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.


7 Answers 7


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. Jul 30, 2015 at 14:57
  • Link doesn’t mention "ios app store package”. Also “stands for” usually means an acronym. So one would expect it to be “IASP”. Other answers clarify that so no worries. Apr 8, 2021 at 8:36

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.

  • 1
    don't know why the down votes; a bit of history that should not be ignored. May 24, 2016 at 20:49
  • 1
    @JerryAndrews Finally someone appreciates the etymology here! Thanks
    – T Blank
    May 25, 2016 at 1:17
  • What's your source for that claim?
    – minseong
    Apr 8, 2021 at 14:19
  • Maybe they tried to sound cooler by making it sound like an alcohol
    – allenlinli
    Oct 10, 2023 at 18:32

IPA stands for "iOS App Store Package", according to Apple - 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.


.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, 2013 at 3:57

As a rule, apps for the iPhone can only be obtained from the App Store as soon as they have been put up for sale there. The apps, so-called IPA files, can also be installed in a roundabout way.

There are various reasons why you might want to install an IPA file on your iPhone yourself. For example, to test a specially developed app or for other, less noble reasons. In this way, at least in theory, illegal copies of apps can be set up with the IPA files. However, you can also install IPA files in this way within narrow limits.


It means Internet Protocol Address

  • 2
    Please read the question carefully. Context is important!
    – Matt
    Aug 8, 2012 at 10:02
  • 6
    It means India Pale Ale. Upvote me, please.
    – user110857
    May 13, 2015 at 17:18
  • Actually, it means I Poke Animals. Just FYI.
    – Lasse Bunk
    Jun 21, 2016 at 16:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .