How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (2024)

An IPA file is a native file extension type that holdsiOS app data. Not the most exciting feature of the app, but without it, you literally could not use the app on your phone. Think of it this way: .ipa means iOS application. The two terms are practically the same.

If you are already aware of .ipa files, you know that you can go into them and customize the app icon, reverse engineer components of the app, etc. You also understand that they are data files for a reason. They aren’t mean to be opened and edited by the regular user. Still, people do it and continue to do it despite recent roadblocks.

Since Apple introduced iTunes 12.7, you can no longer download the .ipafiles of an iOS app without the help of another app. In other words, app management and purchases through iTunes became impossible.You can only download apps for your iOS devices directly through your iPhone or iPad fromthe App Store, not iTunes.

Downloading .ipa files to your iOS is simple, regardless of your iTunes version, since it is just an app. .ipa management, however, is a bit trickier. If we think of .ipa management asapp management and configuration, it’ll be easier for us to grasp. Many people suggest theappApple Configurator 2for the job.


  • Download .ipa Files
  • Apple Configurator 2
    • Step 1: Download Updates
    • Step 2: Log into Apple Account
    • Step 3: Connect Your iOS Device
    • Step 4: Update Selected Apps
    • Step 5: Locate Relevant .ipaFiles
    • Step 6:Copy .ipa Files
  • Conclusion

Download .ipa Files

Before 12.7, you would drag-and-drop the downloaded .ipa file into the iTunes App Library. Then, you’d hook up your iOS device to your Mac or PC and sync the data. This made it easy to sync multiple devices with the same app.

Now, if you want to download an .ipa file, you have to work through the App Store on your iOS device.

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Go to Purchased. You will see a list of purchased apps.
  3. Tap “Not on this [device].”
  4. Next, tap the Cloud button and choose the apps you wish to sync with that device.

How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (1)

Technically speaking, you have downloaded .ipa files to your iOS device.

Apple Configurator 2

To sync a large number of iOS devices with the same .ipa files, use Apple Configurator 2. Developed by Apple, a lot of individuals download the app to format their iOS device’s home screen. Businesses and schools use it to configure iOS management profiles. There is no version of this app that will work for Windows, and you must be running macOS 10.14.6 or later.

Many users claim that this isn’t the best app for individual use, but for managing a huge amount of devices, it does the job.

Step 1: Download Updates

  1. Download the app to your Mac from the App Store.
  2. You may have to disable Automatic Updates. These updates maymake you wait for the next update to happenbefore you can use Apple Configurator 2 to access the app’s .ipafiles.
    • Open Settings.
    • Tap iTunes & App Store.
    • Toggle offUpdates.

How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (2)

Step 2: Log into Apple Account

  1. Open Apple Configurator 2.
  2. Select Account > Sign In.
  3. Enter your credentials.

How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (3)

Step 3: Connect Your iOS Device

  1. Next, use the iOS USB cable to connect to yourMac.
  2. If the iOS’s connection is Untrusted,go ahead and Trustit.

Step 4: Update Selected Apps

  1. Select the “popup” iOS device from Apple Configurator 2.
  2. SelectUpdate.
  3. The app will request to update all updateable apps.
  4. Click Update.

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Note: You may also choose to update Only Some Appsusing the drop-down feature. Uncheck unneeded apps before you click on Update.

Step 5: Locate Relevant .ipaFiles

Once the update process is complete, it’s time to find the apps in the user library.

  1. Open your Finder.
  2. From the menu, select Go > Go to Folder.
    How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (5)
  3. Paste the following:~/Library/GroupContainers/
    How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (6)
  4. Click Go.

When you’re in the temporary folder for mobile apps, you’ll see randomly numbered folders. Open these folders until you find the .ipa files you need.

Step 6:Copy .ipa Files

Keep in mind that the existing Apple Configurator 2 folder is temporary. This means it could vanish after the Apple Configurator 2 closes or after the computer restarts. To prevent this, copy the .ipafiles. Select the files you want and copy-paste them into your documents, desktop, wherever you want! Just not iTunes.

You now have access to .ipa files on both your iOS device and desktop.


Apple took away the app management factor from iTunes, so it could specifically focus on music, book, and podcast sales. Though this may have benefited them in the long run, it means users have to find another way to download their apps to iOS devices and the associated .ipa files onto their Macs. Honestly, downloading .ipa files to your iOS device isn’t that difficult, and once you find an app that works for you, migrating them to your computer isn’t so hard either.

How To Download IPA Files for iOS - AppleToolBox (2024)


How do I install an IPA file on my iPhone without iTunes? ›

Download Cydia Impactor from its official website > Install and launch it on your computer. Step 2. Drag and drop the . ipa file you saved into Cydia Impactor > Enter your Apple ID and password in a pop-up dialogue box > Then tap OK to confirm.

How do I download an IPA file from TestFlight? ›

If you use TestFlight, you can install the IPA on a device. New builds distributed by TestFlight result in an email being sent out to the test group. The email will have an install button. Tapping install will install the app on the device.

Can we install IPA files directly on iPhone? ›

An iOS app is a document with the file IPA extension that can be downloaded only on IOS operating devices such as iPads, iPhones, iPod touch, Mac, etc. IPA files contain the app's compressed data in a ZIP file. IPA files can be downloaded from iTunes, Apple Configurator 2, or third-party programs.

How can I download an IPA file to my iPhone without a computer? ›

How to Install . ipa Files on iPhone without Jailbreak
  1. IPA Files on iPhone. ...
  2. Go to Device Manager and Click App Category. ...
  3. Click Add Button and Install it to iPhone. ...
  4. Sign into iCloud and Search the App you Need. ...
  5. Install the App to Mac. ...
  6. You can Launch the Downloaded App Immediately.
Jan 6, 2023

Why IPA file is not installing on iPhone? ›

If you are using your company network while trying to download the . ipa file, make sure that the download is not blocked by the company's firewall. To check this, you can simply turn off the company WLAN and download the app via the mobile network (4G or 3G).

How to install iOS apps without App Store? ›

How do I download an app from Safari?
  1. Open Safari > Go to the official website of the app you want to download.
  2. Locate the app and click download. And then you'll see a download icon.
  3. Once downloading finished, click the download icon to install the app by following the instructions.
Jan 6, 2023

What app can open IPA file? ›

An IPA file is technically not meant to be opened. It can be used to test the application it stores or submitted directly to the Apple App Store. You can however open an IPA file if you wish to. Use an unzip tool like Winzip or 7-Zip to decompress an IPA file and see the contents inside it.

How do I download third party apps on my iPhone? ›

The process is quite simple.
  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer (USD connection) via a data cable.
  2. Start iTunes application on your computer.
  3. Choose your iPhone model from the list of devices.
  4. Click the Apps tab in iTunes.
  5. Mark the applications you did like to transfer to your iPhone. ...
  6. Click Sync.

How to upload IPA file to TestFlight without Xcode? ›

6 Answers
  1. After it opens select "Next"
  2. Enter your iTunes Connect Apple ID and Password and select "Next"
  3. After your authenticated select "Next"
  4. Select your App and click "Next"
  5. Confirm App compatability.
  6. "Choose" the binary file to upload.
  7. Select and click "Next"
  8. Start the upload by clicking "Send"
Oct 28, 2011

Can I download IPA from App Store Connect? ›

ipa bundle for execution on an iOS device (not Simulator) cannot be downloaded from App Store Connect. Apple does not provide any way of retrieving an upload app/IPA. It's neither possible through App Store Connect nor the App Store Connect API.

How do I install an IPA file on my iPhone online? ›

ipa file from the Artifacts tab:
  1. Open your app on Bitrise.
  2. Select the build with the . ipa file you would like to install.
  3. Go to the Artifacts tab.
  4. Click on Download next to the . ipa file.
  5. Click Install, under the Install the app on your iOS device section.

How to install IPA file online? ›

We have made the process easier to send your testing builds.
  1. Upload. Upload your IPA file for iOS or APK file for Android.
  2. SUBMIT. Click on Submit to get the installation link.
  3. SHARE. Share that link to your clients, friends or developers or use it for your own device.
  4. OPEN. Open that link in particular device.

How do I manually download iOS apps? ›

Apple iPhone - Install Apps
  1. From a Home screen, tap. App Store. . ...
  2. To browse the App Store, tap. Apps. (at the bottom).
  3. Scroll then tap the desired category (e.g., New Apps We Love, Top Categories, etc.). To search for apps by name, tap. ...
  4. Tap the app.
  5. Tap. GET. ...
  6. If prompted, sign in to the App Store to complete the install.

Is it possible to download apps without App Store? ›

You can install apps from file-syncing services such as Dropbox, as long as you enable this feature for the relevant app. That's really all there is to it—the process might vary slightly if you're using something other than the stock version of Android 10, which is the latest version at the time of writing.

How do I install iOS apps from files? ›

drag the app file into iTunes and then select your device in the iTunes . After that you can find the apps tab on the iTunes. Then you will see the dragged app file . CLick on the install and sync your phone .

Does iOS allow 3rd party apps? ›

You can use iCloud with third-party apps on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. For an overview of what you can do with iCloud, see Keep third-party app data up to date on all your Apple devices with iCloud. Note: Make sure you are signed in with the same Apple ID on each device.

How to install third-party apps on iPhone without jailbreak? ›

Download AnyTrans on your Mac/PC and here is the step-by-step guide on how to install apps on iPhone without iTunes no jailbreak.
  1. Run AnyTrans and Choose App Downloader. ...
  2. Click Download Button to Download the App. ...
  3. Install Apps on iPhone.
Feb 15, 2022

Does Apple allow third-party app stores? ›

As part of the changes, customers could ultimately download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company's App Store, sidestepping Apple's restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it imposes on payments.

How do I manually upload an IPA to TestFlight? ›

In this article
  1. From the Stores home page, select “App Store Connect users”.
  2. Click Publish to TestFlight in the upper-right corner.
  3. At the first step of the wizard, you must upload you . ...
  4. Enter release notes. ...
  5. Click Publish.
Mar 23, 2021

How to send IPA without TestFlight? ›

First Open Xcode and Select any simulator or iOS device, then run your application.
  1. Now Select the iOS device as —>Any iOS Device.
  2. Go to Product Tab and select archive menu to archive your project . ...
  3. After successful archive , click on “Distribute App” and then Select “Ad Hoc” as distribution method.
Sep 19, 2021

How do I distribute IPA without App Store? ›

The Apple Developer Enterprise Program allows you to distribute your app internally, outside of the App Store, and costs $299 per year. You'll need to be part of this program in order to create the required certificates for the app.

How do I download original IPA files? ›

Using Apple Configurator 2
  1. Download an app from App Store to you phone.
  2. Open Apple Configurator 2 on your Mac and log into your Apple account.
  3. Connect your phone to your Mac using a USB cable.
  4. Into Apple Configurator 2 select your phone.
  5. Then tap on the “Add” button in the top, then tap on “Apps” button.
Mar 8, 2019

How do I connect my iPhone to an IPA? ›

Log in with the same Apple ID on both devices, connect the devices to the same WiFi network, turn on Bluetooth and Handoff. Handoff is easy to turn on. You go to 'Settings' and tap 'General' > 'Airplay and Handoff'. Turn on 'Handoff'.

Where is the IPA file located in iPhone? ›

But if an iOS device has an older version of iTunes, you can locate the default directory path where download apps are stored. Here are the default file paths for Mac and Windows: Mac: ~ > Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Mobile Applications. Windows: C:> Users > Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Mobile Applications.

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