Where iOS Apps Are Stored Locally in Mac OS X and Windows

Dec 15, 2011 - 12 Comments

iOS Apps location

iOS apps are downloaded as bundles with a .ipa file extensions, but they are stored in different places than your default iOS backups location. If you want to access iPhone and iPad apps manually, here’s where to find them for both Mac OS X Lion, Snow Leopard, and Windows 7:

The easiest way to access these directories is by hitting Command+Shift+G and using Go To Folder, note the path is different depending on the OS:

  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications/
  • Mac OS X 10.6: ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications/
  • Windows 7: C:\Users\Username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\

As long as you’ve downloaded and bought the apps from the same Apple ID and all hardware has been authorized with iTunes, you can move the .ipa bundles from one machine to another, place them in the appropriate folder, and they will continue to sync with the approved iOS hardware. (You won’t want to do this with a new Mac though, you need to authorize it first within iTunes.)

Most of the IPA files are pretty small, but if an apps file size seems too small, it’s probably because it was paused in the middle of a download from iTunes. That doesn’t mean you don’t own the app, it just means you have to download it again if you want to use and sync it. Generally the app sizes are reasonable enough and you wouldn’t need to move this directory to another drive, but for unique scenarios, go for the same methodology of moving iOS backups to another drive and using symbolic links to keep everything working as intended.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Atttos says:

    Thank you so much! Saving disk space from apple’s stupid application is a great deal!

  2. Mike says:

    I am using OSX 10.9 so do you have the instructions for moving an app when both Macs are running 10.9 and both iPads are running 5.0.1 (wont update any higher).

  3. Sailesh says:

    Is it necessary to have same apple ID to authorize the computer when apps were downloaded or purchased?? If I ever use other computer to sync the apps. Please reply to query. Thanks

  4. Eshha says:


    I wanted to know where are the files stored for the apps which were installed in my ipod and then later on deleted. Because i had a few games in there, which i removed, but when i access it though itunes, it still shows “download” than “free”.

    Is there a hidden folder or some nib file, specifically meant for all the apps (irrespective of the fact they are present or deleted)?

  5. It’s ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Mobile Applications/ for me on OS X Lion…

  6. […] recently showed you where iOS apps are stored locally on the computer, but if you just want to quickly access that folder or get to a single app in the Mac OS X Finder, […]

  7. […] | OSXdaily PLISTA.items.push({"objectid":26233,"title":"Truco: accede al sitio donde iTunes guarda las […]

  8. Marucins says:

    A Guide for morons

  9. Eric says:

    If the iTunes is the same Apple ID I don’t think you need to authorize, if you are moving apps from one Mac to another at least.

    • Derder says:

      Regardless you should always be in the habit of authorizing machines you sync and deauthorizing machines you no longer use.

Leave a Reply


Shop on Amazon.com and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site