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Two days ago I installed and compared 3 iPhone cache-cleaning apps on my Mac. Yes these are apps on Mac, so they have the ability to manage and control your iPhone.

Here comes my first concern: since iOS is using the sandbox structure, we can't see folders when iPhone is connected to a computer, how could these apps find cache folders and delete files? Did they jailbreak the phone? I'm running iOS 10.0.2.

Moreover, I realised these apps could be malware, as I found a log file that showed my Mac serial number. What consequences I might have if the SN is disclosed?

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iOS apps that run on the device itself are sandboxed. Software running on an external device is not nearly as limited since it has more direct access to the device.

The reason you can't directly see folders on the device when you connect it to a computer is software - the drivers that let the computer OS recognize the device are set up to not show it as a removable storage device in Finder.

No, you did not jailbreak your phone.

Anyone who has physical access to your Mac can obtain the serial number (as can any application running on it). The appearance of the serial number in a log just means it was logged to your computer. It doesn't actually tell you anything about what was done with it. The serial number is not private information, anyway.

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  • thank you! This makes me quite relaxed..One more question, could this sort of apps be malware? I just checked their websites, and they hardly leave detailed contact information, such as physical address and phone number.. – J Zhao Sep 27 '16 at 20:03
  • apps developed by trusted developers such as Adobe, Microsoft can read the SN as well? Is it common for apps to do this? Thank you! – J Zhao Sep 27 '16 at 20:05
  • As I said in the answer, any application running on Mac can get the serial number. Whether they do so is another issue. I have no idea if it's common for them to do so or not. Anytime you download software from the internet, there is a risk of it being (or containing) malware. If you think your system may have malware on it, you can use something like Malwarebytes to scan it. – tubedogg Sep 27 '16 at 20:09
  • Thank you! I just tried Malwarebytes, and it didn't find any malware.. – J Zhao Sep 27 '16 at 21:01

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