The blogosphere was in a tizzy yesterday thinking that Apple was removing beta access to people who sold their developer UUID slots to ordinary users. Many iOS 5 beta users are not developers; they are merely regular users who paid a small amount via eBay or another site to have their device registered for the beta.

Reported was that devices were all of a sudden reverting to the initial setup screen and becoming unusable, and the rumor was that this could happen to anyone who isn’t an actual developer but was using iOS 5 on their iPhone or iPad .

Luckily, this report is probably false, so you don’t need to worry if you are running the beta at this time. However, what we are probably seeing is the expiration of the first two versions of the beta. There have been four different betas at this point, and people who are still using Beta 1 and Beta 2 are the ones who are seeing their devices become unusable.

If you are still running one of the earlier betas for some reason, here’s how to upgrade to the newest version:

If you are on iOS 5 Beta 3:

Beta 3 hasn’t expired yet, but all signs point to that happening at some point, so you should always be on the newest version. Luckily, to upgrade an iOS 5 beta 3 device to beta 4, all you need to do is go to Settings > General > Software Update. It should say that a new version is available and start downloading it, then do the whole install process with one tap — easy.

If you are on iOS 5 Beta 1 or 2:

If you are on an older version, you need to upgrade immediately; once your phone is disabled, because the beta expires, you will not be able to make a backup — the only solution is to wipe it. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Download the IPSW for your device.

2. Open up iTunes and connect your device with USB,  then make a backup of your current iOS 5 installation.

3. Hold down the Option button on Mac, or the Shift button on Windows, and then select the Restore button on the iPhone options screen.

4. Select the IPSW you downloaded in Step 1.

5. Wait as your new version is installed and your phone is rebooted.

6. In the initial setup screen, it will prompt you to restore the backup you made in step 2.

It’s that easy!