App Research: Granting Permissions on iOS

When analysing the privacy properties of apps, one often wants to grant all permissions to apps by default. This makes the subsequent analysis of apps easier, especially when done at scale.

On Android, it is super easy to install an app and automatically grant all app permissions. All is that is needed is the following command:

adb install -g [path to apk]

On iOS, no publicly documented method exists, which makes automated app analysis a lot harder.

This is especially true when large-scale analysis of iOS apps, as my colleagues and I at Oxford did in our recent paper on comparing Android and iOS (forthcoming at PETS).

In the following, I’d like to present a method to automatically grant all permissions to iOS apps. This will require a jailbroken iOS device with full shell and file system access.