How can I access the database of an iPhone app I have purchased to copy it to an Excel spreadsheet? And how can I access its media files to copy them to my hard drive?

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    Have you asked the developer of the app you purchased if this is supported? Why do you want to do this? – fsb Apr 14 '17 at 16:13
  • @fsb: It's a vocabulary flashcards app with no spaced repetition. I'd like to convert it to an Anki deck in order to take advantage of spaced repetition. – Evan Aad Apr 14 '17 at 16:15
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    Does it use an internal database or cloud-based? If it's a new(er) app it might use NoSQL cloud-based storage, then you might not be able to get it. – fsb Apr 14 '17 at 17:05
  • @fsb: It uses an internal database. I know it because I use it offline. – Evan Aad Apr 14 '17 at 20:11
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    No worries. Bonus point for coming back and posting the findings as an answer! – nohillside Apr 15 '17 at 9:46

If the data does not show in iTunes File Sharing, you can use iExplorer to read your iTunes backup for the app’s container.

  • Thanks. The data does not show in iTunes File Sharing, and when I click the app in iExplorer no files are listed and the following message is shown in the sidebar: "This app does not have iTunes file sharing enabled. On devices with iOS 8.3, the developer of the app must enable file sharing in order to access the app contents." – Evan Aad Apr 14 '17 at 20:57
  • Thank you! The backup contains a folder called 'App - X', where X is the name of the application I'm interested in. This folder contains two files: a properties list (.plist file) and an SQLite database (.sqlite file). The database contains columns that specify the names of the media files (just names, no paths), but not the raw media data itself. I searched the entire backup folder for the name of one of the media files listed in the database but no results came up. Do you have an idea where I might be able to locate the media files? – Evan Aad Apr 15 '17 at 5:10

Here are the steps that have solved my problem.

  1. Database: Use iExplorer to create a backup of your iPhone. In iExplorer go to X/App - Y/Documents/ where X is the name of the backup folder and Y is the name of the app preceded by the name of the company that sells it. This folder contains an SQLite database file (with the extension .sqlite).

  2. Media: Open iTunes on your iMac, make sure the app is downloaded (if not - download it), then browse in Finder to ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications/. Copy the file Y.ipa to your desktop, where Y is the app's name. In the desktop change the file's extension to .zip. Extract the zip file. Search for the app executable, right-click and select Show Package Contents. All the media files are there.

Step 1 was suggested by grgarside in his answer on the present thread.
Step 2 was suggested by Kamil.S in his comments to this post from stackoverflow.

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