iTunes 10 does not move .ipa files

I noticed a few .ipas I added to iTunes 10 (Mac) since upgrading had “file not found” exclamation points next to them. After a bit of poking around I found the following:

Unlike iTunes <10, .ipas that you double click on are not moved to the Mobile Applications folder as they were before. I suppose this might only affect those (like me) who do not have the “keep iTunes Music folder organized” option enabled.

My practice had been to double click on a downloaded .ipa on a volume I use for downloads, then trash it, as it had already been copied over to my boot drive by iTunes. Since I trashed these, the original file was no longer found. If you don’t trash the file, the reference remains to the original location, where ever it is. Again I suppose this is meant to make the “keep Music folder organized” option more consistent, so I wouldn’t call it a bug. But it’s a big change that I imagine affects a lot of jailbreakers who take advantage of trial .ipas.

For now this means I have to copy the .ipa to the Mobile Applications folder first before adding it, or else create a new folder to keep installed .ipas somewhere else.


9 Responses to “iTunes 10 does not move .ipa files”

  1. metaclam Says:

    The problem now seems even worse than this. Here’s what’s going on:

    If you add an .ipa to iTunes that replaces an older version, iTunes updates the version number to the new number, but keeps the original (older) file and removes (as in unix remove, not trash), the newer one you just added!

    Steps to reproduce:

    1. copy an updated .ipa to ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications/
    2. double click it in the Finder
    3. iTunes asks if you want to replace, say yes
    4. get info on app. should show the new version number
    5. hit cmd-R to reveal app in Finder. the old file name is there!

    One thing I noticed is that the file size seems the same as the newer file size (only spot checked this). This MAY indicate iTunes is actually replacing the file, but renaming it to the old file name.

    Work around:

    1. Remove app you want to update from iTunes first, with CMD-OPT-DELETE
    2. add new one (step 1 & 2 above)

    This seems to still retain the placement in iOS 4 folders and update with existing settings.

  2. Kaushal Dalmond Says:

    Yeah. I have this problem too. It’s a pain in the ass to add IPA files now.

    • I just delete old app and tell iTunes to move file to recycle bin.
    • Then I open my Mobile Applications folder. Copy the app there. And I open it and allow iTunes to add it in Library.

    Of course, “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” option is DISABLED on my PC.

    I will not enable it to test if iTunes will copy IPA files when adding them, because I do not want iTunes messing 65GB of music files which have been organized manually. >.<'

  3. metaclam Says:

    Yep, thanks for the confirmation about this. I guess it’s deliberate because you’re on a PC and I’m on a Mac and iTunes 10 has the same behavior. I still can’t see why though!

    I’m doing the same thing as you also now, a real PIA.

  4. Psycho Says:

    I hate iTunes 10 SO MUCH for this!

    God dammit!

  5. iTunes 10.0.1 is a go-go « Box of Clams Says:

    […] Box of Clams Musings from the Deep « iTunes 10 does not move .ipa files […]

  6. luisjoset Says:


    I used to download IPA files and double clicked them and that was it…now I get a message saying that is a NOT Valid app…any tip or solution is welcome!

  7. moochi Says:

    Look for the itunes .itl file, this file is the one that actually tells itunes where to put the apps/files/etc. The file (that is in the location where your mobile apps folder) is the one you need to move to your new location (with itunes closed). If you don’t do that the apps will keep going back to the old location. You will need to update the library by opening itunes, after the move, when you have moved the .itl file to make sure it sees all the material. The procedure is described in the help section if you are unclear.

  8. Wendal Says:

    double click trial ipa and delete original because it has been copied to itunes folder. the old method was so simple and perfect. I also hate itunes 10 for this. all we got was an ugly logo. why did I update??

  9. rene Says:

    ive been poking around for a fix on this and found a solution. in itunes go to files -> library -> organize library -> check consolidate files. it will pull all ipas within the library from everywhere into the mobile application folder. it appears to be a one time only thing though as the check mark will become unchecked after consolidation. doing this after installing ipas should solve the exclamation point (app unfound) problem.

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