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First off let’s get one thing clear. I am in no way in support of limitless piracy and am not instructing you to stop paying for apps on your iPhone in favor of the method of which I am about to inform you. I am however, a huge supporter of try-before-you-buy, most especially when concerning software. Regrettably, try-before-you-buy doesn’t actually seem to exist in the mobile market, regardless of which OS/Manufacturer cult you chose to adhere. This is one of the many reasons I chose to jailbreak my iDevices. While becoming increasingly rare, there are still many developers that provide a limited trial period for desktop environment software, the lack of this in Mobile computing, to me, is unacceptable. While you’re thinking about hacking your phone, you might also be interested in our review of the hacked iPhone Netflix application. So in response to this, I’m going to tell you how to try out apps before making the iTunes plunge, and all without jailbreaking your iPhone.
As with so many things pirated, this exploit comes out of China. There is a term that says something about the oppressed always finding a way to escape oppression, and ihelper is proof of this. The ihelper program is moderately simple, despite its being in Chinese. Fret not, I’ve provided pics and have highlighted the areas you need to concern yourself with most. The program ihelper bypasses most of the verification systems that Apple uses to prevent pirated apps from being installed on iDevices. How does it do so? With code and magic fairy dust, I’m not sure. All I’m sure of at this moment it that it works.
First steps first, before you can start using ihelper to get apps onto your iPhone, you’ll need to download ihelper. This was the most painstaking task for me as, after learning of the program, I was unable to locate an instillation file of it. After an embarrassingly long while, I came across a link to the PC version compressed into a RAR file. Yes, I know, RAR files can contain malicious software within, so I took the extra step of extracting it to an old laptop I don’t use anymore and scanning it there. Once I found it to be clean of anything overtly suspicious, I went ahead and tried it out. Please take note, I have not yet found a version that works in OSX, which means you’ll need Windows to run this tool.
Since ihelper comes to you in a compressed file format, you’re going to have to extract it in order to run it. If you’ve got WinZip or WinRAR, right click the ihelper RAR and extract it to its own folder. Open up that folder and you’ll see a new sub folder named “pp-pc”. The ihelper executable in held within this folder.
Now that you’re in “pp-pc” you should see the ihelper.exe. Double click that to begin. When ihelper first connects, Windows may ask you if it should allow ihelper to connect via your network. If you want to search for apps via ihelper, it’ll need to connect to the network, so go ahead and click yes.
Now that ihelper is running, it’ll display a screen directing you to plug your iPhone in. Do that.
Now that your iPhone is plugged in, click on the highlighted area in the image above. That will take you to the app search page. Type the name of the app you’re looking to test in the search bar and press enter. You then be given a results page.
Hover over the app you’re looking for and click on the left icon that appears under its title. That will begin the download and instillation process.
Once the app’s ipa file has completed downloading, click on the area I’ve highlighted in the image above to get to the screen that will give you the option to install your downloaded app. Now click the button with the blue loopy arrow under your iPhone’s name to begin the instillation process.
Keep an eye on your iPhone, once the icon for your new app appears on screen, the instillation is complete. Unplug your device and get to testing.
Now you know how to install free apps on your iPhone. If you like the app, please go ahead and download it through the AppStore. There are people who depend on app sales to pay their rent and if they’ve built a solid product that you enjoy, why not drop a buck or two in support of it?
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