What does the .ipa file extension (used for iOS app bundles) stand for? I'm guessing that it has something to do with iPhone app, but I'm not sure.


Your guess was correct.

.ipa stands for iOS App Store Package

Each .ipa file is compressed with a binary for the ARM architecture that can only be installed on iOS devices. If you change the extension to .zip you will be able to unzip it and view the contents.

  • Please check that link. – Vaibhav Mule Jul 30 '15 at 14:57

IPA stands for "iOS App Store Package", according to Apple them self - read the iOS Developer Library - section "Tools Workflow Guide for iOS->Distributing Apps".

Sending Your App to Testers

To send your app to testers:

  1. If you don’t have access to the project that generates the app, obtain an iOS App Store Package (IPA) file for your app from the appropriate teammate. Otherwise, generate the IPA file yourself:

    a. Open the project in Xcode.

    b. Archive your app.

    c. Generate an IPA file for your app.

  2. Download the user testing provisioning profile for your app from the iOS Provisioning Portal to your file system. (You don’t have to install this profile in Xcode.)

  3. Email the user testing provisioning profile and the IPA file to your testers.


According to Apple, .ipa stands for "iOS App Store Package". Wait a minute, that makes no sense at all. It originally stood for:

iPhone Archive

Then, when iPhone OS became iOS, they made up this new translation for it to make its purpose more clear.

  • don't know why the down votes; a bit of history that should not be ignored. – Jerry Andrews May 24 '16 at 20:49
  • @JerryAndrews Finally someone appreciates the etymology here! Thanks – T Blank May 25 '16 at 1:17

.ipa stands for iOS Application Archive.


Its simple... IPA means IPhone Application...

  • Might you have a reference for the phone portion of this acronym? – bmike Feb 18 '13 at 3:57

It means Internet Protocol Address

  • 2
    Please read the question carefully. Context is important! – Matt Aug 8 '12 at 10:02
  • 4
    It means India Pale Ale. Upvote me, please. – gmeben May 13 '15 at 17:18
  • Actually, it means I Poke Animals. Just FYI. – Lasse Bunk Jun 21 '16 at 16:45

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