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Mobile Device Scanner

Simple tool to check Android or iOS devices for IPS-spyware.

Use the tool

Get the scraped app data and LR outputs from the private repo; then place it in static_data/. If you don't have access to that repo, send an email to with a request for it.

After dependencies are installed, with an Android or iOS device plugged in and unlocked, run the following command in the terminal (in the base directory of this repository)

$ python3

Navigate to http://localhost:5000 on a browser. You will see the page of the PhoneScanner tool running.

It should look something like this:

Phone Scanner UI

Connect a device and click on the suitable button Android or iOS. Give it a nickname and click "Scan now". (Please connect one device at a time.) It will take a few seconds for the scan to complete. We are working to have all scan results done at once on Android, but for the time being please leave the device plugged in when clicking on apps on the scan results table.

Debugging tips

If there are errors, please send your server error output to If you feel confident enough in the codebase to try to fix them yourself, do so, but don't push to this repo until emailing Sam. Inspect apps on the device manually if you cannot resolve a failure.

Android tips

In the terminal of the computer, run adb devices to see if the device is connected properly.

iOS tips

In the terminal of the computer, run idevice_id -l to see if the device is connected properly.


Need python3.6+, xcode, and brew installed in a Mac running OSX 10.9+. Run pip3 install -r requirements.txt to get the required Python modules. Run ./scripts/ to get the iOS and Android dependencies (takes several minutes to build the iOS dependencies, go get a coffee while you wait).

Prepare the mobile device for scanning

Android (also see localhost:5000/instruction for more details step-by-step.)

  1. You will need to activate developer options in the phone. Follow the above link to activate the developer option. TODO: how to hide it back after the scan. $ adb shell pm clear cleans the data for many (if not most) Android, but not all. Some might need manual cleaning of the settings data by going Setting -> Apps -> "Settings" -> Data -> Clear data.

  2. Connect the phone to the laptop using USB. If PhoneScanner is running, try refreshing the page, and see if the phone ask for "Do you trust this computer?" (or similar) message.

  3. Do the scan. If PhoneScanner does not identify the device (that is no device enlisted under Android group on the left of the page), disconnect the USB cabel from the phone, reconnect, and refresh the page.

  4. The scanner will automatically reset the developer option. Restart the phone to get to original state. If you still see the developer optinos (a.k.a, dveloper mode) is on, open Settings -> Apps, you will see list of apps installed in your device. Find Settings app in the list, tap on it, and tap clear data (some times listed inside Storage).


There is not much preparation required for iOS. Once the USB cable is connected, refresh the page; on the device you have to enter the passcode to unlock the device, and then once more to accept the "trust this computer" dialog. Even if you use touchID, passcode is required to enable the USB access. If you don't see the device, refresh the page couple of times, and check the phone if it went to "Enter passcode" mode and the "trust this computer" dialog.

Cast iOS Screens or Mirror Android Screens

It is possible to view your device screen(s) in real time on the macOS computer in a new window. This may be useful to have while you are running the scan (and especially if you use the privacy checkup feature), as it will be easy for you to see the mobile device screen(s) in real time on the Mac side-by-side with the scanner.

"Mirroring" vs "Casting": Mirroring Android devices allows you to not only view the mobile device’s screen, but also maneuver the screen directly with your mouse and even use your keyboard to input to the Android device. Casting iOS devices only allows you to view the device screen -- the iOS device itself must be maneuvered by hand.

How to do it: you can mirror Android device screens in a new window using scrcpy, and cast iOS device screens on macOS with QuickTime 10 (launch it and click File --> New Movie Recording --> (on dropdown by red button) the iPhone/iPad name).

Downloaded data

The data downloaded and stored in the study are the following.

  1. A sqlite database containing the feed back and actions taken by the user.
  2. phone_dump/ folder will have dump of some services in the phone. (For Android I have figured out what are these, for Ios I don't know how to get those information.)

The services that we can dump safely using dumpsys are the following.

  • Application static details: package
  • Sensor and configuration info: location,, netpolicy, mount
  • Resource information: cpuinfo, dbinfo, meminfo
  • Resource consumption: procstats, batterystats, netstats, usagestats
  • App running information: activity, appops

See a details about the services in


Only the appIds, and their names. Also, I got "permissions" granted to the application. I don't konw how to get install date, resource usage, etc. (Any help will be greatly welcomed.)

Code structure

  • has all the logic required to communicate with Android and iOS devices.
  • has all of the logic required to extract dumped info from the devices. After the initial scan, the server will rely on this parser rather than needing an active connection to the device (work in progress). For now, please keep your device plugged in when looking at scan results.
  • is the flask webserver.
  • templates/ folder contains the html templates rendering in the UI
  • webstatic/ folder contains the .css and .js files
  • phone_dumps/ folder will contain the data recorded from the phone.


  2. How to figure out off-store apps in Android and iOS? Check the installer in adb shell pm packages -i
  3. For iOS, how to find out app installation dates, resource usage, etc?
  4. Explore viability of WebUSB and WebADB.

See for other developer helps.