I am new to Linux and would like to know how to move files from Ubuntu to my iPhone, more specifically mp3 music files. My Ubuntu version is 16.04 and my iOS version is 9.3.2. When I connect my iPhone to my PC, it is natively recognized by Ubuntu but I only see my iPhone's photo folder ("DCIM"), like it does under MS Windows.

I know this question has been asked multiple times and I've done a lot of research but I still can't figure it out. I seem to find 2 types of answers out there: some argue it's just impossible as Apple has locked down the capability, some others argue that it's possible using the libimobiledevice library.

http://www.libimobiledevice.org claims that it supports all iOS versions until iOS 10 and that it can be used to transfer music.

This website also mentions the libimobiledevice are in the Ubuntu "offical repositories". I am not quite sure what it means; but when I search for libimobiledevice in Ubuntu Software, it does not return any result.

I also found this tutorial that looked promising: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-iphone-6.html

But running the first set of instructions returned errors:

sudo apt-get install ideviceinstaller python-imobiledevice libimobiledevice-utils libimobiledevice4 libplist2 python-plist ifuse 

E: Unable to locate package libimobiledevice4
E: Unable to locate package libplist2

Because I am new to Linux, I am very unfamiliar with the concepts of installing applications or compiling source code by writing commands in the terminal, as opposed to just using a nice GUI (e.g. Ubuntu Software).

Step by step instructions would be much appreciated. I am usually pretty good at tech stuff (including programming) but feel completely lost now.

Thanks in advance for helping me out.

  • It seems these two packages (libplist2 and libimobiledevice4) are not available on Ubuntu repositories any more. It seems you should install them manually from their source. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 14:39
  • You can find all the current packages available in the repositories pertaining to libimobile device here. Click on Xenial to narrow it down to 16.04
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 19:16
  • I found the easiest solution to this problem was just to set up a web server on the ubuntu machine (e.g. apache2) with the iPhone on the same LAN, you can browse to it and download files. For uploading files to ubuntu, perhaps a website with that functionality or using FTP.
    – pd12
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 6:21
  • The easiest solution IMHO it just connect to your iDrive and upload the files to it. The iPhone will show the files immediately. I just did it. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


I need to preface this by saying I'm also new to Linux, but I've got it working I think. The instructions you and I tried to follow aren't brilliantly written and are a bit out of date. I took all of the security settings off my device before trying this so you may want to do the same, e.g/ No password or passcode.

Start by getting all of the required applications and packages.

 sudo apt-get install ideviceinstaller python-imobiledevice libimobiledevice-utils libimobiledevice6 libplist3 python-plist ifuse 

Connect your device and test that it's being recognised using idevice.


Pair your device using idevicepair.

idevicepair pair

Validate the pairing using idevicepair

idevicepair validate

Create the mount point for your device, my device was an iPod Touch.

sudo mkdir /media/iPod-touch # you may need to use UniqueDeviceID instead of iPod-touch

Give all users access to the mount point.

sudo chmod 777 /media/iPod-touch

Mount the device using the newly created mount point.

ifuse /media/iPod-touch/

Now you should be able to access your device from your file manager!

  • 4
    -1 Removing all security from a device is something you should never recommend.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 20:37
  • This worked for me, thank you -- Xubuntu 16.04 LTS, iPod Touch with iOS 6.1.6.
    – Bruce
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 10:00
  • 3
    Works for me in Ubuntu 18.04 without removing the phone security -- you just need to enter the password at the "idevicepair pair" step. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 0:22
  • @ElderGeek, which step in the answer removes security? Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 16:37
  • @Stephen46178, I am on iOS 16.1 using iPhone 12. How to access the "On My iPhone" folder that shows up on files app on the phone using ideviceinfo? Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 16:42

I tried this for - literally - years withaout success. Think the other way around: it is easier to enable a File Server on your iPhone and let Ubuntu connect to it. Apps like GoodReader or FileExplrer are able to do that and it works just fine for me.

Protocol used is WebDAV and you get onto your phone via Ubuntu's File Explorer "Nautilus" by clicking on "connect to Server".

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