iPhone ad-hoc distribution in Windows 7
Question: As a programmer and avid beta tester I ran into an iPhone ad hoc distribution problem with my fresh Windows 7 installation. While unzipping an iPhone ad-hoc application file I get the “Windows Security Warning – Windows found that this file is potentially harmful…” message. Does Microsoft consider Apple harmful? How to distribute and install iPhone package for Windows 7 testers, and what do we have to do? Answer: With ad hoc distribution iPhone or iPad/iPod developers can make a special package of an iPhone app that can be installed on testers’ iPhones, iPods/iPads before the application hits the app store. It’s tricky to get working with provisioning profile and .app folder, and the testers have to do a bit of work too: 1. You, as a tester, have probably got two files: the xxxxx.zip and yyyyy.mobileprovision files in an email. X and y is the name the programmer has given. First save them to a convenient location, such as your desktop. Now unzip the application (.zip) file. Use a zipper utility! You can find open source programs in our Downloads area. 2. Drag-and-drop the .mobileprovision file onto Library->Applications in iTunes. 3. Extract the .zip file to a convenient location. Find the unzipped xxxxx.app folder. The bundle contains files or folders with names that are not Windows-friendly. Please note that the other folder in the zipped package, the __MACOSX, is the resource fork, that is going to confuse the iTunes on Windows, so iTunes ignores the drag and drop, and you won’t be able to install. This why you need the .app folder inside the “folder”. Windows has an embedded unzipper and the Internet Explorer (!) may pop up an error message. You know where the warning message is from, so do not be shocked. Windows identifies the file as a compressed folder and displays a message saying that the ZIP file is corrupted or invalid… which it is absolutely not. It seems that Windows 7, like the Vista or XP, cannot handle the Apple’s compressed application folder (.app) properly. Once more: use a zipper utility instead. 4. Drag-and-drop the whole xxx.app bundle onto Library->Applications in iTunes. 5. Verify that the application shows up in Library->Applications. Note that it will not have its own icon. 6. In iTunes, select your Device under Devices, choose the Application tab, and make sure that the new application is checked. 7. Sync your device and try out the new app. For developers: If you have any customers running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you’re better off distributing with an .ipa file, so that iTunes handles the unzipping. To create a .ipa, 1. move your AppName.app directory into a new directory, for example into “MyGameApp”, 2. then zip this (ie. “MyGameApp”) folder and change the file extension from .zip to .ipa. When you get error messages during installation read this.