File fransfer from iPad to FreeBSD

Valeri Galtsev galtsev at
Fri Feb 16 16:40:20 UTC 2018

On 02/16/18 03:47, Polytropon wrote:
> Did anyone succeed in transfering files _from_ an iPad _to_
> a FreeBSD machine using the USB cable? The setting where this
> should work consists of a FreeBSD 10.3-p24 (32 bit) and an
> iPad 32 GB with iOS 11.0.3 15A432.
> Attaching the iPad shows ipheth0 and ue0 devices.
> I have installed the imobiledevice and fusefs-ifuse packages
> via pkg.
> With the command
> 	# idevice pair
> execute twice (with confirming the trust dialog on the iPad)
> I got the system to print the iPad's device ID. But any of
> the other idevice* commands just leads to an error:
> 	# ideviceinfo
> 	ERROR: Could not connect to lockdownd, error code -3
> Mounting attempts fail as well:
> 	# ifuse -d -u <ID> /mnt
> 	Failed to connect to lockdownd service on the device.
> 	Try again. If it still fails try rebooting your device.
> I did as instructed (repeated command, rebooted iPad), but no
> success.
> It does not matter if /var/lib/lockdown is mode 777 or what
> it initially was. It also does not matter if the commands are
> being executed as root or as a normal user.
> I have also tried gtkpod, but it doesn't detect anything at
> all. Manually configuring the iPad doesn't help, it does not
> connect, and the error message ("unsupported checksum type")
> doesn't help.
> I also fully understand that Apple doesn't want me to be able
> to easily transfer files from (or to) the iPad except with
> their tools, but I don't care what Apple wants. That's why
> the "recommended solutions" don't work for me because:
> 1. I won't buy a Mac.
> 2. I won't buy a new PC plus a license of "Windows".
> 3. I won't give out any personal identification information
>     to Apple or MICROS~1 in order to "register".
> 4. I won't register at a "cloud" storage provider.
> So please no suggestions to "just" use iTunes.

I have 100% sympathy to all requirements above. However, withing these 
constraints it probably isn't possible, except for sending stuff to 
email address. The reasons are (as far as I know them):

1. you on iOS device are in jail. Therefore you have no access to 
filesystem, except the way Apple gave you

2. Exporting filesystem over USB is something that Apple does its best 
to not allow. They do their best to make it so that only iTunes is 
capable to talk to iOS device connected via USB. All reports of people 
able to access filesystem of iOS device are considered security breaches 
by Apple, which they "fix" as soon as the can

3. Accessing filesystem of iOS device connected via USB is how these iOS 
devices are jailbroken. The last is violation of agreement with Apple 
you sign when you first touch the darn device

4. Any application - free or not - can only be installed on iOS devices 
through "Application store" owned by Apple - to use which you have to 
have Apple account, and disclose to them your information. At some point 
they were as nasty as requiring to have your valid, verified by them to 
work credit card number, even if you only install free applications. I 
do not know if they became less nasty. My workaround was: my credit card 
company allows me to create "virtual accounts", I was giving Apple that 
one, and after that I immeditely closed that virtual account.

Taking into consideration all above, one option is emailing stuff to 
yourself. You can set up your own mail server accepting huge messages, 
and listening to your home network only, and make that iOS device on the 
same home network, and send huge e-mails with very many photos in each. 
Another option somewhat violating your requirements is to install open 
source equivalent of "dropbox" on your machine: I use owncloud, which I 
set up for the Department some 3 or so years ago. Then you will have to 
use apple store once, and buy for $0.99 mobile owncloud client. Mind 
though that you need decently new version of iOS, owncloud client coming 
through apple store will refuse to work with older versions of iOS.

Almost all applications coming through apple store will refuse to 
install on older version of iOS. Thus, iOS devices are planfully 
(painfully for us, stupid, who paid for them) obsoleted by Apple: they 
do not let you upgrade to latest iOS rather old devices. Once you 
acquire iOS device discarded by someone else, to take it into your 
possession you have to reinstall iOS (and present your valid appleID at 
first boot). But after that you will not be able to install pretty much 
none of applications through apple store, as apple controls that apple 
store, and almost all applications will refuse to install on older 
system. There you have it. Trash your [cr]Apple gadget. And now that you 
became cleverer - which resembles less that 5% of people on my 
observation - you hopefully will not buy anything from this vendor, not 
from Microsoft either, and hopefully not one of "googloids" (Androids). 
Which leaves you with almost only - great though - choice that Matthias 
told about: Purism smartphone, or laptop... Which will be my choice as 
soon as I have to discard one of my current devices.


> Honestly, what's the problem of not presenting the device as
> a USB mass storage device? Even Android devices can do this
> (with specific limitations)! Shouldn't the iPad be easier to
> use, more advanced, more professionsl? ;-)

Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247

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