Mobile Tips: Installing applications with IPA files on iTunes (v2)

The official extension of Apple's applications for iOS can be called either iPhone Application Archive or iOS App Store Package (IPA). These files are package-kind, that means that contains a couple of files within.

Banner iPa iTunes

For example:


Those files contains all the app data, the PNG image of the icon shown in iTunes and on mobile devices, and some legal information of the app such as mobile developer owner, copyright info, release date, version, etc.

When it comes to software development, there are a lot of different tests to make sure that your mobile app doesn't have any bugs. At some point, you need to test your mobile app on a real device. There’s an easy way to install your iPhone and iPad applications using iTunes. For this feature, you need to have an IPA file (.ipa) and a valid provisioning profile (.mobileprovision). After you have these files, follow the next steps:

Testing iPhone Apps using IPA file

Step 1

Save the .ipa file and the .mobileprovision profile in a convenient area of your software development environment, e.g. Your documents folder or on the desktop.

Step 2

In this step, with the updated interface of iTunes 11.X.X and the version till date, we now have two different ways to continue with the install.

Next, drag and drop both files to the app tab menu from:

          a) Menu located on the left top corner of iTunes.

          b) Menu located at the sidebar. If the sidebar is not visible press View> Show Sidebar.


Step 3

Connect your mobile device according the view of your iTunes:

          a) Select it from the right top corner.

          b) Select it from the sidebar.

Selecting your device on itunes resized 600

Step 4

Go to the Apps section inside your mobile device and make sure the mobile app you drop in applications is there.

iTunes ipa

Step 5

Finally, press the sync button located on the right bottom corner and wait until your mobile app is installed. After this, you’ll be able to open the mobile app inside your device and see how it works.

About the Author

The tutorial was updated by Ernesto Kuri who is a Technology and Comunication Engineer.  He has been working on iOS software development for 2+ years.


Oscar Salas

Written by Oscar Salas

Oscar Salas is a B2B Digital Marketing Specialist with 5 years of experience, who has helped organizations to grow and expand through strategic brand development and marketing programs. Analytical thinker, cat lover, he enjoys to play the piano and listening to Led Zeppelin He's currently leading the iTexico Demand Gen strategies.

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