Downloading IPA file from App Store onto a Mac


#1

Apple have removed App Store from iTunes in version 12.7, this makes it much more difficult to download an IPA from the App Store.

However this can now be achieved by using Apple Configurator 2.

You need the following:

  • Mac with Apple Configurator 2 installed
  • iTunes account on which the application in question is purchased
  • iOS device that can install the app
  • Cable to plug iOS device into the Mac
  • App in question already installed on the iOS device

First you need to sign into an iTunes account in Apple Configurator, this is done via Account -> Sign In

Once signed in plug in an iPhone into the Mac and go into all devices.

Right click on the device and go into Add -> Apps…

Find the app in question and hit add

Configurator will start downloading the app

You will be prompted with the message "The app named already exists on ", do not select any of the options instead open terminal.

In terminal navigate to

~/Library/Group Containers/K36BKF7T3D.group.com.apple.configurator/Library/Caches/Assets/TemporaryItems/MobileApps/`

You should see a directory with a randomly generated ID, if you drill into it (any any directory inside) you should see the IPA file

Example below:

Daniils-MacBook-Pro:951937596 daniil$ pwd
/Users/daniil/Library/Group Containers/K36BKF7T3D.group.com.apple.configurator/Library/Caches/Assets/TemporaryItems/MobileApps/CD87DAEA-F6A8-4612-B798-51BD1CBE6EB6/951937596
Daniils-MacBook-Pro:951937596 daniil$ ls
Outlook 2.45.0.ipa

VPP install error
#2

In order to display hidden folder “Library” in path /users/[username]/Library/GroupContainer you can add appropriate setting to com.finder.plist via terminal command

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

PLease note that setting is permanent.


#3

What about the provisioning profile? EMM Solutions would also require that to push Apps to the devices !


#4

This method should not be used to distribute apps to devices.

You should leverage Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to push store applications to iOS devices.


#5

Unfortunately, VPP is not available in most countries and hence I am looking for some alternative mechanism to push Apps to devices without the need of Apple IDs.


#6

Problem with this method is that applications downloaded from the store contain DRM and won’t run on iOS devices without modification.

If you have access to an Apple Enterprise Developer Account in theory you can re-sign the apps and deploy them to devices, although this would be breaking apple ToS.