How to Extract IPSW From iTunes

by Spanner Spencer

Apple applies firmware updates for iOS devices -- such as the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad -- over-the-air and through the iTunes multimedia management software. Before an update takes place, iTunes downloads the firmware in the form of an IPSW file and saves it to your computer. You can then extract the file by opening the correct folder and copying the file.

Step 1

[Launch iTunes]( on your computer. Connect your iPhone, iPod or other iOS-powered device to the computer using its USB cable. ITunes automatically adds it to the Devices list in the left-hand pane.

Step 2

Select your iOS device from the Devices list and open the **Summary** tab. Click the **Update** button followed by the **Download Only** button in the dialog box that pops up. This downloads the latest IPSW file from Apple to your computer, but won't install it on the iOS device.

Step 3

Open the **Home Folder** on your Mac and go to the **Library | Application Support | iTunes** folder. On a Windows PC, open the **Documents** library folder and go to the **AppData | Roaming | Apple Computer | iTunes** folder.

Step 4

Click the folder that corresponds to your iOS device to open it. For example, if you downloaded the IPSW file for an iPhone, open the **iPhone Software Update** folder.

Right-click the file with the IPSW file extension and select **Copy**. Open the folder on your computer that you want to extract the IPSW file to, right-click anywhere inside the window and select **Paste**.


  • Each IPSW file will have a different file name consisting of an alphanumeric string, but they can all be identified by the IPSW file extension.
  • If you have previously used the Download Only function in iTunes, the IPSW file will already be in the iTunes folder.


About the Author

Spanner Spencer has been writing since 2005 for a variety of print and online publications. Focusing on entertainment, gaming and technology, his work has been published by, "The Escapist," "GamesTM," "Retro Gamer," "Empire," "Total PC Gaming" "The Guardian," among others. Spencer is a qualified medical electronics engineer with a Business and Technology Education Council certificate in technical writing from Huddersfield Technical College.

More Articles