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How to explore an iPhone application bundle iOS devices
If you see or hear something you like in your iPhone or iPod Touch applications, then you can follow these relatively simple steps to obtain the desired content.

Open iTunes and switch to the Applications section of the sidebar. If this section isn't in the sidebar, go to iTunes preferences and click the checkbox for Applications in the General tab. Pick the app you want, Control-click on it, and select the convenient Show in Finder option from the pop-up menu.

I'm going to say this before the next step, just to emphasize it: Make a copy of the app you are going to work with! That way, if something goes wrong, you won't lose the original.

Control-click on the application in the Finder and choose Copy from the contextual menu. Switch to another folder and paste (Command-V) the copy. Once the copy is fully there (sometimes apps take a little while to copy), you'll need to decompress it. For this, you'll need Stuffit Expander or similar. Once that's installed, Control-click on the copied app and use Open With in the contextual menu to expand the file.

Delve into the folder that was just created, and open the Payload folder within that folder. You should see an app icon with a crossed circle over it -- don't open this! Instead, Control-click on it and choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Congratulations! You've made it in!

From there, simply browse around in the contained files and folders until you find what you want, and copy it to a separate folder elsewhere. It's best to Quick Look everything if you're a Leopard user.

Once you've found everything you need, return to where you were before you opened the app's unpackaged contents folder. Close anything that could be viewing, playing, or doing anything to the files inside (probably more bothersome for Tiger users). Drag both the copy of the application and its Contents folder to the Trash, and empty it. Doing this is recommended because some iPhone applications are quite large, and making a copy of one and unzipping its contents to a folder just tripled the amount of space it was taking up on your hard disk.

Many of the files inside the app's contents will be completely useless to you, as they cannot be read without certain means. All that you will likely want are audio files (.m4a, .mp4, .wav, .mp3, and sometimes others like .ogg), image files (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .tiff, ect.), and movie files (usually .mov, but they can come in other flavors too). As I said, if you can, Quick Look everything.

[robg adds: Note that all of the content within any given application is obviously copyrighted by the creators of the application (and/or Apple), so anything beyond personal use of the content you may find is probably a copyright violation, depending on the laws of your country. Still, digging around inside an iPhone application isn't any different than digging around inside an OS X application to find, for instance, new alert sounds for Mail, etc. Just don't go posting the files for others to use!]
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How to explore an iPhone application bundle | 7 comments | Create New Account
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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: alex_kac on Feb 20, '09 09:37:40AM

No need for Stuffit Expander. Just rename the .ipa to .zip and use OS X's unzipper to do it.



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: asmeurer on Feb 20, '09 09:56:06AM

I am surprised that this has just not made it to Mac OS X Hints. I learned how to do this not long after the app store came out. The key is realizing that the .ipa file is just a compressed archive of the app.

I wonder, has anyone tried modifying an app, for example, replacing an audio file with something different? If the previous poster is correct, the .ipa file is just a .zip file with the extension changed.



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: asmeurer on Feb 20, '09 09:58:20AM

Sorry, that should have been "just now made it to Mac OS X Hints".



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: marook on Feb 20, '09 12:09:08PM

That won't work.

The application .ipa is Digitally Signed! If even One Bit is chnaged, the app will not run on a stock iPhone.
Now, on a jailbreaked device... that's another story...

---
/Marook



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: macnixer on Feb 21, '09 10:02:30AM

As marook says, the digital signature prevent the app to be modified. The whole purpose of the digital signature is to provide security to the user. Apple requires developers to codesign the apps and sell them through the App Store only so that users like us do not have to worry where the app came from and cause problems with our device.

Imagine if you had the capability to modify the app, someone could insert a rouge code which would read all your numbers and send it to them. Also someone could create apps that would be able to record your conversation including the keys (touch tones) and mail it out. Imagine what would happen if someone had the last 4 digits of your social, your birthday (someone called to wish you) and obviously your name. And you also happened to talk to your banker who wanted your credit card number. Possibilities are unlimited. Apple has tied down the iPhone to one central controlled system so that I live in peace.



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: boredzo on Feb 21, '09 11:11:35AM

Control-click on the application in the Finder and choose Copy from the contextual menu. Switch to another folder and paste (Command-V) the copy.

Or just click on it and press ⌘D.



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How to explore an iPhone application bundle
Authored by: gianfryjfa on Oct 14, '10 10:04:42PM

OK, I did it all and saw the content,
I am able to read video files, html, css and plist files but

I'm not able to open png images (when opened they appear grey)
and the code (Executable Unix Document) is encrypted

how can I decompile it ?

I'd like to see the code in Xcode to study it and work on it

thanks in advance



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