Friday, April 24, 2015

iOS 8.3 Blocks File Managers and Transfer Utilities

Joe Rossignol (via Josh Centers):

Apple has changed security settings in iOS 8.3 that prevent file managers and transfer utilities such as iFunBox, iTools, iExplorer, iBackupBot and PhoneView from gaining access to app directories on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The change breaks current versions of transfer utilities for OS X and Windows, forcing many developers to release new versions of their software with workarounds that restore at least partial sandbox access.

The new versions can only access files from apps that have iTunes file sharing enabled, and then only from the shared folders. This is a major loss because file access is important for backing up and salvaging files, and for selectively restoring them. (iCloud and iTunes backups are more opaque, incomplete, and all-or-nothing.) I’ve also found file access essential when communicating with app developers to troubleshoot misbehaving apps. I can just look in PhoneView to send a log file or folder listing.

Apple’s intent with the change seems to be to protect users from malicious Mac (and Windows) apps that were installing files onto people’s iPhones, or perhaps surreptitiously reading private app data. If that’s the case, it would make sense to offer an “unlock” feature for when the user wants to grant access.

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