SEP 4, 2010

Wireless Ad Hoc Distribution

A few weeks ago, funny man @havvac linked me up with an iOS Wireless App Distribution blog post by Jeffrey Sambells. A couple hours later, I was distributing the latest Firefly app betas wirelessly. No need to emphasize how much easier this is compared to regular beta distribution via iTunes.

Wireless Ad Hoc Distribution requires you to upload 3 files to a webserver:

The IPA file

In XCode, make sure you’re targeting your app for Ad Hoc distribution and select Build and Archive from the Build menu.

The Organizer window will show up with the new build selected. Click Share Application and then Save to Disk. Name it myApp.ipa. You now have an .ipa build of your app embedded with the appropriate provisioning profile.

The XML file

Download this template and open it using your favorite text editor. Replace the following keys with your own values:

The HTML page

Download this (very rough) template and replace the url parameter of the itms-services link with the absolute path to your XML file (that has the .plist extension).

Gluing it all together

Upload all 3 files to the same directory and visit the HTML page on your iOS 4 device (yes, wireless distribution only works on iOS 4 devices). Tap Install My App and you should be prompted with the following alert:

Note: the Distribute for Enterprise share option does auto-generate the XML file and some fugly HTML page based on the info you’re prompted for every time you send out a new build (this gets annoying). It also doesn’t seem to take into account that the IPA file has an embedded provisioning profile. If you’re like me and want control and flexibility, you should use the Save to Disk method described in this post.