What is .iPA File In iOS?

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2017)

iOS devices are used by us daily. We use them for installing different applications and games. These apps and games are available in .iPA extension. When we execute these iPA files in Cydia Impactor or iFunBox, the apps and games get installed in our iOS devices. While doing these things, one question arises in minds of many people. The question is that, “What is .iPA file in iOS?

What is iPA file in iOS?

The files with .iPA extensions are application files for iOS devices. Just like there are .Zip files for PCs which hold compressed games, in the same way, .iPA files are also compressed files which hold games and applications of iOS devices. .iPA files previously stood for iPhone Archive, due to iPhone being the only iOS device. After release of other iOS devices like iPad, and iPod. The abbreviation of .iPA files changed to iOS App Store Package. Now, these special extension files are supported by all the iDevices released till now, let it be iPhones, iPads, or iPods.

Now let’s talk about the structure of these files. Every .iPA file is based on the same structure. When a common .iPA file is extracted, it gives us following files and folders

  • iTunesArtwork File:
    First of all, the iTunesArtwork file is extracted. This iTunesArtwork file is in .PNG or .JPEG extension. This file has image extension because it is the icon of the application or game that we are installing in our iDevice. This image can be seen as icon in apps menu, after the application or game is installed.
  • Payload Folder:
    After iTunesArtwork file, we will get a folder named Payload. This Payload folder consists of all the data files of application or game which are required to run it.
  • iTunesMetadata File:
    In last comes the iTunesMetadata file. This file is in .Plist extension. This file contains all of the information related to app’s or game’s developer and publisher. It also contains all the information related to that installed application. Here, we briefly explained that “What is .iPA file in iOS?

How to open .iPA files?

Now, there stands another question that “How to open .iPA files?” Let us directly answer this question.

How To Open .iPA Files In iOS.

.iPA files can be downloaded directly from App Store of iOS devices or with iTunes by using a computer. When the .iPA files are downloaded on a computer by iTunes, the files are saved in a fixed location. That fixed location is

  • Windows: C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\
  • Mac: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications/

This fixed location helps the iOS devices easily access these files, when they are connected with PC again. Now, we know that where these .iPA files are stored and we can access them, but we cannot open or execute them. For opening these files, there are two programs available. These programs are Cydia Impactor and iFunBox. Both of these programs are free to use and are available for both Windows and Mac platforms. These programs let us transfer our ringtones, music, videos, and photos. These .iPA files can be installed on an iOS device by using the Managing App Data tab, found in these programs.

We hope that you all have no more confusion related to .iPA files. In this article, we told you all about, “What Is .iPA File In iOS?” and “How To Open .iPA Files?