Apple’s iOS 14 is here. With it, you’ll see over 200 new features and changes hit your iPhone, including home screen widgets, inline replies in Messages, and cycling routes in Maps. Best of all, you don’t need to wait to try out all of these awesome new updates since you can install the iOS 14 “golden master” (GM) version right now.

So, what’s a GM? Golden masters allow Apple to test out a piece of software they consider “finished” for the last time. Beta testers get the software a few days ahead of the general public, giving Apple one last chance to confirm that there won’t be any major bugs or issues when the software goes live for everyone. Developers can also finalize any kinks in their own software so that users can update both iOS and their apps smoothly on day one.

While the GM is available earlier than the public release, you shouldn’t be worried about downloading it on your iPhone. With virtually all recent versions of iOS, the GM is exactly the same as the official release, so the risk that iOS 14 GM carries significant bugs or issues is low.

Method 1: Sign Up for the Beta Program

If you’re an iOS 13 beta tester, you’ll need to remove your iOS 13 public beta profile to proceed. To remove it, go to Settings –> General –> Profile –> iOS 13 & iPadOS 13 Beta Software Profile –> Remove Profile, then enter your passcode and confirm with “Remove.”

Below are the instructions for joining the iOS 14 public beta. If you were already running the iOS 14.0 public beta and still have the profile installed, skip to number 16 below in the list. Developers can see our iOS 14 beta guide for installation steps.

  1. Archive your backup via iTunes or Finder, if you haven’t done so already.
  2. On your iPhone, head to beta.apple.com.
  3. Tap the “Sign Up” or “Sign In” option.
  4. Enter your Apple ID and password to log in, then follow the prompts if you have 2FA enabled.
  1. “Trust” your browser if you haven’t logged into your Apple account recently from it.
  2. Read and “Accept” the Apple Beta Software Agreement, if any shows up.
  1. Head to beta.apple.com/profile to enroll your iPhone in the beta program or tap on the “enroll your iOS device” link after signing in and accepting the agreement.
  2. Tap the “Download profile” link halfway down this page.
  1. Tap “Allow” on the pop-up to view the configuration profile.
  2. It will tell you after that it has been downloaded. Tap “Close.”
  1. Open Settings, then tap the “Profile Downloaded” link at the top. If you don’t see that, go to Settings –> General –> Profile –> iOS 14 & iPadOS 14 Beta Software Profile.
  2. Select “Install” in the top right of the profile’s details page.
  3. Enter your iPhone’s passcode in to confirm.
  1. Read the Consent form, then tap “Install” in the top right, followed by “Install” in the action sheet to confirm.
  2. A prompt may appear asking you to restart to apply the changes. Tap “Restart” if you see it. If you don’t see it, tap “Done” on the Profile Installed page, and you’re good to go.
  1. Head to Settings –> General –> Software Update.
  2. If it’s your first time installing the iOS 14 public beta profile, the update should already be downloading. If you’re trying to get a subsequent iOS 14 update, select “Download and Install,” and enter your passcode to confirm.
  3. If the Terms & Conditions screen appears, tap “Agree,” then finish installing the iOS 14 beta like you would any other iOS update.

Method 2: Installing the IPSW File with Your Computer

If you don’t want to sign up for Apple’s beta program, you can always install the GM seed via the IPSW file. You will need to use a computer to get the job done. If you’re using a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, you’ll do so with Finder. For all previous versions of macOS, you’ll install the file using iTunes.

If you use Windows, you should try using 3uTools as, unfortunately, you can’t install iOS 14 GM with an IPSW file outside of macOS. Full disclosure, we haven’t tested the tool ourselves.

Step 1: Download the Right IPSW File

Not all IPSW files are alike. While all iOS 14 GM IPSW files will install the GM, you need to use the one specific to your particular iPhone. We’ve added links for all of the iPhones compatible with iOS 14 below. These links are verified through Apple, and are 100% legitimate and safe.

Unlike Method 1, which uses the public GM, these links use the developer GM. You’ll need either macOS Catalina or Xcode 12 installed on your computer to use these links (you don’t need to install the full Xcode app if you install the mobiledevice.pkg instead). Of course, if you happen to be a developer, you can just snag the IPSW file from the developer’s site.

iOS 14 & iPadOS 14 GM Seed Links:

Once you have the IPSW file on your computer, installing iOS 14 GM is a breeze. Just follow these simple steps:

Step 2: Connect Your iPhone to Your Mac or PC

With a Lightning to USB cable or Lightning to USB-C cable, connect your iPhone to your computer.

Step 3: Unlock Your iPhone (If Necessary)

If you’re greeted with the “Unlock iPhone to Use Accessories” popup on your iPhone, unlock your iPhone with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode.

Step 4: Trust Your Computer (If Necessary)

If this is the first time your iPhone is connecting to your computer, you’ll likely have to “Trust” the computer to proceed. Just follow the instructions on your iPhone and computer. You can untrust the computer at any time after, if you’d like.

Step 5: Open iTunes (Or Finder on Catalina)

When your iPhone successfully connects to your computer, iTunes should automatically open. If it doesn’t, open it manually. If you’re running macOS Catalina, open Finder, then skip to Step 8.

Step 6: Update iTunes (If Necessary)

To help avoid any potential issues, make sure to update iTunes to the latest software version. In macOS 10.13 High Sierra and below, you can check via the Mac App Store’s “Update” tab. With macOS 10.14 Mojave, iTunes can be updated via “Software Update” in System Preferences.

Step 7: Log in to iTunes

If you aren’t already signed in to iTunes, do so now.

Step 8: Choose Your iPhone

When your iPhone appears in iTunes, click on its icon next to the media dropdown. Ensure you’re on the “Summary” view.

If using Finder in Catalina or higher, select your iPhone under Locations, then make sure you’re on the “General” tab. It should open by default.

Step 9: Back Up to iOS 13 (Optional)

If you want to protect your data, make a backup of your iPhone running iOS 13. You can make a complete backup using iTunes or Finder, or you can make a partial backup using iCloud. Since you’re already using iTunes or Finder, it might make the most sense for yo uto backup there. If you’d like to save. your Health and Activity data, choose the encrypted local option, then click “Back Up Now.”

If you really want to make sure that data is protected, however …

Step 10: Archive Your iOS 13 Backup (Optional)

The next time you connect your iPhone to your computer after backing it up, it will overwrite the old backup with your iPhone’s current state. Normally, this works out fine, but because you’re running iOS 14, that means your computer will overwrite your old iOS 13 backup with it. No good.

If you want to make sure your iOS 13 backup is safe, or if you want to downgrade to iOS 13 again, you’ll need to archive your backup. That might sound a bit difficult, but it can be quite easy.

To archive with iTunes, open “Preferences,” choose “Devices,” right-click on your iOS 13 back up, and choose “Archive” (you should now see a lock appear next to the backup).

If using Finder, choose “Manage Backups” via the “General” tab, right-click on the iOS 13 backup, then choose “Archive” (the name of the backup will change slightly to demonstrate it saved).

Step 11: Start Installing the iOS 14 GM

Hold down Options on your Mac, then choose “Update” or “Check for Update” in iTunes or Finder.

Step 12: Choose the IPSW File

Select the IPSW restore image from the file selection window, then click “Open” to start installing the software.

Step 13: Wait for iTunes or Finder

Just wait for iTunes or Finder to finish the process. When it’s done, you’ll see your iPhone restart.

Step 14: Set Up iOS 14

Now, just walk through the on-screen instructions on your iPhone to set up iOS 14. Open the App Store to see what updates you might have. Some apps should already have iOS 14-ready updates.

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Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks



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