Pure python3 implementation for working with iDevices (iPhone, etc...).





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Python application Pypi version Language grade: Python


pymobiledevice3 is a pure python3 implementation for working with iDevices (iPhone, etc...).

Main features include:

  • TCP port forwarding
  • Viewing syslog lines (including debug)
  • Profile management
  • Application management
  • File system management (AFC)
  • Crash reports management
  • Network sniffing
  • Firmware update
  • Mounting images
  • Notification listening and triggering (notify_post() api)
  • Querying and setting SpringBoard options
  • DeveloperDiskImage features:
    • Taking screenshots
    • Simulate locations
    • Process management
    • Sniffing KDebug messages (strace capabilities++)
    • Process monitoring (top like)
    • Accessibility features
  • Backup


Install the last released version using pip:

python3 -m pip install --user -U pymobiledevice3

Or install the latest version from sources:

git clone
cd pymobiledevice3
python3 -m pip install --user -U -e .

You can also install auto-completion for all available sub-commands by adding the following into your ~/.zshrc:

# python-click<8.0
eval "$(_PYMOBILEDEVICE3_COMPLETE=source_zsh pymobiledevice3)"
# python-click>=8.0
eval "$(_PYMOBILEDEVICE3_COMPLETE=zsh_source pymobiledevice3)"

Lower iOS versions (<13)

If you wish to use pymobiledevice3 with iOS versions lower than 13, Make sure to install openssl:


brew install openssl

On Linux:

sudo apt install openssl


You can either use the CLI:

Usage: pymobiledevice3 [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  --help  Show this message and exit.

  activation       activation options
  afc              FileSystem utils
  apps             application options
  backup2          backup utils
  companion        companion options
  crash            crash report options
  developer        developer options.
  diagnostics      diagnostics options
  list-devices     list connected devices
  lockdown         lockdown options
  mounter          mounter options
  notification     notification options
  pcap             sniff device traffic
  power-assertion  Create a power assertion (wraps...
  processes        processes cli
  profile          profile options
  provision        privision options
  restore          restore options
  springboard      springboard options
  syslog           syslog options

Or import and use the API yourself:

from pymobiledevice3.lockdown import LockdownClient
from import SyslogService

lockdown = LockdownClient()
for line in SyslogService(lockdown=lockdown).watch():
    # just print all syslog lines as is


A recorded example can be viewed at:

Lockdown services

SupportServiceDescription a ping to lockdownd service services access for /var/mobile/Media access for /var/mobile/Library/Logs/CrashReports device's network traffic streams syslog lines as raw strings extensive syslog monitoring diagnostic tools wrapper for notify_post() & notify_register_dispatch() trigger crash_mover to move all crash reports into crash directory management Profiles management features (watches and etc.) backup management power assertion to prevent different kinds of sleep related mounter service (used for DeveloperDiskImage mounting) AFC utils (file management per application bundle) management instrumentation service, iOS<14 (DeveloperDiskImage) instrumentation service, iOS>=14 (DeveloperDiskImage) screenshot into a PNG format (DeveloperDiskImage) features (DeveloperDiskImage) to simulate locations (DeveloperDiskImage) fetching of dyld and dyld shared cache files (DeveloperDiskImage)
Not settings the IDAM configuration (whatever that means...)
Not related
Not related
Not access for iOS <= 8
Not wrapper for notify_post() & notify_register_dispatch() from whitelist
Not to debug WebViews

Exports several ObjC objects and allows calling their respective selectors. The /Developer/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DVTInstrumentsFoundation.framework/DTServiceHub service reads the configuration stored from [[NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults] boolForKey:@"DTXConnectionTracer"] If the value is true, then /tmp/DTServiceHub[PID].DTXConnection.RANDOM.log is created and can be used to debug the transport protocol.

For example:

root@iPhone (/var/root)# tail -f /tmp/DTServiceHub[369].DTXConnection.qNjM2U.log
170.887982 x4 resuming [c0]: <DTXConnection 0x100d20670 : x4>
170.889120 x4   sent   [c0]: < DTXMessage 0x100d52b10 : i2.0 c0 dispatch:[_notifyOfPublishedCapabilities:<NSDictionary 0x100d0e1b0 | 92 key/value pairs>] >
170.889547 x4 received [c0]: < DTXMessage 0x100d0a550 : i1.0 c0 dispatch:[_notifyOfPublishedCapabilities:<NSDictionary 0x100d16a40 | 2 key/value pairs>] >
170.892101 x4 received [c0]: < DTXMessage 0x100d0a550 : i3.0e c0 dispatch:[_requestChannelWithCode:[1]identifier :""] >
170.892238 x4   sent   [c0]: < DTXMessage 0x100d61830 : i3.1 c0 >
170.892973 x4 received [c1f]: < DTXMessage 0x100d0a550 : i4.0e c1 dispatch:[runningProcesses] >
171.204957 x4   sent   [c1f]: < DTXMessage 0x100c557a0 : i4.1 c1 object:(__NSArrayM*)<NSArray 0x100c199d0 | 245 objects> { <NSDictionary 0x100c167c0 | 5 key/value pairs>, <NSDictionary 0x100d17970 | 5 key/value pairs>, <NSDictionary 0x100d17f40 | 5 key/value pairs>, <NSDictionary 0x100d61750 | 5 key/value pairs>, <NSDictionary 0x100c16760 | 5 key/value pairs>, ...  } >
171.213326 x4 received [c0]: < DTXMessage : kDTXInterruptionMessage >
171.213424 x4  handler [c0]: < DTXMessage : i1 kDTXInterruptionMessage >
171.213477 x4 received [c1f]: < DTXMessage : kDTXInterruptionMessage >

For editing the configuration we can simply add the respected key into: /var/mobile/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist and kill cfprefsd

The valid selectors for triggering can be found using the following Frida script the same way Troy Bowman used for iterating all classes which implement the protocol DTXAllowedRPC:

frida -U DTServiceHub
for (var name in ObjC.protocols) {
    var protocol = ObjC.protocols[name]
    if ('DTXAllowedRPC' in protocol.protocols) {
        console.log('@protocol', name)
        console.log('  ' + Object.keys(protocol.methods).join('\n  '))

The complete list for the relevant APIs can be found here:

Provides API for the following operations:

  • Show process list (process name and pid)
  • Stream syslog lines in binary form with optional filtering by pid.
  • Get old stored syslog archive in PAX format (can be extracted using pax -r < filename).
    • Archive contain the contents are the /var/db/diagnostics directory

Provides an API to:

  • Query MobileGestalt & IORegistry keys.
  • Reboot, shutdown or put the device in sleep mode.

On older iOS versions, this was the main relay used for file operations, which was later replaced with AFC.

Starting iOS 5, apple added a remote virtual interface (RVI) facility that allows mirroring networks trafic from an iOS device. On Mac OSX the virtual interface can be enabled with the rvictl command. This script allows to use this service on other systems.

The bits and bytes

To understand the bits and bytes of the communication with lockdownd you are advised to take a look at this article:

Sending your own messages

Lockdown messages

Every such subcommand may wrap several relay requests underneath. If you wish to try and play with some the relays yourself, you can run:

pymobiledevice3 lockdown service <service-name>

This will start an IPython shell where you already have the connection established using the client variable and you can send & receive messages.

# This shell allows you to communicate directly with every service layer behind the lockdownd daemon.

# For example, you can do the following:
client.send_plist({"Command": "DoSomething"})

# and view the reply

# or just send raw message

# and view the result

Instruments messages

If you want to play with DTServiceHub which lies behind the developer options, you can also use:

pymobiledevice3 developer shell

To also get an IPython shell, which lets you call ObjC methods from the exported objects in the instruments' namespace like so:

# This shell allows you to send messages to the DVTSecureSocketProxy and receive answers easily.
# Generally speaking, each channel represents a group of actions.
# Calling actions is done using a selector and auxiliary (parameters).
# Receiving answers is done by getting a return value and seldom auxiliary (private / extra parameters).
# To see the available channels, type the following:

# In order to send messages, you need to create a channel:
channel = developer.make_channel('')

# After creating the channel you can call allowed selectors:

# If an answer is expected, you can receive it using the receive method:
processes = channel.receive_plist()

# Sometimes the selector requires parameters, You can add them using MessageAux. For example lets kill a process:
channel = developer.make_channel('')
args = MessageAux().append_obj(80)  # This will kill pid 80
channel.killPid_(args, expects_reply=False)  # Killing a process doesn't require an answer.

# In some rare cases, you might want to receive the auxiliary and the selector return value.
# For that cases you can use the recv_plist method.
return_value, auxiliary = developer.recv_plist()



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