How to debug iPhone apps using iTunes backups

Updated

Here's a tip that may save you some time if you're an iPhone app developer.

You may sometimes receive reports from your customers of problems that are hard to troubleshoot over email. It can be a pain to really get to the bottom of the problem without access to the app data stored on the customer's device.

There is, however, a way your customer can send you that data: by syncing their iPhone with iTunes and sending you the app's data file in the iTunes backup.

To do this, you'll need to know the name of the app's file in the iTunes backup. If you have a look in your own iTunes backup folder, you should be able to find it with a string search tool such as grep by searching for a string you know will be in the file.

Once you know the name of the file, simply ask your customers to send you their copy of that file when they have a hard-to-diagnose problem. An easy way for them to get the file is for them to extract it using a tool such as iPhone Backup Extractor.

If you have any other good tips for debugging tricky iPhone app issues, then do share them in the comments. Happy troubleshooting!

About the author

Aidan Fitzpatrick founded Reincubate in 2008 after building the world's first iPhone data recovery tool, iPhone Backup Extractor. He's spoken at Google on entrepreneurship, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurs' Organisation's Leadership Academy.

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

Pictured above are members of Reincubate’s team meeting HM Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ at Buckingham Palace, after being awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work with Apple technology. Read our position on privacy, safety and security.

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This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

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