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Most solutions that have you viewing contents of an iPhone backup have you using a 3rd party solution. There are many such products out there, and not all of them are free.

According to at least one user, it seems there is a way to view the contents without a 3rd party app:

This solution worked as a charm! I manually found the TrustStore.sqlite3 in my backup (I don't trust those apps that do that), then followed your instructions. – Ian Dec 17, 2019 at 21:53

However, even though I have an unencrypted backup, when I try to look at the contents of the backup, its content are split/garbled in many different files/folders like:

  • 00
  • 0a
  • 0b
  • etc.

How do I manually view the contents of these files WITHOUT a 3rd party app?

(An acceptable solution could also point to code that I could manually run to un-garble these files)

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Although it looks like a sparse disk image, the backup file format is actually pretty simple. The only difficult part is figuring out the actual file name of each file since Apple uses a fileID of random numbers/letters instead of an actual file name. You can figure out the file name by examining the Manifest.db file, though:

  1. Create a local backup (only tested with unencrypted backup).

  2. Open the Backup folder.

  3. Open the Manifest.db in a SQLLite viewer.

  4. Find the file you're looking for (e.g. TrustStore.sqlite3) under the relativePath column. Look at the value in its fileID (this will be a random list of numbers and characters).

  5. In your backup, find the corresponding fileID, and rename it to the name you saw in the relativePath column (e.g. TrustStore.sqlite3).

    E.g. if the fileID says 03ab1c2a…, look for the file under the 03 subfolder in your backup.

  6. You can now use the file as you normally would. There is no conversion needed, just a simple file rename!

This was tested on macOS 12 and iOS 16.

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