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libusbmuxd

A client library for applications to handle usbmux protocol connections with iOS devices.

Table of Contents

Features

This project is a client library to multiplex connections from and to iOS devices alongside command-line utilities.

It is primarily used by applications which use the libimobiledevice library to communicate with services running on iOS devices.

The library does not establish a direct connection with a device but requires connecting to a socket provided by the usbmuxd daemon.

The usbmuxd daemon is running upon installing iTunes on Windows and Mac OS X.

The libimobiledevice project provides an open-source reimplementation of the usbmuxd daemon to use on Linux or as an alternative to communicate with iOS devices without the need to install iTunes.

Some key features are:

  • Protocol: Provides an interface to handle the usbmux protocol
  • Port Proxy: Provides the iproxy utility to proxy ports to the device
  • Netcat: Provides the inetcat utility to expose a raw connection to the device
  • Cross-Platform: Tested on Linux, macOS, Windows and Android platforms
  • Flexible: Allows using the open-source or proprietary usbmuxd daemon

Furthermore the Linux build optionally provides support using inotify if available.

Building

Prerequisites

You need to have a working compiler (gcc/clang) and development environent available. This project uses autotools for the build process, allowing to have common build steps across different platforms. Only the prerequisites differ and they are described in this section.

libusbmuxd requires libplist and libimobiledevice-glue. On Linux, it also requires usbmuxd installed on the system, while macOS has its own copy and on Windows AppleMobileDeviceSupport package provides it. Check libplist's Building and libimobiledevice-glue's Building section of the respective README on how to build them. Note that some platforms might have them as a package.

Linux (Debian/Ubuntu based)

  • Install all required dependencies and build tools:
    sudo apt-get install \
    	build-essential \
    	pkg-config \
    	checkinstall \
    	git \
    	autoconf \
    	automake \
    	libtool-bin \
    	libplist-dev \
    	libimobiledevice-glue-dev \
    	usbmuxd
    
    In case libplist-dev, libimobiledevice-glue-dev, or usbmuxd are not available, you can manually build and install them. See note above.

macOS

  • Make sure the Xcode command line tools are installed. Then, use either MacPorts or Homebrew to install automake, autoconf, libtool, etc.

    Using MacPorts:

    sudo port install libtool autoconf automake pkgconfig
    

    Using Homebrew:

    brew install libtool autoconf automake pkg-config
    

Windows

  • Using MSYS2 is the official way of compiling this project on Windows. Download the MSYS2 installer and follow the installation steps.

    It is recommended to use the MSYS2 MinGW 64-bit shell. Run it and make sure the required dependencies are installed:

    pacman -S base-devel \
    	git \
    	mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc \
    	make \
    	libtool \
    	autoconf \
    	automake-wrapper \
    	pkg-config
    

    NOTE: You can use a different shell and different compiler according to your needs. Adapt the above command accordingly.

Configuring the source tree

You can build the source code from a git checkout, or from a .tar.bz2 release tarball from Releases. Before we can build it, the source tree has to be configured for building. The steps depend on where you got the source from.

Since libusbmuxd depends on other packages, you should set the pkg-config environment variable PKG_CONFIG_PATH accordingly. Make sure to use a path with the same prefix as the dependencies. If they are installed in /usr/local you would do

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
  • From git

    If you haven't done already, clone the actual project repository and change into the directory.

    git clone https://github.com/libimobiledevice/libusbmuxd
    cd libusbmuxd
    

    Configure the source tree for building:

    ./autogen.sh
    
  • From release tarball (.tar.bz2)

    When using an official release tarball (libusbmuxd-x.y.z.tar.bz2) the procedure is slightly different.

    Extract the tarball:

    tar xjf libusbmuxd-x.y.z.tar.bz2
    cd libusbmuxd-x.y.z
    

    Configure the source tree for building:

    ./configure
    

Both ./configure and ./autogen.sh (which generates and calls configure) accept a few options, for example --prefix to allow building for a different target folder. You can simply pass them like this:

./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr/local

or

./configure --prefix=/usr/local

Once the command is successful, the last few lines of output will look like this:

[...]
config.status: creating config.h
config.status: executing depfiles commands
config.status: executing libtool commands

Configuration for libusbmuxd 2.1.0:
-------------------------------------------

  Install prefix: .........: /usr/local
  inotify support (Linux) .: no

  Now type 'make' to build libusbmuxd 2.1.0,
  and then 'make install' for installation.

Usage

iproxy

This utility allows binding local TCP ports so that a connection to one (or more) of the local ports will be forwarded to the specified port (or ports) on a usbmux device.

Bind local TCP port 2222 and forward to port 22 of the first device connected via USB:

iproxy 2222:22

This would allow using ssh with localhost:2222 to connect to the sshd daemon on the device. Please mind that this is just an example and the sshd daemon is only available for jailbroken devices that actually have it installed.

Please consult the usage information or manual page for a full documentation of available command line options:

iproxy --help
man iproxy

inetcat

This utility is a simple netcat-like tool that allows opening a read/write interface to a TCP port on a usbmux device and expose it via STDIN/STDOUT.

Use ssh ProxyCommand to connect to a jailbroken iOS device via SSH:

ssh -oProxyCommand="inetcat 22" root@localhost

Please consult the usage information or manual page for a full documentation of available command line options:

inetcat --help
man inetcat

Environment

The environment variable USBMUXD_SOCKET_ADDRESS allows to change the location of the usbmuxd socket away from the local default one.

An example of using an utility from the libimobiledevice project with an usbmuxd socket exposed on a port of a remote host:

export USBMUXD_SOCKET_ADDRESS=192.168.179.1:27015
ideviceinfo

This sets the usbmuxd socket address to 192.168.179.1:27015 for applications that use the libusbmuxd library.

Contributing

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

Links

License

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

The utilities iproxy and inetcat are licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0.

Credits

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 library and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

README Updated on: 2024-03-27