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A library to communicate with services on iOS devices using native protocols.


libimobiledevice is a cross-platform software library that talks the protocols to interact with iOS devices.

Unlike other projects, it does not depend on using any existing proprietary libraries and does not require jailbreaking.

Some key features are:

  • Interface: Implements many high-level interfaces for device services
  • Implementation: Object oriented architecture and service abstraction layer
  • Cross-Platform: Tested on Linux, macOS, Windows and Android platforms
  • Utilities: Provides various command-line utilities for device services
  • SSL: Allows choosing between OpenSSL or GnuTLS to handle SSL communication
  • Network: Supports network connections with “WiFi sync” enabled devices
  • Python: Provides Cython based bindings for Python

The implemented interfaces of many device service protocols allow applications to:

  • Access filesystem of a device
  • Access documents of file sharing apps
  • Retrieve information about a device and modify various settings
  • Backup and restore the device in a native way compatible with iTunes
  • Manage app icons arrangement on the device
  • Install, remove, list and basically manage apps
  • Activate a device using official servers
  • Manage contacts, calendars, notes and bookmarks
  • Retrieve and remove crashreports
  • Retrieve various diagnostics information
  • Establish a debug connection for app debugging
  • Mount filesystem images
  • Forward device notifications
  • Manage device provisioning
  • Take screenshots from the device screen (requires mounted developer image)
  • Simulate changed geolocation of the device (requires mounted developer image)
  • Relay the syslog of the device
  • Expose a connection for WebKit remote debugging

... and much more.

The library is in development since August 2007 with the goal to bring support for these devices to the Linux Desktop.

Installation / Getting started

Debian / Ubuntu Linux

First install all required dependencies and build tools:

sudo apt-get install \
	build-essential \
	pkg-config \
	checkinstall \
	git \
	autoconf \
	automake \
	libtool-bin \
	libplist-dev \
	libusbmuxd-dev \
	libimobiledevice-glue-dev \
	libssl-dev \

If you want to optionally build the documentation or Python bindings use:

sudo apt-get install \
	doxygen \

Then clone the actual project repository:

git clone
cd libimobiledevice

Now you can build and install it:

sudo make install

If you require a custom prefix or other option being passed to ./configure you can pass them directly to ./ like this:

./ --prefix=/opt/local --enable-debug
sudo make install

By default, OpenSSL will be used as TLS/SSL library. If you prefer GnuTLS, configure with --with-gnutls like this:

./ --with-gnutls

MbedTLS is also supported and can be enabled by passing --with-mbedtls to configure. If mbedTLS is not installed in a default location, you need to set the environment variables mbedtls_INCLUDES to the path that contains the MbedTLS headers and mbedtls_LIBDIR to set the library path. Optionally, mbedtls_LIBS can be used to set the library names directly. Example:

./ --with-mbedtls mbedtls_INCLUDES=/opt/local/include mbedtls_LIBDIR=/opt/local/lib


Documentation about using the library in your application is not available yet. The “hacker way” for now is to look at the implementation of the included utilities.


The library bundles the following command-line utilities in the tools directory:

idevice_idList attached devices or print device name of given device
idevicebackupCreate or restore backup for devices (legacy)
idevicebackup2Create or restore backups for devices running iOS 4 or later
idevicebtloggerCapture Bluetooth HCI traffic from a device (requires log profile)
idevicecrashreportRetrieve crash reports from a device
idevicedateDisplay the current date or set it on a device
idevicedebugInteract with the debugserver service of a device
idevicedebugserverproxyProxy a debugserver connection from a device for remote debugging
idevicediagnosticsInteract with the diagnostics interface of a device
ideviceenterrecoveryMake a device enter recovery mode
ideviceimagemounterMount disk images on the device
ideviceinfoShow information about a connected device
idevicenameDisplay or set the device name
idevicenotificationproxyPost or observe notifications on a device
idevicepairManage host pairings with devices and usbmuxd
ideviceprovisionManage provisioning profiles on a device
idevicescreenshotGets a screenshot from the connected device
idevicesetlocationSimulate location on device
idevicesyslogRelay syslog of a connected device

Please consult the usage information or manual pages of each utility for a documentation of available command line options and usage examples like this:

ideviceinfo --help
man ideviceinfo


We welcome contributions from anyone and are grateful for every pull request!

If you'd like to contribute, please fork the master branch, change, commit and send a pull request for review. Once approved it can be merged into the main code base.

If you plan to contribute larger changes or a major refactoring, please create a ticket first to discuss the idea upfront to ensure less effort for everyone.

Please make sure your contribution adheres to:

  • Try to follow the code style of the project
  • Commit messages should describe the change well without being too short
  • Try to split larger changes into individual commits of a common domain
  • Use your real name and a valid email address for your commits

We are still working on the guidelines so bear with us!



This library and utilities are licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1, also included in the repository in the COPYING file.


Apple, iPhone, iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc.

This project is an independent software and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

README Updated on: 2022-04-04