AltStore is one of the latest iOS app store alternatives, offering a way of installing unofficial apps and games on your device. It doesn’t require you to jailbreak, is free to use, and works differently from other similar app stores. Here’s how it all works:
You will need your computer as this only works with a companion app called AltServer, which is how you install AltStore onto your device. You also use AltServer to refresh the apps so Apple cannot revoke the app certificates. If you are on the Windows operating system, you must ensure iTunes is installed via the Apple website and not the Microsoft app store. The links below are the correct ones to install it:
Windows – open your icon tray and click AltServer. Hover the mouse over Install AltStore and click your device
Mac – open your toolbar and click AltStore > Install AltStore. Click your device
When AltStore is installed, the icon is on your device home screen
As AltStore is used to download your apps and games, your computer must be left on with AltServer running in the background. Your device must be connected to your computer by cable or iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. When you are not using your computer, do not turn it off. Leave it in Sleep mode and connect your device at least once per week to refresh the apps, stopping it all from crashing.
How to Use AltStore
Open AltStore on your device
If an Untrusted Developer error appears, open Settings>General>Profiles and trust the AltStore profile.
In AltStore, tap on Settings > Account and sign in with your Apple ID or app-specific password.
Tap the browser and find an app or game
Tap the app or game and tap on FREE
When it is installed, you may need to fix the untrusted developer error, and then you can use it the same way as you do any official app or game.
How to Install External Files
You can also use AltStore to install external IPA files:
Download the IPA file you want from a reputable website on the internet
Go to the download and tap the AltStore icon
AltStore opens, and the app will be signed and installed
Alternatively, open AltStore and tap the plus icon
Tap the file you downloaded and wait for it to be installed
Apps installed via AltStore will be available via your home screen and in AltStore
AltStore Pros and Cons
Like any official app, AltStore has its pros and cons:
No jailbreak is required
Apple cannot revoke the app certificates
Choose from preinstalled content or sideload your own
You may only have three apps active on your device at once, one of which is AltStore.
The AltServer companion app must be installed on your computer, with your device connected by Wi-Fi Sync or cable.
The apps must be refreshed every seven days to stop Apple from revoking the certificates.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers to the commonly asked questions will tell you all you need to know:
What is AltStore?
A third-party app store that allows you to install preinstalled apps or games or install unsigned files. It does this by allowing you to create developer certificates for the apps to run on.
Is it a Jailbreak?
No, and AltStore doesn’t require a jailbreak to run either. It is purely a third-party app store, nothing else.
How Does AltStore Work?
The brainchild of Riley Testut, AltStore is built using a feature Apple provides to developers. This feature lets developers test apps before they submit them to the store, and it also lets you create developer certificates. However, this limits you to three active apps at any one time and is why you need your Apple ID.
What Apps Does AltStore Have?
Right now, there aren’t many apps in AltStore, but more will be added. However, you can install IPA files from the internet, so your options are unlimited. Some popular downloads from AltStore are:
You should follow the recommendations given by the developer:
Make sure AltStore opens as soon as your computer is switched on/logged in
Leave your computer in Sleep mode when you are not using it, and ensure your device is connected at least once per week so the apps can be refreshed.
AltStore is a unique kind of third-party app store offering some preinstalled apps and the option of sideloading your own too. It is free, and you don’t have to jailbreak, so why not give it a go on your device today? You might be pleasantly surprised at what it offers you.