Posted by: glasskeys | 02/16/2011

Tutorial: How use the iPad and 3G to download and install iOS – Part 1/3.

This tutorial is intended to demonstrate it is possible to download iOS via the iPad, using only iTunes on the desktop to check and authenticate (not download) the update with Apple.

I will be using the iPad to download the large update file from Apple — the official Apple version — and a tethered iPhone to perform the quick verification process which is required when updating iOS.

Primarily this advanced tutorial will be of interest to the following users:

  • Those whose desktop computer with iTunes has no high speed connection to the net.

  • Those who have the unlimited monthly data 3G contract with their iPad, or have a data plan with minimum 560-570 MB remaining on their monthly bandwidth allocation.

  • Those that have a mobile they can tether to their desktop computer or have 3G hotspot available so that iTunes can quickly verify the update.

  • Those that have GoodReader and like using it to do interesting tasks, such as transferring files to your Mac & downloading large files.

  • Those that have an old iOS version on their iPad and want multitasking.

Keep in mind, at the time of this writing AT&T charges $15 (USD) for each 200MB that exceeds your data contract allotment. So depending on your circumstance, the download could cost you between $15-$45 USD or more if you exceed your contract data plan limit. So please check the contract with your carrier and the amount of data you currently have remaining in your monthly “allotment”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is an advanced tutorial, recommended for technical readers. If you are new to the iPad, Mac OS, etc. you should probably sit this one out. We all have to start somewhere, so don’t feel too bad.

Reviewing requirements, you must have the following: iPad 3G, phone or hotspot you can use for the fast (low data requirements) iOS verification step on your Mac, and last but not least, have GoodReader installed on your iPad.

So without further adieu lets begin the iPad update to iOS 4.2 (or higher) the 3G way.

First we need to find out how to get the official iOS update file. A quick Google search provided information from this site:

These guys appear as if they are into the jailbreaking scene and have interesting and helpful information on the iPad. I am not interested in jailbreaking personally, but to each their own I say. I also say thank you for sharing the iOS 4.2 download link from Apple.

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UPDATE: (March 9, 2011) consult this site if you need an iOS update higher than 4.2.
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Open GoodReader and copy the link above the fine folks at provided for us by tapping Web Downloads at right, then pasting this into the Enter URL to download dialog field.

Alternatively, you may also use Browse the Web to here as the screenshot illustrates:

Then tap the iPad link, then tap Open, then tap the Download Linked File when it appears in the dialog.

Watch the Downloads in Progress progress bar slowly fill with blue:

I recommend finding something productive to do for at least 30 minutes:

I also recommend setting the iPad aside and letting it solely concentrate on its gargantuan 551.3 MB download task. In other words, do nothing with your iPad until the download is finished:

The next part of the tutorial will show how to move the file from the iPad to its proper location on our iTunes desktop computer amongst other things.

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