to stream and save my space. But they do have a torrent app for iOS.

      • Yunik

        can you please tell me whats the name of the app, and where can i find it?

      • It’s called itransmission, search iemulators and look on their build store.

      • Yunik

        it does not works, hasn’t been updated since 2014

      • Are you jailbroken?

      • Nevertrending

        I use it daily, it works. Might need to fix write permissoons only after install with ifile/filza

  • Rodney Coleman

    Yea you can always do this lol any OS… Always wrote my ipa for my device with movie box

    • 1d3rboy

      I am pretty sure the NEW part is that you can do this with a FREE developer account.

  • Anonymous

    Hey jeff how would you delete an app you side load? I havent side loaded a app because I don’t want to put software on my phone without beging able to review it. Maybe you could write another post? =]

    • Delete it like you delete any other app. Hold then press “x”

      • Anonymous

        Its that easy huh.

  • Luke Per

    In the near future, you should post and talk about a list of xcode apps that iDB approves of. That would be awesome to have especially for new users of xcode like me.

    • Tommy Gumbs

      Brilliant idea.

  • Joonyaboy

    Is Gamma Thingy like f.lux? Only reason left for me to jailbreak. And faster animations

  • Chirag

    How do I do this if I have an ipa file like movie box or music box?

  • TotallySerious

    You can finally get GBA4IOS 2 on ios 9 with this!!

  • Luke Per

    how come when i am trying to create a developer account, it says i will be charged $99 annually?

    • Josh Venegas

      same here

  • Rob

    Installing virtualbox on my PC right now. Then installing Mac OS X. Then Xcode. Hope it works

  • Kenneth Delgado

    Could I side load Tweebot 4?

    • Nino

      Yes…but it has DRM.

  • Jake Dai

    Met some issues while I was trying to load the application into my phone, but finally solved. One thing really worth to say is, this thing includes a 3D Touch function to let users quickly enable/disable the mode, which is so cool.

  • André Le Comte

    Does this allow unsigned code to run on iOS without a jailbreak?

    • Nino

      No, it’s not unsigned code. It’s resigned code. The code has to signed for it to run.

  • Rob_Huska

    I am trying to install GammaThingy, and I keep getting “No provisioning profile found”. Any ideas?

  • Eric Latawiec

    any one else have issues with this error?

    • Rob_Huska

      Same, can’t figure it out.

    • NeftyCorrea

      same here man i getting all these types of errors you think it because I’m on iOS 9.1 ?

      • Michael

        anything after iOS 8.4 requires code 7.1

      • NeftyCorrea

        yea i just noticed i was getting angry lol. im downloading xcode beta so i can get my phone to actually be available.

      • A. Tasso

        Tried downloading 7.1 and I am still getting an error message, “an app ID with identifier de.nautigg.me.thomasfinch.GammaTest is not available. please enter a different string”. please help!

    • Blake Royer

      Yes, same issue here.

    • Blake Royer

      just change the bundle id of the app itself. it will build just fine! good luck!

      • A. Tasso

        what bundle id do you use? I tried entering something random (“test”) but it would not accept it

      • Blake Royer


        worked for me. you may also have to delete the github page from the accounts tab in preferences.

      • Rob_Huska

        Yep that’s what did it for me.

  • Yunik

    can anyone tell me how this app is working even outside the app itself. and why doesn’t apple allows this app in appstore?

  • Fly_with_me

    I haven’t got any Mac. Boring!

  • So expensive but have good quality, but still too expensive. Leave it…

  • Picapollo

    Can you guys make list of apps to install with Xcode7.?

  • Scott Werner

    Has anyone been able to sideload kodi ?

    • Collin

      Yes I found a forum that helped me out.

      • Scott Werner

        Can you give a link to the forum.

  • Vasili Halai

    So has anyone succeeded? After I install it on my device it works very weirdly, showing various glitches on the screen. It’s definitely not what it should look like. What might be the problem?

    • A. Tasso

      how did you get past the error message, “an app ID with identifier de.nautigg.me.thomasfinch.GammaTest is not available. please enter a different string”. I downloaded xcode 7 and beta 7.1 and neither works. please help!

      • Vasili Halai

        Change it from de.nautigg.me.thomasfinch.GammaTest to something like yourname.GammaTest

  • Aman kapoor

    Any Windows version available?

  • I’m just waiting for a tethering app. That is the ONLY thing I need out of a jailbreak. The ability to tether as much as I want.

  • Abdulrahman

    can anyone explain this tools in video? 🙁 !!

  • XcodeGhost

    No Xcode on Windows?

  • Buck

    Awesome guide!! Thank you!

    Anyone have some good sources for finding cool things to sideload?

  • Hendra Wijaya

    Hi Guys,
    I got an error like this when i click ‘Fix Issue’. I already click that reset button but that error still pop up and build failed. Please help me solve this problem -_-

  • david

    I followed these steps but received the error code that said: An App ID with Identifier ‘me.caspercl.GammaTest’ is not available. Please enter a different string.

    • James

      I have something similar: “An App ID with Identifier ‘me.ahammer.GammaTest.GammaWidget’ is not available. Please enter a different string.”

      Anyone know the solution?

  • S M

    Does this mean someone can create a modified version of say, whatsapp, where you can send full res photos, and sideload the app?

    • Cameron Jones

      No, because when you are on whatsapps servers you and your app follow any rules or guidelines they have. Its like if you went to school and they gave you a device and when you try to log on to social media it blocks you, now this would not change even if you brought your own devise… See what I mean? Ideally I guess someone can make a clone of the app that can do that and run on their server but its just not logical or probable to waste time on it.

  • how can i install xcode on windows?

  • patricia

    I can’t get xcode 7 to see my iphone 6s plus 🙁

  • Valle641

    Do you have to redo this process every 7 days or is it one year?

  • raju