I am using an OSX box to run a bash script to extract an iOS IPA file so that I can use otool and nm to extract details about the app for vulnerability analysis. The ipa files are already decrypted, because I am doing grey box analysis as part of scheduled testing.

The command line has no problem with the ipa file itself, using unzip, but then inside the Payload folder there is a compressed archive witht he same name as the ipa file without the extension that Windows and Linux can extrace with the unzip command, but OSX cannot. You can, in Finder, right click and show contents, but I do not want to perform this step. I am writing a script, so I want to do it from a Unix command.

How does one open this archive in iOS? I can script the extraction in Windows or Linux, but cannot run otool or nm there.

I have tried:

  • Directly addressing the archive as a folder, where I get a "this is not a directory" error.
  • Using unzip, where I get a "cannot find this archive" error.
  • Using the open -R command, which opens it successfully in Finder, but that doesn't allow the rest of the script to open

1 Answer 1


Never mind. The internal folder in question has a .ipa extension that I missed.

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