Back up iOS apps to a PC or Mac #

A little history

Before iOS 9, iOS apps could be backed up to Macs and PCs via iTunes1:

Adding insult to injury, iTunes 12.7 removed the App Store, closing the door on downloading/backing up iOS apps from there:

Why bother?

You may want to back up an app before it disappears from the App Store or preserve an older, better version, e.g.,

Download iOS apps from Apple to a PC or Mac

iOS apps can still be downloaded via iTunes 12.6.3 (does not run on Mojave or higher), Apple Configurator 2 (with some caveats), or iMazing:

Copy apps from an iOS device to a PC or Mac

To back up all apps on your iOS device to apps/ in the current directory of your Mac, jailbreak your device, install usbmuxd, start iproxy, then:

$ scp -P 4444 -r root@localhost:/var/containers/Bundle/Application apps/

Convert iOS .app to .ipa

$ mkdir Payload
$ cp -R Payload/
$ zip -r appname.ipa Payload/

Install .ipa from a PC or Mac to an iOS device


  1. The backups were located in:

  2. Apple Configurator 2 also allows installing an iOS .app via Actions → Add → Apps... → Choose from my Mac...

See also

/mac | Sep 28, 2020

Subscribe or visit the archives.