An iPA file is a iOS application archive file and it comes with the .ipa file extension. The .ipa file is how iOS stores the iOS apps on the devices. Simply put, the .ipa file acts as a container (like ZIP or RAR) for holding the various pieces of code and data which when put together makes up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch app.
Usually manually sideloading iPA files will require your device to be jailbroken. In this post, I will guide you on how to install iPA files on your iOS without Jailbreak. For this purpose, we are going to make use of an application called Cydia Impactor.
About Cydia Impactor: If you are someone who is familiar with Jailbreak and what happens around it, you must have definitely heard of it as a jailbreak tweak for removing Cydia. A few months ago, Saurik , the man behind this particular Cydia Impactor tweak, has renamed it to Cydia Eraser and the name Cydia Impactor is used for a completely new tool, which we will be using in this tutorial.
Cydia Impactor is a tool is an application that works on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It helps the user to install/sideload ipa files on their iPhone and iPad without having to use Xcode. For those who are wondering, Xcode which is a tool used for iOS app development and available only for macOS.
Now without wasting any time, let us dive into the guide on how to use Cydia Impactor.
In some cases, after using the above method, when you open the newly installed app for the first time, you will see a message pop-up saying “Untrusted Enterprise Developer”. To resolve it, go to Settings > General > Profile & Device Management. On this page, find the profile corresponding to the app you have installed and trust it.
Step 1: Download Cydia Impactor: Download Link
There are versions available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux separately. Choose the right one according to the operating system you are using on your computer. After downloading, spend 10 seconds to take look at the instruction:
If you are using either Windows or macOS, you definitely need to have iTunes installed for this tool to work properly. You do not need to have Xcode installed on your computer to use Impactor (even for features such as signing IPA files).
Step 2: Connect your iOS device to your computer.
Step 3: Extract the downloaded ZIP file, and execute the program. For example, if you are using Windows, extract the zip file and double click on the Impactor.exe to launch it. The app’s interface is as shown below, it will recognize and display your device name on the first box.
Step 4: Drag and drop the .ipa file which you like to install into the app interface. As soon as you drop the file, it will ask you to enter your Apple ID and password. Note that you can simply use any of the old/new but active Apple ID accounts for this step.
Step 5: When/if the warning pop-up shows up, press the OK to confirm. Cydia Impactor will start signing the iPA file into your device. Once the iPA file is installed successfully on your iOS device, Cydia Impactor will return to its start interface. You can now start using the new app on your device.
Please note that Cydia Impactor is an alternative for Xcode when it comes to sideloading/installing iPA files on iOS devices. So, just like Xcode, if you are using a free Apple developer account, the app’s certificate will expire in seven days. It means you will have to repeat the entire process to get your app again after a week. It is due to the limitation set by Apple.
This the only drawback of using this method. It’s a really and quick alternative method if you are looking to simply install and test an app for a short time, but if you want to install games and other apps, this is definitely not an optimal solution. For long term uses, I suggest using any of the 3rd party App Store Alternatives.