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The libirecovery library allows communication with iBoot/iBSS of iOS devices via USB.

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libirecovery is a cross-platform library which implements communication to iBoot/iBSS found on Apple's iOS devices via USB. A command-line utility named irecovery is also provided.

This is a fork of an older version from former and is meant to be used with idevicerestore from the libimobiledevice project.



You need to have a working compiler (gcc/clang) and development environent available. This project uses autotools for the build process, allowing to have common build steps across different platforms. Only the prerequisites differ and they are described in this section.

libirecovery requires libimobiledevice-glue. Check the Building section of the README on how to build it. Note that some platforms might have it as a package.

Linux (Debian/Ubuntu based)

  • Install all required dependencies and build tools:

    sudo apt-get install \
    	build-essential \
    	pkg-config \	
    	checkinstall \
    	git \
    	autoconf \
    	automake \
    	libtool-bin \
    	libimobiledevice-glue-dev \
    	libreadline-dev \

    In case libimobiledevice-glue-dev is not available, you can manually build and install it. See note above.


  • Make sure the Xcode command line tools are installed. Then, use either MacPorts or Homebrew to install automake, autoconf, libtool, etc.

    Using MacPorts:

    sudo port install libtool autoconf automake pkgconfig

    Using Homebrew:

    brew install libtool autoconf automake pkg-config


  • Using MSYS2 is the official way of compiling this project on Windows. Download the MSYS2 installer and follow the installation steps.

    It is recommended to use the MSYS2 MinGW 64-bit shell. Run it and make sure the required dependencies are installed:

    pacman -S base-devel \
    	git \
    	mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc \
    	make \
    	libtool \
    	autoconf \
    	automake-wrapper \

    NOTE: You can use a different shell and different compiler according to your needs. Adapt the above command accordingly.

Configuring the source tree

You can build the source code from a git checkout, or from a .tar.bz2 release tarball from Releases. Before we can build it, the source tree has to be configured for building. The steps depend on where you got the source from.

Since libirecovery depends on other packages, you should set the pkg-config environment variable PKG_CONFIG_PATH accordingly. Make sure to use a path with the same prefix as the dependencies. If they are installed in /usr/local you would do

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
  • From git

    If you haven't done already, clone the actual project repository and change into the directory.

    git clone
    cd libirecovery

    Configure the source tree for building:

  • From release tarball (.tar.bz2)

    When using an official release tarball (libirecovery-x.y.z.tar.bz2) the procedure is slightly different.

    Extract the tarball:

    tar xjf libirecovery-x.y.z.tar.bz2
    cd libirecovery-x.y.z

    Configure the source tree for building:


Both ./configure and ./ (which generates and calls configure) accept a few options, for example --prefix to allow building for a different target folder. You can simply pass them like this:

./ --prefix=/usr/local


./configure --prefix=/usr/local

Once the command is successful, the last few lines of output will look like this:

config.status: creating config.h
config.status: executing depfiles commands
config.status: executing libtool commands

Configuration for libirecovery 1.2.0:

  Install prefix: .........: /usr/local
  USB backend: ............: IOKit

  Now type 'make' to build libirecovery 1.2.0,
  and then 'make install' for installation.

Building and installation

If you followed all the steps successfully, and or configure did not print any errors, you are ready to build the project. This is simply done with


If no errors are emitted you are ready for installation. Depending on whether the current user has permissions to write to the destination directory or not, you would either run

make install


sudo make install

If you are on Linux, you want to run sudo ldconfig after installation to make sure the installed libraries are made available.


First of all attach your device to your machine. Make sure your device is not in normal mode. You can use the ideviceenterrecovery application from libimobiledevice to let your device boot into recovery mode if you need it.

Then simply run:

irecovery --shell

This connects to your device and opens a simple shell to interact with the device.

For instance to make your device boot into normal mode again use:

setenv auto-boot true

Please consult the usage information or manual page for a full documentation of available command line options:

irecovery --help
man irecovery


We welcome contributions from anyone and are grateful for every pull request!

If you'd like to contribute, please fork the master branch, change, commit and send a pull request for review. Once approved it can be merged into the main code base.

If you plan to contribute larger changes or a major refactoring, please create a ticket first to discuss the idea upfront to ensure less effort for everyone.

Please make sure your contribution adheres to:

  • Try to follow the code style of the project
  • Commit messages should describe the change well without being too short
  • Try to split larger changes into individual commits of a common domain
  • Use your real name and a valid email address for your commits



This project is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1, also included in the repository in the COPYING file.


Apple, iPhone, iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc.

This project is an independent software library and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

README Updated on: 2024-03-23