The libimobiledevice shipped with 17.04 is actually compatible with the latest iOS. When you connect a device, two virtual devices show up. However, the one with the documents works but the one for the camera just shows an empty folder.

There is no obvious way to access the camera pictures on the iOS device.

How do I access them? I don't want to compile libimobiledevice from source.


5 Answers 5


Ubuntu 18.04 and later

Tested on Ubuntu 21.10 and iOS 14.7

This version of Ubuntu has the latest libimobiledevice (at the time of release) so it supports iOS 11.4. There is a propblem with the Gnome integration, though. It shows the Documents folder (app folders). In addition to the tip below by @diego, here's a simple way to get to the pictures folder (this works if the iOS Documents show up for you but not the pictures):

  • Open the iDevices Documents folder in Nautilus.
  • Press CTRL+L to get the real address which will look like afc://YOURSERIAL:3/
  • Remove trailing colon and number and press ENTER (i.e. it should just read afc://YOURSERIAL)

You should now see your iDevices system folders, including DCIM. If you need to access these folders from the command line, you can find them in $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/gvfs (this this answer for a more detailed explanation).

Historical workaround

As a workaround, you can mount your iOS device with ifuse.

sudo apt install ifuse

Now connect your device and make sure it is paired with your computer.

idevicepair validate

If you get a SUCCESS message, you are good, if not run idevicepair pair. Now you can use ifuse to mount your iOS images folder:

mkdir ~/pics && ifuse ~/pics

The images are now available in your $HOME folder under pics. Ready to be synced with Shotwell. To unmount the folder, use fusermount:

fusermount -u ~/pics && rmdir ~/pics

Note: in this example I create a pics folder and remove it afterwards. If you already have a folder named like this, choose a different name.

  • 1
    After ifuse ~/pics i get Failed to connect to lockdownd service on the device. Try again. If it still fails try rebooting your device But the device is not locked. (I have Ubuntu 17.04 and IOS 11.0.3)
    – tatojo
    Oct 13, 2017 at 15:39
  • 3
    It's a bug in libimobiledevice that had been fixed in the newest version. I'm working on getting the update into Ubuntu.
    – mniess
    Oct 16, 2017 at 7:21
  • @mniess any ETA?
    – argoneus
    Oct 19, 2017 at 19:34
  • 2
    @argoneus just upgraded to 17.10 to see if that works. I'll report back here. If not I'll make a preliminary PPA and propose a package upgrade for 17.10.
    – mniess
    Oct 20, 2017 at 8:54
  • 1
    @MRule I updated the answer with more details on how to do that.
    – mniess
    Aug 7, 2021 at 12:07

If you see the serial number of your iPhone as a result of

dmesg|grep SerialNumber:

then you can use the hotkey Ctrl-L in Files and point it to


where the iPhone photos reside.

I did not have to create or mount any extra folders.


On Debian, I had to install the gvfs-backends package which contains gvfs-afc, the backend for iPhone/iPod:

apt install gvfs-backends

Then open a socket for your iPhone:

# /usr/sbin/usbmuxd -u -v -f -U your_user_name

Then as said by Diego and mniess, get your iphone serial number:

dmesg|grep SerialNumber:

then open thunar and go to:


replacing 41879faab42214e1026672589a3cb5dfa6aab7a3 by yours


These steps from https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=424727#c7 worked for me to make Ubuntu see the photos on an iPhone:

On the iPhone:

  1. Turn off Wi-Fi.
  2. Turn off Bluetooth.
  3. Turn on Personal Hotspot.
  4. After all of the above, connect the iPhone to the Ubuntu machine with a USB cable.


  • When you are asked how Personal Hotspot should connect, choose "USB Only".
  • When you are asked whether to trust the computer, choose "Trust".

Running 18.04 I just could connect the iPhone, enter the Code (just the normal iPhone un-lock code), and the device was mounted, and can be searched used Nautilus (the normal folder manager) or the showtell App.

Everything pre-installed.

  • Ubuntu 20.04. At first try in Nautilus Empty Folder but finally it works. Jan 22, 2021 at 19:12

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