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On Ubuntu 16.04, since iOS 10 update, libimobiledevice can't connect to my iPhone. This is my attempt to document a fix.

Why this document?

I upgraded my iPhone 5s to iOS 10 and could no longer retrieve photos from it. This was unacceptable for me so I worked at achieving retrieving my photos. This document is my story (on Ubuntu 16.04).

The solution is to compile libimobiledevice and ifuse from source.

Audience

Who is this guide intended for?

Compiling software is what I would consider an advanced Linux skill. If you're not interested in tinkering with your operating system then this guide may not be for you. There's a lot of concepts I don't explain or gloss over with brevity to keep these instructions brief (compared to explaining everything).

While I did my best to think of beginners when creating this guide; this guide is not for the faint of heart. If you've not compiled software before then I recommend you practicing inside of VirtualBox before attempting this on your real system. Follow this guide at your own risk because I can't make any guarantees based on unknown individual skill level.

Support

This solution works for (posted via comments):

  • Archlinux
  • Debian GNU/Linux 8 - 64 bits
  • Debian GNU/Linux 9
  • Kubuntu 18.04
  • Linux Mint 18
  • Linux Mint 18.1
  • Linux Mint 18.2
  • Linux Mint 18.3
  • Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon
  • openSUSE Leap 42.3
  • Raspbian GNU/Linux 9.4 (stretch)
  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • Ubuntu 17.04
  • XUbuntu 16.04

This solution does not work for the following:

  • Ubuntu 14.04

On Ubuntu 16.04, I have personally used this method to connect to iOS 10. Other users report connecting (via comments):

  • iOS 10
  • iOS 10.1
  • iOS 10.2
  • iOS 10.3.1
  • iOS 10.3.3
  • iOS 11.2.2
  • iOS 11.3.1
  • iOS 11.4
  • iOS 11.4.1
  • iOS 12.0
  • iOS 12.0.1 (16A404)
  • iOS 12.1.4

Hardware: I have personally successfully used this method on an iPhone 5S. The following is a list of hardware successes from other users (via comments below).

  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod Touch 6th Generation

If you get this working on a flavor that I don't list, then please post a comment and I will update this support section.

Setup environment

Don't forget to set up your environment before building. I typically build and install packages to my local user at $HOME/usr.

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential git

Here's a peek at my .bashrc settings:

[ ! -d "$HOME/usr/src" ] && mkdir -p "$HOME/usr/src"
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="${HOME}/usr/lib/pkgconfig:${PKG_CONFIG_PATH}"
export CPATH="${HOME}/usr/include:${CPATH}"

export MANPATH="${HOME}/usr/share/man:${MANPATH}"

export PATH="${HOME}/usr/bin:${PATH}"
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${HOME}/usr/lib:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"

Notes:

  • Important! PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH is important because it is the runtime of libimobiledevice and ifuse to fix mounting iOS 10 devices.
  • MANPATH is only used when looking up man pages so it's optional (I recommend it).
  • PKG_CONFIG_PATH and CPATH is used at compile time to resolve dependencies.

Build libimobiledevice and ifuse from HEAD

Building on other platforms and OSes (reported in user comments)

Jump to Clone and Build.

Building on Ubuntu 16.04

Install development packages discovered through trial and error.

sudo apt-get install automake libtool pkg-config libplist-dev libplist++-dev python-dev libssl-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libfuse-dev

Clone and Build

Clone the sources.

cd ~/usr/src
for x in libusbmuxd usbmuxd libimobiledevice ifuse; do git clone https://github.com/libimobiledevice/${x}.git;done

Now build in order (the order matters):

  1. libplist (not required on Ubuntu 16.04)
  2. libusbmuxd
  3. libimobiledevice
  4. usbmuxd
  5. ifuse

Note: (Optional) If you have a system package installed which is in the above list, then I recommend uninstalling it. However, if you can't uninstall it, then no big deal. It is mostly a precautionary measure. As long as you set the bash environment variables properly, then your compiled version should not reference your system packages. Uninstalling any system packages is by no means required.

Note 2: Removing usbmuxd was required on Debian Jessie 8.10 mentioned in comments.

Build libusbmuxd
cd ~/usr/src/libusbmuxd
./autogen.sh --prefix="$HOME/usr"
make && make install
Build libimobiledevice
cd ~/usr/src/libimobiledevice
./autogen.sh --prefix="$HOME/usr"
make && make install
Build usbmuxd

Unfortunately, sudo make install is required because it needs to write to /lib/udev/rules.d and /lib/systemd/system.

cd ~/usr/src/usbmuxd
./autogen.sh --prefix="$HOME/usr"
make && sudo make install
Build ifuse
cd ~/usr/src/ifuse
./autogen.sh --prefix="$HOME/usr"
make && make install

Connect iPhone

Create a mount point and verify the paths of the tools before executing.

$ mkdir -p ~/usr/mnt

$ type -P ifuse
/home/sam/usr/bin/ifuse

$ type -P idevicepair
/home/sam/usr/bin/idevicepair

Now attempt to mount using ifuse.

$ idevicepair pair
SUCCESS: Paired with device 37b633350ab83dc815a6a97dcd6d327b12c41968

$ ifuse ~/usr/mnt/

$ ls ~/usr/mnt/
AirFair  Books  CloudAssets  DCIM  Downloads  FactoryLogs  iTunes_Control  MediaAnalysis  PhotoData  Photos  PhotoStreamsData  PublicStaging  Purchases  Radio  Recordings  Safari  Vibrations

When you're finished. Unmount ~/usr/mnt using fusermount. For example,

fusermount -u ~/usr/mnt

Browsing Photos

The mounted iPhone has an empty Photos folder. Strangely, this has no photos. Instead, look in the DCIM folder for photos.

I have only copied photos off of my iPhone as a backup. I have not tried copying photos to my iPhone.

Browsing Music

It is a known issue music sync no longer works in later versions of iOS with libimobiledevice. Since Apple changed some things (outlined in linked issues), music sync hasn't worked since as early as iOS 6 and still doesn't work.

@samrocketman
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samrocketman commented Nov 10, 2019

@dublinx333 I don't use Mint myself so can't comment on its out of the box support. However, consider the following:

  • I believe Mint has a live distro from which you can try it out without installing. I recommend trying it out and seeing if out of the box support exists.
  • If it doesn't work out of the box, others have reported using the latest libimobiledevice sources work. This guide documents hints and workarounds for someone who wants to compile it themselves; whatever their distribution.

I myself only have an iPhone 6 and tend to keep it up to date with the latest available iOS.

@samrocketman
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samrocketman commented Nov 17, 2019

Also worth noting on Pop OS 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.04 I didn't need to compile anything for out of the box support. I imagine any mint version based on this would also have out of the box support.

I was able to copy home videos onto my VLC app on iPad and copy off files and pictures from my iPhone.

@20k-ultra
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20k-ultra commented Feb 22, 2020

I can confirm that by following these instructions I was able to fix my issues connecting to my iPhone. Prior to this I installed the same tools from apt and would get the following response with idevicepair validate command: idevicepair unhandled error code 3

Only tweaks required were to use sudo install for some make installs when I got permission issues as well as install some dev versions of libraries when building some of the libraries.

Debian Stretch 9.12
iPhone X
iOS 13.3

Thank you!

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