Using this app as an example:


I would like to just download the file itself, is that possible? To better explain, for example with an Android app, some different websites and programs are available for this purpose:


So I am wanting the same thing for Apple if possible. I would like to download the app file, so that I can inspect the contents.

  • Do you have a Mac or PC or other computer or is this asking to do it directly from an iOS device?
    – bmike
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:49

4 Answers 4


You can use ipatool to download ipa files from appstore.


macOS 10.11 or later.
Apple ID set up to use the App Store.

github: https://github.com/majd/ipatool

install ipatool on mac:

brew tap majd/repo
brew install ipatool

first you need to login:

ipatool auth login

then you need to purchase a bundle to be able to download it:

ipatool purchase -b com.cisco.anyconnect

then you can download the bundle:

ipatool download -b com.cisco.anyconnect
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:47
  • This is an excellent - well documented tool that reverse engineered the download protocol and looks to be top notch answer if you need to undertake this task.
    – bmike
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:50
  • Why would we need com.cisco.anyconnect?
    – SmallChess
    Jan 9, 2023 at 0:45
  • @SmallChess it's a placeholder for app name, I needed it for VPN. Jan 10, 2023 at 16:02
  • 1
    Note: ipatool is now available on Windows, Mac, Linux now
    – JP Zhang
    Jan 19, 2023 at 9:58

You can download .ipa files of iOS apps using iTunes 12.6.4. This is a special branch from Apple that can be installed alongside newer versions of iTunes. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208079

The Mac version is not compatible with macOS 10.14 Mojave or above. You may want to use the Windows version inside of a VM.

Once you have the .ipa file, you can peek inside further by changing the file extension to .zip and opening it with Archive Utility. Then, right click the .app file and select "show package contents". This is useful if e.g. you want to extract an icon or other asset.

I haven't used this myself but you can also download the .ipa files with iMazing, which is compatible with current macOS releases. However, this requires putting your Apple ID password into a third-party program.

  • Is it possible to run iTunes 12.6.5 alongside a more up to date version under macOS? When I try to launch version 12.6.5 under Yosemite it gives an error that the library was created by a newer version of iTunes and won't continue loading iTunes 12.6.5
    – Scottmeup
    Mar 13, 2021 at 15:52
  • @Scottmeup It’s explicitly made possible with that special version of iTunes, but I don’t know that you can use the same iTunes library between them, they may need to be separate. Mar 13, 2021 at 18:16
  • @Wowfunhappy I'm using the version of iTunes (12.6.5) linked in the answer. It doesn't give any option to use a different library. I'm not sure how I would be able to run the two versions alongside each other?
    – Scottmeup
    Mar 14, 2021 at 7:33

I would stick to using Apple Apps (and yes, Apple uses http for delivery - content caching on macOS will show you the requests easier than using a proxy on your iPhone or intercepting the traffic on the network. The benefit of caching service is additional logs / and cache the files will be present on your Mac hard drive when any iOS device on your subnet downloads the app).

If you manage to fake out the store with a web browser that mimics the app request - consider what a terms of service / license violation would entail.

  • Manipulating play counts, downloads, ratings, or reviews via any means — such as (i) using a bot, script, or automated process
  • You may access our Services only using Apple’s software, and may not modify or use modified versions of such software.


Once you’ve downloaded the app using Apple’s software you should be clear to analyze it as long as you’re not further distributing it or using the app should you choose to alter or change it and not just learning how it was assembled. Consider checking with a lawyer in your area if you have questions on contracts/licensing questions.

  • Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s possible to scrape things, just be aware of the consequences if you decide to ignore the “rules”.
    – bmike
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:47
  • The question asks about about how to download an iOS app to a Mac for analysis. Not sure how your answer addresses that.
    – nohillside
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:16
  • Thanks @nohillside there is nothing in the body that says Mac is in play.
    – bmike
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:20
  • I'll assume macOS is in play and cover the content caching aspect to see the IPA files and logs as well.
    – bmike
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:44

You can get the IPA file here:


To get the IPA file you need TOR.

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