iTunes might provide the only official way of managing data on your iOS devices, but there are many third-party desktop tools that do the same with a lot less hassle. iPhone Explorer and iDevice Manager are just two of the alternatives iOS users have for iTunes. Thanks to such software, you can drag and drop media, app data, notes, and contacts to your device without having to figure out the complicated syncing hierarchies that can make using iTunes a real pain in the neck. iBrowse is yet another tool that offers iOS file access, but it is unique to some extent, too. With iBrowse, you get to go through the backup data stored on your computer, without having to restore it to a device. When an iPhone is connected to your PC or Mac, iBrowse also shows full app data, along with the usual photo and video files.
To install iBrowse on a PC or Mac, just download and run the file available at the link provided at the end of this post. Once installed, the app can be used to explore the iTunes backup data stored on your computer, even without connecting any device. To probe your iPhone’s file system though, you’ll need to connect the device to the computer via a USB cable, of course.
The backup data displayed inside iBrowse is in a much more understandable form compared to the way it shows up on the computer by default. You can view all the saved photos, get the app data, or copy files to new locations. One thing that’s not possible is making changes to the backup, which makes sense as you don’t want to mess with the data in case there is any need to restore it later.
Once an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is connected to your computer, iBrowse recognizes it straight away, as long as you have iTunes 10 or later installed. There is no need to run iTunes; it just needs to be there for the drivers etc. The main screen inside a device’s file system is divided into three main sections: Media, Apps, and Backup Data. The DCIM folder inside Media represents the Photos app, and shows all the stored images and videos in neat folders. The subfolders might not be named the same as your on-device albums, but they do have the same photos. Right-click any item to delete or move it. You can export your device’s content to a folder on the computer, or add new data to the iPhone by choosing the ‘Add Files’ option (drag-and-drop works, too). iBrowse shows a preview of any selected item in the right-hand pane, complete with some basic information about the item.
When it comes to apps, there is an entry for each inside iBrowse, and you can view all the data associated with them separately. This includes app images, metadata, user progress files, and some other content. If you want to transfer your game progress to a friend’s device, simply copy the appropriate folders to their phone using iBrowse on both.
The only function of iBrowse that requires a jailbreak to work is read/write access for root-level files. Since not a lot of users are likely to need that during their daily routine, it’s not too big of a deal. The tool works for all versions of the platform, including the latest iOS 7. iBrowse is a free tool, and does not contain any ads. Give it a go on your PC or Mac by heading to the following link.