How to: dig into App Store apps

Lincoln

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Aug 11, 2007
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So, obviously Apple has locked down access to AppStore apps pretty tightly. Even on a jailbroken iPhone, you can't modify their icons. However, while playing around with them tonight, I discovered how you can access their contents.

If you're using a PC, replace the Command and R part with Control and R.

First make sure the app you want is in iTunes. In the Applications tab, select the app and press Command and R. This will reveal the app in Finder. It will be named Google.ipa (using Google Mobile as an example). Change the filename to Google.zip and then unzip it - you will get a folder named Google copy. Open the folder, and you will see three files; the iTunes artwork, metadata, and another folder, named Payload. Open it, and there resides the app. Right click it, and select "Show Package Contents". There you go, all of the app's files, unencrypted.

Note, however, the the majority of the image files (most are .png) are not viewable on a computer. They are encrypted so that only the iPhone/iPod Touch's filesystems can view them. Also, you cannot modify icons, as there is a digital signature on each app, and if modified, the app will not open. Either way, if you're curious as to how an app ticks, this is how to find out.