The iTunes Lockdown Folder Location & Reset iOS Lockdown Certificates on Mac OS & Windows

The iTunes Lockdown Folder Location & Reset iOS Lockdown Certificates on Mac OS & Windows

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A hidden Lockdown folder is created by iTunes that stores certificate UDID information for iOS devices that are synced with a specific computer. These lock certificates are required to sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a computer, but in some specific cases, a user may need to manually access the contents of the locked folder. In addition, access to the lockdown certificates can allow security-conscious users to access a device on another computer simply by copying the necessary plist files to another computer, a situation that has obvious security implications.

In some rare cases, a user may have to manually intervene, manage, access, delete, and otherwise modify the contents of the locked folder, deleting or copying files from the folder to regain the ability to use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to sync again with the computer. We’ll show you where the lock folder is in Mac OS X and Windows, and how to reset it if necessary.

This is obviously intended for advanced users, whether for troubleshooting, security, privacy, digital forensics or similar situations. If you don’t have a reason to poke around the iOS lock folders created by iTunes, you shouldn’t, as you could break something or up unable to connect an iOS device to the computer.

iTunes Lockdown folder locations for iOS devices in Mac OS X and Windows

The iOS lockdown directory location is created by iTunes and varies by operating system, here you can find them in OS X and Windows versions.

Mac OS X (all versions):/ private / var / db / lockdown /

Windows XP:C: Documents and Settings All Users Application Data AppleLockdown

Windows Vista:C: UsersUSERNAMEEAppDataroamingApple ComputerLockdown

Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10C: ProgramDataAppleLockdown

The iOS lockdown folder containing multiple iOS certificates in the Mac OS X file system

Contents of the Lockdown folder Includes Lockdown certificates for each iOS device synced to the computer

So, what’s in this folder? A certificate for each device used with that computer.

Locking certificates are generated for every iOS device that is synced with a computer, so if there are three iPhones synced on the computer, three different plist files are identified by the UDID of each iOS device as the file name.

Do not modify, delete, move, copy, or delete these files if you are not sure what you are doing and why you are doing it. Copying these certificates to other machines can lead to unexpected behavior and possibly lead to accidental or unauthorized access to an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. For the users concerned, the latter scenario is a good reason to use FileVault and, by the way, password protect your computer and encrypt file backups.

Reset the iTunes Lockdown folder

If you want to reset the lock folder and all associated iOS devices, please do as follows:

  1. Exit iTunes and disconnect the iOS devices from the computer
  2. Open the lockdown folder from the aforementioned location depending on the operating system you are using
  3. Delete the contents of the lock folder, this usually requires an administrator password

This prevents all iOS devices from connecting to the computer until it is trusted again, and yes by deleting these files you also don’t trust the computer, although an easier way to not trust computers from an iPhone or iPad, is via iOS settings.

To create a new lock certificate or recreate the lock folder, restart iTunes, reconnect the iOS device to the computer and trust it again, then sync it again through iTunes. Each device regenerates a new lockdown certificate in the correct location.

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