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Reads and extracts files from password-encrypted iOS backups

Project description


A Python 3 class that reads and extracts files from a password-encrypted iOS backup created by iTunes on Mac and Windows. Initial support for unencrypted backups has been aded since version 0.9.923. Tested compatibility since iOS 10 up to current iOS 15.

You will need your backup password to decrypt the backup files, this is the password iTunes asks when it is configured to do encrypted backups. This password can be found on macOS’ Keychain Access app, under login keychain, entry iOS Backup (update: newer macOS apparently doesn’t store it in KayChain anymore).

You should always prefer encrypted backups because they are more secure and include more files from your device. Non-encrypted backups do not backup files as Health app database and other preciosities.


This software is essential for advanced device forensic activities or to anyone in need to dominate and extract full data from an iOS device.

Please consider donation of any amount in Bitcoin or Ethereum:

  • Bitcoin donation: bc1qerzyzwdnsmpfdkl3lcjgm3rhvvy7svy0p89ndj
  • Ethereum donation: 0x098dADeDDf14382F19d4F5d989fD8734376B0224

Thank you in advance


pip3 install iOSbackup --user

On macOS, get native Python 3 from Apple with command xcode-select --install. Read my guide to install Apple official Python 3 distribution for more details.

iOSbackup requires other two packages: biplist and pycryptodome that will be installed automatically by pip.

pycryptodome has an API compatible with older pycrypto, which should also work with iOSbackup. But pycryptodome is more well maintained and easier to install on Windows and macOS.


Get list of backups available on your computer

>>> from iOSbackup import iOSbackup

>>> iOSbackup.getDeviceList()
[{'udid': '00456030-000E4412342802E',
  'name': 'mobileavi',
  'ios': '13.2.3',
  'serial': 'DNPPQRS0N4RW',
  'type': 'iPhone12,3',
  'encrypted': True},
{'udid': '00654030-01234412342802E',
  'name': 'ipad',
  'ios': '13.1.3',
  'serial': 'DABCRS0N4RW',
  'type': 'iPad10,1',
  'encrypted': True}]

Open a device backup

With your password (a slow and compute-intensive task):

>>> b=iOSbackup(

Instead of a clear text password, use a derived key that can be seen into the instantiated object:

>>> b=iOSbackup(
>>> print(b)

decryptionKey: dd6b6123494c5dbdff7804321fe43ffe1babcdb6074014afedc7cb47f351524

From now on use your derived key instead of your clear text password to not expose it and because it is much faster:

>>> b=iOSbackup(

Linux virtual machine accessing iOS backup on a macOS host

Forcing a backup folder, useful when reading backups on Linux, where there is no standard for backup folders:

>>> b=iOSbackup(
	backuproot='/media/sf_username/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup'

For this to work on a Linux virtual machine accessing a VirtualBox-shared folder, you'll have to grant full disk access to your hypervisor (VirtualBox etc). On macOS, go to System PreferencesSecurity & PrivacyPrivacyFull Disk Access and enable access to your hypervisor (VirtualBox etc). The hypervisor and VM will have to be restarted for the new setting to be effective.

You can also copy your device's backup folder, from a Windows or macOS computer, to a Linux computer, and then use this class on Linux to decrypt and read it.

iTunes default backup folders on Windows and macOS

Files app (formerly iTunes) on macOS stores backups of associated devices under ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup. iTunes on Windows stores backups of associated devices under %HOME%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Get some info about device on the backup

Information about device, model, serial number, its SIMs, iOS version etc can be inspected in multiple places from backup basic catalog files (plist files), even before diving into its vast amount of databases and other encrypted files.


# Device info
	# This is a non-exaustive list of interesting info, but there are more...
	'Build Version', 'Device Name', 'Display Name', 'GUID', 'ICCID', 'ICCID 2',
	'IMEI', 'IMEI 2', 'Last Backup Date', 'MEID', 'Phone Number', 'Phone Number 2',
	'Product Name', 'Product Type', 'Product Version', 'Serial Number',
	'Target Identifier', 'Target Type', 'Unique Identifier',
	'macOS Build Version', 'macOS Version'
for i in infoKeys:
	print(f'{i}: {[i]}')

# Other ways to get device info
b.manifest['Lockdown']['DeviceName'] # device name or hostname
b.manifest['Lockdown']['ProductVersion'] # iOS version as 14.0.1, see Version column of
b.manifest['Lockdown']['BuildVersion'] # iOS version as 18A393, see Build column of
b.manifest['Lockdown']['SerialNumber'] # device serial number
b.manifest['Lockdown']['ProductType'] # device type as iPhone12,3, see columns Identifier of
b.udid # UDID of the device
b.uuid.hex() # UUID of device

# Backup info
b.backupRoot # backup root folder # UTC date and time of this backup
b.getDecryptionKey() # password-derived key of backup
b.manifest['IsEncrypted'] # is it an encrypted backup?
b.manifest['WasPasscodeSet'] # backup has a passcode?

# Basic list of installed apps, probably used by iTunes to easily display things to users['Applications'].keys()

# Apps icons['Applications']['com.burbn.instagram']['PlaceholderIcon']

# Dive into device content
b.manifest['ManifestKey'].hex() # manifest DB decryption key
b.manifest['Applications'] # list of installed apps
b.manifestDB # decrypted copy of Manifest.db SQLite database

Get a list of backed-up files:

Info available in the Manifest.db which relates backup file hash to semi-full path of file into the device, plus file backup domain, plus some file metadata.

>>> b.getBackupFilesList()
[{'name': '',
  'backupFile': 'abfbc8747bfbb373e2b08ce67b1255ffda4e1b91',
  'domain': '',
  'relativePath': '',
  'flags': 2,
  'file': b'bplist00\xd4...'
 {'name': 'Documents',
  'backupFile': 'ec0c1b379560bb5ccc81ee783538fd51cfd97461',
  'domain': '',
  'relativePath': 'Documents',
  'flags': 2,
  'file': b'bplist00\xd4...'
 {'name': 'Documents/Servers',
  'backupFile': 'a735380eade71b48f0fe27d38a283aacd8ed8372',
  'domain': ''},
 {'name': 'Documents/extensions',
  'backupFile': 'c08f725cc39ec819ab7ced3b056f4e0630ead09f',
  'domain': ''},
 {'name': 'Library',
  'backupFile': 'e60a6345697594c735e5a6ed86c0d57dad6a2176',
  'domain': ''},

backupFile is the file name on your computer. Basically SHA1([Domain]/[FilePath]).

name is the original semi-complete path of file name in the device.

domain is the file group this file is member, see bellow list of domains.

file is binary plist content with some file metadata.

Or put it directly into a Pandas DataFrame for easier manipulation and searching:

>>> import pandas as pd
>>> backupfiles=pd.DataFrame(b.getBackupFilesList(), columns=['backupFile','domain','name'])

With Pandas, display only list of files in HomeDomain group:

>>> backupfiles[backupfiles['domain']=='HomeDomain']

Get a decrypted copy of the call history SQLite database:

The getFileDecryptedCopy() method creates a decrypted copy of requested file on targetFolder/targetName. If targetFolder and targetName aren't given, a temporary file will be created. The name of decrypted file (temporary or not) can be found in the decryptedFilePath item of returned dict, as seen below.

>>> file=b.getFileDecryptedCopy(relativePath="Library/CallHistoryDB/CallHistory.storedata")
>>> file
{'decryptedFilePath': 'HomeDomain~Library--CallHistoryDB--CallHistory.storedata',
 'domain': 'HomeDomain',
 'originalFilePath': 'Library/CallHistoryDB/CallHistory.storedata',
 'backupFile': '5a4935c78a5255723f707230a451d79c540d2741',
 'size': 1228800}

Fetch call records from the decrypted copy of call history database, using a SQL query.

>>> calls = sqlite3.connect(file['decryptedFilePath'])
>>> calls.row_factory=sqlite3.Row
>>> calllog = calls.cursor().execute(f"SELECT * FROM ZCALLRECORD ORDER BY ZDATE DESC").fetchall()

Restore Entire Folder Containing Photos and their Metadata

This content is located in the Media folder of CameraRollDomain domain. This example will exclude videos from restoration.

>>> b.getFolderDecryptedCopy(

Restore an entire domain

Here we restore all files of WirelessDomain in a hierarchy starting at local directory:

>>> b.getFolderDecryptedCopy(

Here we restore all files of HomeDomain in a hierarchy starting at folder my-folder:

>>> b.getFolderDecryptedCopy(

To restore all backed up data files of an app, search for its domain name (see below) and use this technique.

Get List of All Installed Apps

>>> apps=list(b.manifest['Applications'].keys())
>>> apps

Get List of All Apps, Groups and Plugins with “whatsapp” In Their Name

>>> [s for s in list(b.manifest['Applications'].keys()) if "whatsapp" in s]

Restore All Files of Apps, Groups and Plugins Matching “whatsapp

I had to use previous method to find the list of app IDs and see that “whatsapp” is a good word to match them. Each app component has its own backup domain prefixed by AppDomain, AppDomainGroup or AppDomainPlugin. So we'll iterate over all possibilities of fabricated domain names with getFolderDecryptedCopy().

for id in [s for s in list(b.manifest['Applications'].keys()) if "whatsapp" in s]:
    for prefix in ["AppDomain", "AppDomainGroup", "AppDomainPlugin"]:
        b.getFolderDecryptedCopy(includeDomains=prefix + '-' + id)

Other apps might have a less intuitive name. For example, Telegram can be matched by “telegra” (without ‘m’):

for id in [s for s in list(b.manifest['Applications'].keys()) if "telegra" in s]:
    for prefix in ["AppDomain", "AppDomainGroup", "AppDomainPlugin"]:
        b.getFolderDecryptedCopy(includeDomains=prefix + '-' + id)

Apple-native Python 3 Installation on Macs

Follow my guide at

Basically use command xcode-select --install to get Python 3 installed and updated by Apple on your Mac.

List of Domains

Domain Contains
AppDomain-... Backup of each installed app's files
AppDomainGroup-... Backup of each installed app's files
AppDomainPlugin-... Backup of each installed app's files
CameraRollDomain Photos
HealthDomain Health app databases
HomeDomain Many interesting databases, such as contacts and call history
RootDomain Bookmarks and cookies ?

Interesting Files

Backup file Domain File name Contains
ed1f8fb5a948b40504c19580a458c384659a605e WirelessDomain Library/Databases/CellularUsage.db Table subscriber_info apparently contains all SIM phone numbers ever inserted in the phone since about iOS 11 or 12. Data here is related to Library/Preferences/
0d609c54856a9bb2d56729df1d68f2958a88426b WirelessDomain Library/Databases/DataUsage.sqlite A rich database that apparently contains app WWAN usage through time. Chack tables ZPROCESS and ZLIVEUSAGE.
1570a95f5dc7f4cd6b54bc17c427eda95288b8fa HomeDomain Library/SpringBoard/ Video used as background on lock screen
. HomeDomain Library/Passes/Cards/* Wallet passes and items
8d0167b67f664a3816b4c00115c2dfa6a8f81388 WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/ Apparently contains times of last boot and restores.
dafec408e48be2700704dd3e763014c39f6de6b3 WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/
9329979c8298f9cd3fb110fa387570a8b957e912 WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/ Has CellularBytesRecved and CellularBytesSent
3dec38ca46c9e37ffebacf2611463eb47a65eb09 WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/
7e5f642f6da5e2345c0893bdf944da9c53902756 WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/
bfecaa9c467e3acb085a5b312bd27bdd5cd7579a WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/ Cellular network informations and configurations, including all ever inserted SIM and eSIM cards, their phone numbers and nicknames as configured under Settings➔Celular. Data here is related to Library/Databases/CellularUsage.db
160600e9c2e408c69e4193d325813a2a885bce2a WirelessDomain Library/Preferences/
12b144c0bd44f2b3dffd9186d3f9c05b917cee25 CameraRollDomain Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite Photo library data, albums, tagged faces, moments, places, geolocations, date and times, formats etc.
. CameraRollDomain Media/DCIM/*APPLE Original master photos/videos taken by your camera or imported through AirDrop etc
. CameraRollDomain Media/PhotoData/Mutations/DCIM/*APPLE Edited version of photos/videos
. HomeDomain Library/Mobile Documents/iCloud~... Apps documents on iCloud
. HomeDomain Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/... Documents folder on iCloud
5a4935c78a5255723f707230a451d79c540d2741 HomeDomain Library/CallHistoryDB/CallHistory.storedata Call History database with only the last 600 calls
31bb7ba8914766d4ba40d6dfb6113c8b614be442 HomeDomain Library/AddressBook/AddressBook.sqlitedb User contacts and address book. Table ABPerson is the central one with facts about contact creation and modification, while ABMultiValue* tables contain contact details.
cd6702cea29fe89cf280a76794405adb17f9a0ee HomeDomain Library/AddressBook/AddressBookImages.sqlitedb Contact photos
9db3e5a6f1672cc306cd785809811e79cc43a2f8 HomeDomain Library/AddressBook/backup/AddressBook.sqlitedb
2a87d5bcdb9753f1462dd1e929b17e6a971c5b01 HomeDomain Library/AddressBook/backup/AddressBookImages.sqlitedb
1a0e7afc19d307da602ccdcece51af33afe92c53 HomeDomain Library/Safari/History.db
. MediaDomain Library/SMS/Attachments/*
. MediaDomain Library/SMS/StickerCache/*
. . Library/Caches/locationd/consolidated.db Apparently list of known iBeacons

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