It used to be difficult to use an iPhone as an external Ubuntu drive. Linux support for iOS devices like iPhone, iPad, and iPod used to be pretty poor, but that situation has changed. How to mount your iPhone (and iPad) storage on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions using the libimobiledevice library.
In order for the iPhone and other iOS devices to be recognized in Ubuntu, you must first install the libimobiledevice library. This allows Ubuntu and other Linux operating systems to interact with these iOS devices.
This is important, especially due to Apple’s security measures. With Libimobiledevice you can access the system information of your device, as well as the internal memory. See the libimobiledevice website for a list of features that are currently included and planned for the future.
If you want to use your iPhone as an external drive, you must first install libimobildevice.
You do not need to add additional package repositories to install libimobiledevice. Open a terminal window and type:
After installing libimobiledevice, try connecting your iPhone. If your iPhone’s file system doesn’t mount automatically when connected, you may need to pair your iPhone. Open a terminal and type:
A success message should appear after running this. Then, run the following:
This allows multiple connections between your iPhone and your Ubuntu installation.
After running all these commands and still cannot connect to your iPhone, you will need to install a second package called iFuse and use it to manually mount your iPhone.
The iFuse package allows you to mount an iPhone and access its file system on Linux. IFuse is likely to be installed with libimobiledevice, but if not, you will have to install it manually.
Like libimobiledevice, iFuse should be found in the usual Ubuntu package sources.
To install it, open your terminal and type:
This will install iFuse and any additional packages that may be required for your Ubuntu installation.
Accessing Your iPhone Storage
If you have Ubuntu with the GNOME desktop environment, your iPhone’s file system should automatically mount as soon as you plug it in. Restart your PC if your device doesn’t mount automatically at first. You must also unlock the screen of your iPhone device. If you don’t, you won’t be able to access the internal storage.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to mount your iPhone manually. You may need to do this even if you are not using the standard Ubuntu installation with GNOME.
First, pair your iPhone by opening a Linux terminal and typing:
After running this command you should see a success message or idevicepair will tell you that your iOS device cannot be found.
If so, restart it and try again. Once your device is paired, enter the following to mount your iPhone:
Replace the “/media/iphone” directory with another directory of your choice. This is where your iPhone files and folders will be displayed on your device.
After mounting, you should be able to see your iPhone’s file system in your chosen file manager. Then you can delete or add files to iPhone as external drive.
If you have manually mounted your device and want to safely unmount it, open your terminal again and enter the following:
This will safely unmount your iPhone storage. Once done, you can disconnect it from your Ubuntu PC or laptop.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to jailbreak my iPhone to mount it in Ubuntu?
No. This should work either way on your iPhone. Jailbreaking your device will void the warranty. However, you can jailbreak if you want to have more control over the device. However, the above method does not require this.
2. Which iOS versions does libimobiledevice support?
The best thing about libimobiledevice is that it supports devices from the 1.x series up to the latest devices. Even if a new version of iOS is released, everything should work fine.
3. My iPhone just upgraded to a new iOS version. Why isn’t libimobiledevice working?
New firmware versions are known to cause rare malfunctions. These are usually addressed by the community to provide a more stable version of libimobile devices. Check if there is a new version available. After using an iOS version, it may take a few weeks for all the glitches to be resolved.
4. Does this allow me to sync my music?
Currently, music syncing is not supported on newer iPhones. However, some members of the community are working to make syncing music seamlessly possible. You will need to use alternative methods like VirtualBox for this to work for now.
5. Will this hurt apps installed on my device?
No. The only problem you may face is that you are running out of storage space. If you are an application collector, you may need to delete applications to make room for your Linux files. Pay close attention to the remaining storage space to make sure you always have room for the apps and updates you need.
6.Why isn’t anything working?
The process may not have worked properly. To make sure your device is recognized, open a terminal and do the following:
As long as you can see the details of your device, Linux will recognize your iPhone. If you don’t get any details, please try again. As simple as it may sound, restarting Linux can help too.
7. Is it worth using my iPhone as an external device for extra storage?
Ideally, you want to use your iPhone for emergency storage or just to transfer files. Since this is not the simplest process, you may want to use a different type of device, such as a USB or external hard drives. You could even use cloud storage.
Using Your iPhone for Storage on Linux
With a storage capacity of 16GB to 512GB, the iPhone is a good external drive for your Linux PC. If you’re not filling your device with apps, photos, and videos, it makes sense to make good use of the excess storage space. And if you only have an older iPhone that you aren’t using, this is a great way to recycle it.
If you are running out of space, you may need to free up some space on your iPhone first. However, you may find it easier to use an Android device for your external storage.