How can I install Apple apps without App Store?

There are a few different ways to install Apple apps on your iPhone or iPad without using the App Store. While the App Store is the easiest and most common way to get new apps, there are situations where you may need to install apps through other methods.

Using Third Party App Stores

One option is to use a third party app store like TutuApp, AppValley, or TweakBox. These services provide apps and games that are not available on the official App Store. To use them, you’ll need to install the third party store’s app on your device, which may require some extra steps like using a computer to sideload the app.

Here are the basics steps for using a third party app store:

  1. On your computer, go to the website for the third party app store you want to use. Look for a link to download the app file for the store.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer and open iTunes. Click on your device icon in iTunes.
  3. Go to the File Sharing section in iTunes. Drag and drop the app file you downloaded into the Documents section.
  4. The app should now appear on your iOS device. Open it and you can browse and download apps from the third party store.
  5. For apps to work properly, you may need to go into Settings -> General -> Device Management and trust the developer certificate for the app.

The downside to using third party app stores is that they violate Apple’s terms of service. There are risks involved, like potential security issues or impacts to device stability. Proceed with caution.

Using Developer Enterprise Apps

Some apps are distributed through enterprise developer programs, outside of the consumer App Store. Companies often use these for internal apps for employees. In some cases, individuals can get access to these as well.

For example, some large companies like Facebook and Google make certain apps available only through their enterprise program. The apps won’t show up in the App Store, but can be installed if you have the mobileconfig or manifest.plist file.

To install one of these enterprise apps:

  1. Get the necessary file from the developer’s website or an internal source.
  2. Open the file on your device to start the install process.
  3. Go to Settings -> General -> Device Management and trust the developer certificate.
  4. The app icon will now appear on your home screen and you can open it.

Enterprise apps distribute through Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program, so they do comply with Apple’s guidelines. However, the apps are still intended for internal employee use only.

Using Development Profiles and Certificates

If you are part of the Apple Developer Program, you can develop and test your own apps using development profiles and certificates. These allow you to install unsigned IPA app files on your own devices without going through the App Store review process.

Here is an overview of how to do this:

  1. Develop your app code using Xcode.
  2. In your Apple Developer account, create a Development iOS App Development provisioning profile.
  3. Build your app in Xcode to generate an IPA file.
  4. Drag the IPA file into iTunes under your connected iOS device.
  5. Trust your development certificate on the device by going to Settings -> General -> Device Management.
  6. You can now launch your unsigned app directly from the home screen.

This method only works while your developer account is active. The app will only run on devices you have added to your development profile. And you’ll need to rebuild the IPA each time you edit code in Xcode. But it allows complete freedom to test your own apps.

Using Apple Configurator 2

Schools and businesses can manage fleets of iOS devices through the Apple Configurator 2 app. This allows them to install custom in-house apps outside of the App Store on many devices at once.

To do this, an organization would:

  1. Acquire an Apple Developer Enterprise account.
  2. Develop a custom iOS app and compile it into an IPA file.
  3. Install Apple Configurator 2 on a Mac computer.
  4. Connect their iOS devices to the Mac using USB.
  5. In Configurator, add the IPA file to deploy to the connected devices.
  6. Apply that configuration profile to install the app.

The app will now install over the air on all selected devices without using the App Store. This relies on the trusted relationship between the devices and Configurator app.

Jailbreaking Your Device

Jailbreaking removes many of the default restrictions on iOS, enabling you to install unsupported apps. But this requires exploiting security vulnerabilities in the OS, so Apple constantly patches jailbreaks. And jailbreaking comes with significant drawbacks:

  • Voids your device warranty
  • Can reduce system stability and performance
  • Increases security risks
  • May prevent future OS updates
  • Against Apple’s terms of use

That said, here is the general process to jailbreak and install apps:

  1. On your computer, download the jailbreak tool compatible with your iOS version.
  2. Connect your device and run the jailbreak tool.
  3. This modifies the OS to remove restrictions and allow app installs from outside sources.
  4. You can then install apps through package managers like Cydia or Sileo.
  5. Jailbreaking is complex – do your research to avoid issues down the road.

Using a Virtual iPhone

If you just need to test having certain apps for development purposes, you can use a virtual iPhone. Software like Corellium or Xamarin Test Cloud lets you create virtual iOS devices on which you can install any apps for testing.

This is common for app developers who need to check compatibility across many iOS versions. Virtual iPhones allow that without requiring physical devices. Related software like even lets you make those apps accessible from any web browser.

So in summary, the main options for installing apps outside the App Store are:

Method Intended Use Downsides
Third Party App Stores Get apps not in App Store Security risks, TOS violations
Enterprise Apps Internal organization apps Limited app selection
Development Profiles Test your own apps Temporary, complex
Apple Configurator Custom apps for businesses Only works for organization
Jailbreaking Remove iOS restrictions Instability, voids warranty
Virtual iPhones App testing and development Not on real devices


Installing apps outside the App Store comes with tradeoffs in convenience, security, and stability. For most users, the App Store is still the best choice for finding and downloading apps. But for developers, testers, and IT managers, alternative installation methods provide important flexibility.

The key is matching the install method to your specific needs and weighing the pros and cons. Jailbreaking and third party app stores entail the most risk. Enterprise program apps offer the most convenience for large organizations. And virtual iPhones are great for isolated testing environments.

With some technical know-how, you can utilize these techniques to install Apple apps without the App Store. But approach unsupported methods with caution and understand the limitations involved.

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