Monday, July 9, 2012

Apple Taking Down Sites That Sell iOS Beta Access

The beta releases of Apple's operating systems Mac OS X and iOS are available only to  individuals and companies that are part of the Apple developer program. The cost of being registered as a developer with Apple is $99 a year. This allows developers to publish software on Apple's online stores and get the beta versions of upcoming operating systems so that they can develop apps that will run on them.

However, some people have come up with an innovative new way of exploiting this developer program for extra cash in the past few years that Apple is now cracking down on.
Because large corporations often develop apps, one developer account can activate the beta versions of iOS on up to 100 unique Apple mobile devices for testing purposes. They are also not supposed to talk about the beta software to people who are not developers because of non-disclosure agreements. However, information about the betas are not few and far between on the web anyway.

A bigger problem is that some people have started selling access to developer accounts. They charge people interested in using beta versions of iOS something around $5 to $10 and activate their device's UDID (Unique Device IDs) and let them try out iOS beta.

Thus, they can earn several hundreds of dollars by paying Apple $99. When an account they are using runs out of capacity for more activations, they purchase new accounts. Therefore, they can earn several thousands of dollars using a bunch of Apple developer accounts.

Some websites had started up that offered these 'services'. This caused thousands and thousands of device activations recently.

Apple has started taking strict action against these people. Instead of simply revoking access to their accounts, Apple is also filing DMCA takedown requests to firms hosting these websites, thus effectively taking down many of these operations completely.

MacStories emailed a few of the sites that got shut down and while most emails didn't get replies, an anonymous website owner reported that they had earned more than $75,000 with their 'services'.