Download and Test iPhone Apps Before Buying From the App Store

by Eric Pena on August 3, 2008

Update 2: If you upgrade to iPhone 2.1 with the PwnageTool 2.1, you need to perform this procedure again and use the patched MobileInstallation 2.1 file.

Update 1: If you upgrade to iPhone 2.0.1 with the PwnageTool 2.0.2, you need to perform this procedure again.

So you have jailbroken your iPhone 2.0 with the PwnageTool so you can enjoy more applications from the official iPhone App Store and from 3rd party application developers by way of Cydia (and from the soon to be released Installer 4.0). Well, there is another reason why a jailbroken iPhone is better than one that is not—and that is, you can download the applications, albeit modified, so you can install, run and test them before buying the official version from the App Store.

These iPhone apps has the .ipa extension and you can download them from certain sites if you know where to find them. Then you have to do the following to save the apps to iTunes and sync them to your iPhone.

Step 1.

  • Upgrade your iPhone to firmware 2.0 using the PwnageTool (see my other post).
  • Install OpenSSH from the iPhone’s Cydia application installer(you can turn on and off SSH if you install BossPrefs also from Cydia).
  • Restart your iPhone.

Step 2.

  • Using an SFTP client software on your Mac or PC, connect (SSH) to your iPhone (default username is root and password is alpine).
  • Navigate to the iPhone folder: “/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileInstallation.framework” (MobileInstallation.framework is a folder).
  • Backup the file “MobileInstallation” from the directory above(rename it to MobileInstallation.bak).
  • Download the MobileInstallation patched file at http://www.mediafire.com/?vjotnnda4nm.
  • Copy the patched MobileInstallation file to the “/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileInstallation.framework” folder (there should be no extension on the MobileInstallation file).
  • Set the permission of the MobileInstallation file to 775 (right-click on the file and select info).
  • Navigate to “/private/var/mobile/” folder.
  • Set the permission of the folder Applications to 777 (make sure reclusive is checked).
  • Navigate to the “/private/var/mobile/Applications/ folder.
  • Create a Documents folder in the “/private/var/mobile/Applications/” folder.
  • Set the permission to 777.
  • Navigate to the root level and open the Applications folder.
  • Create a Documents folder inside the /Applications folder and set permission to 777.
  • Reboot your iPhone – IMPORTANT! Otherwise Apps will not install!
  • Restart iTunes.
  • Download one OFFICIAL app from the App Store, if you haven’t already (a free app is fine as long as it came from the App Store).

Step 3.

  • Download an iPhone application with a .ipa extension (Google is your best friend).
  • Drag and drop the application.ipa file into the iTunes Applications library.
  • Sync the new application to your iPhone.
  • Reboot your phone IF the app does not show up in your iPhone.
  • Test the application!

Note: If you like the application, please buy it from the App Store or iTunes Store.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt August 7, 2008 at 9:56 pm

I was wondering if this would work on the new 2.0.1 firmware for the iPod touch. I did it and it seems to get stuck at the apple boot logo. To fix this I just had to delete the cracked mobile installation file and used the backup. Does that mean that a new mobile installation file would have to be cracked for the new firmware? Seems likely and logical. Great blog by the way. Thanks, respond if you can!

2 Matt August 8, 2008 at 11:56 am

I was wondering if this would work on the new 2.0.1 firmware for the iPod touch. I did it and it seems to get stuck at the apple boot logo. To fix this I just had to delete the cracked mobile installation file and used the backup. Does that mean that a new mobile installation file would have to be cracked for the new firmware? Seems likely and logical. Great blog by the way. Thanks, respond if you can!

3 menooB August 9, 2008 at 1:32 am

Well, it looks like this method no longer works with firmware 2.0.1. :-(

4 menooB August 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Well, it looks like this method no longer works with firmware 2.0.1. :-(

5 menooB August 9, 2008 at 4:54 am

Oops, it does work on 2.0.1. You just have to perform the procedure again.

6 menooB August 9, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Oops, it does work on 2.0.1. You just have to perform the procedure again.

7 PwnToolediPhone August 9, 2008 at 7:14 am

iPhone 2.0.1, pwnd with PwnageTool latest version, keep getting the boot logo wont go further, iTunes does recognize it tho, can sync etc… any other way to install tryout games?

8 PwnToolediPhone August 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

iPhone 2.0.1, pwnd with PwnageTool latest version, keep getting the boot logo wont go further, iTunes does recognize it tho, can sync etc… any other way to install tryout games?

9 menooB August 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Maybe a problem on how you pwned it? Try pwning it again.

After your iPhone gets updated to 2.0.1, perform this tutorial again. Syncing to iTunes will bring back your apps.

10 menooB August 10, 2008 at 11:03 am

Maybe a problem on how you pwned it? Try pwning it again.

After your iPhone gets updated to 2.0.1, perform this tutorial again. Syncing to iTunes will bring back your apps.

11 Matt (again) August 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm

OH JEEZ… I found out what went wrong. Eh, I feel so stupid. I erased the file extension for mobileinstallation AFTER i put it SSH’d it into the iPod. I just tried it again thinking it would actually work but instead erased the file extension BEFORE putting it in.

12 menoob August 18, 2008 at 10:48 pm

At least you finally got it working. Now, have fun testing those apps!

13 HC August 22, 2008 at 10:14 am

hi, i have an app i need to ssh into my iphone but it has several folders, which i don't know where to place them..

i've installed other .ipa & .app but here i'm lost.. please help…

in the main folder:
-abc.app
-abc.framework folder, which has within it has abc.dylib
-library folder, which has within it has a folder named abc, which has within it has a file named abc.sqlitedb
-system folder, which has within it has a library folder, which has within it has a coreservies folder, which has within it has a file named springboard.app

14 menoob August 25, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Hmm, not sure how. Can you point me to the link?

15 smat September 24, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Hello,
please help; I can't change the permissions of the folder “applications” in the mobile folder in Private/var… When I change it to 777 and check reclusive then OK i get an error: “cannot change properties of file 'applications/0EB970F5-5AD8-47FC-9B50-09ADDA32EF6D/library/preferences/com.apple.peoplepicker.plist'.” it gives me the option to either abort, retry, skip, and skip all… I think i'm going to just skip it and see what happens but your help will be appreciated… i'm on iphone 3G jailbroken on 2.1 FW..

16 ninjazx September 24, 2008 at 4:59 pm

i followed the instructions that you gave and so far its bin spot on thanks
3g on 2.1

17 ninjazx September 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm

smat
as far as i can see you dont change that below
'applications/0EB970F5-5AD8-47FC-9B50-09ADDA32EF6D/library/preferences/com.apple.peoplepicker.plist'

just permissions of the applications folder

18 menoob September 24, 2008 at 10:58 pm

I'm not sure what is that particular application that gives an error, but try “skip” and see what happens.

19 menoob September 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm

You're welcome! :-)

20 smat September 25, 2008 at 7:42 am

thanks guys I simply pressed skip and so far so good; everything worked out…

Can you guys help me out with something please? I was playing spore last night for about half an hour or so and when I exited the game I checked the battery and it was over half full and this morning it was at %20 in the red. Do you guys know why it drained so much overnight (half of the battery)? Perhaps part of the game was still running in the background, or other games that I have tried? I’m on iphone 3g 2.1 FW 3G was on wifi was off and so was BT…

Any suggestions?

21 Andre Momm September 30, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Works PERFECT. Thank you very mutch.

22 Aaron October 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

This is the best, most “detailed” set of instructions I've found yet. I appreciate you taking the time to go STEP by STEP and leave NOTHING out. I was about to pull my hair out because the cracked .app I had installed would NEVER show up on my springboard. I didn't even know about having to replace the “MobileInstallation” file because the sources I was following the “install cracked .apps” from never mentioned it. I guess those places just assumed I had already replaced my default MobileInstallation file with the 2.1 patched file or, at least, knew about it. As with the old saying, “assumption is the mother of all f-up's” which, in my case, was their assuming was causing me to f-up! I'm still learning this whole jailbroken, cracked app installin', modifying, etc. stuff for my iPhone 3g, so it takes a while to learn this stuff and when people who write tutorials, blogs, etc. don't include every little bit of information, or, at least, try to be thorough then if makes it harder to accomplish hacks and learn this stuff because when something doesn't work out correctly then it's probably due to some small, minuscule file or piece of information that was left out of the tutorial or blog. Thank God for google though!! :)

I downloaded a cracked “Readdle Docs” .app file to check it out and could never get it to show up on the springboard even after changing all the permissions and adding the “Documents” folders. The missing piece to the puzzle was upgrading the patched “MobileInstallation” file. Thanks again for the great info! Your blog is definitely getting bookmarked by me. :)

23 menoob October 8, 2008 at 5:27 am

Thank you for the kind words! This motivates me to do better :-)

24 XxX December 2, 2008 at 2:03 am

Appshare is too laggy for my liking. Where do I get the MobileInstallation file for 2.2?

25 menoob December 2, 2008 at 2:19 am

Once you have downloaded AppShare and Installous from Cydia, you don't have to use them if you don't want to, but you can still download ipa files from your favorite websites and install them manually from iTunes to your iPhone 2.2.

AppShare for me is great without lags.

26 troy December 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm

sorry i'm new on this, i'm stuck on step two….where do i get a free sftp client….really have no idea on this proceedure… help please…… i have a non 3g iphone 2.1 bought it pre hacked, jailbroken….. i have openssh installed, i saw it on my cydia, i'm gonna need help on how to make all these apps loaded to my iphone though…..thanks in advance!

27 troy December 15, 2008 at 8:23 pm

ok i got the sftp client downloaded…..i just need to figure out how to:
# Using an SFTP client software on your Mac or PC, connect (SSH) to your iPhone (default username is root and password is alpine).

# Navigate to the iPhone folder: “/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileInstallation.framework” (MobileInstallation.framework is a folder).

# Backup the file “MobileInstallation” from the directory above(rename it to MobileInstallation.bak). HELP PLEASEEEEEE!

28 menoob December 16, 2008 at 5:34 am

I would recommend that you follow this tutorial instead:

http://menoob.com/2008/11/24/looking-for-mobile

The steps are very easy and you don't even have to install mobileinstallation! :-)

29 deniedMac December 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm

hey man what;s up…
I have done everything u said, but when I c the app in my iPhone and touch it to play it says “The application cannot be opened”….
what can I do man…? need some help…

30 deniedMac December 30, 2008 at 12:01 am

btw the permission 0775 is the same as 775…?

31 ed May 31, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Ive jailbroken my firmware 2.2.1 itouch using winpawn and installed installous. Installed apps using installous and works fine but i prefer downloading the ipas by computer and sshing in download folder of installous and install it using installous and it seems to work just fine. The problem im trying to solve is NONE of the apps i installed thru installous are updating. Ive been searching in google if other people are having similar problem but with no luck so im assuming every1s installed cracked/test apps are updating just fine. Can any1 tell me how to get all my cracked/test apps installed thru installous to start updating? Also tried syncing with itunes but it doesnt update as well although the apps was synced successfully.

32 menoob May 31, 2009 at 9:33 pm

ed, what exactly do you mean by updating?

33 ed June 1, 2009 at 2:18 am

Ive jailbroken my firmware 2.2.1 itouch using winpawn and installed installous. Installed apps using installous and works fine but i prefer downloading the ipas by computer and sshing in download folder of installous and install it using installous and it seems to work just fine. The problem im trying to solve is NONE of the apps i installed thru installous are updating. Ive been searching in google if other people are having similar problem but with no luck so im assuming every1s installed cracked/test apps are updating just fine. Can any1 tell me how to get all my cracked/test apps installed thru installous to start updating? Also tried syncing with itunes but it doesnt update as well although the apps was synced successfully.

34 menoob June 1, 2009 at 11:33 am

ed, what exactly do you mean by updating?

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