Use iTools To Transfer Apps To Your iPhone Without Using iTunes

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App TransfersWhile most owners of iPhone, iPad or any other iOS device usually use iTunes to manage all their apps and media, there are definitely some drawbacks when using Apple’s application. The main one of course is that you can only use iTunes to transfer apps to an iPhone or iOS device that has been linked to your iTunes account on your computer. If you try to transfer an app to your iPhone or iOS device using another computer, iTunes will try to sync all content from that computer, erasing your iPhone’s content in the process.

Thankfully, with the help of iTools – a very nice, free application for both Windows and the Mac that debuted not long ago – you can now transfer apps to your iPhone/iPod/iPad from just about any computer. We’ve already talked about iTools in our post on adding custom songs and ringtones to iPhone without iTunes.

Here is what you will need:

  • An iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
  • An iOS device USB charging cable
  • iTools, a free media-management software available for both Windows and Mac. Download and install it before we start.
  • Your iOS app files

Finding Your iOS App Files

On a Mac

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Under Library on the left pane, click on Apps
  3. Right-click on any app and choose Show in Finder
  4. Alternatively, you can find them by going to: User/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications

On a Windows PC

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Under Library on the left pane, click on Apps
  3. Right-click on any app and choose Show on Windows Explorer
  4. Alternatively, you can find them by going to: C:\Users\User\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications

Transferring Apps to Your iPhone/iPod/iPad Without iTunes

Step 1: Open iTools and connect your iPhone until you see it on iTools’ main screen.

iTools Main Screen YES

Step 2: Under the left pane’s Library, click on Applications. Wait for a while until all your iPhone’s applications are listed on iTools’ main window.

iTools App Main Screen

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Step 3: To transfer your app to your iPhone, click on the Install button at the top of iTools’ window, then click on the app that you want to transfer and finally, click on the Open button at the lower right part of the dialog box. Alternatively, you could just drag the app file to the iTools’ main window.

App to Install

Installing App

You will see a message that reads “Installing program, Please wait”, and after a few seconds the application will be successfully installed and will show up both on iTools’ main window and on your iPhone/iPod/iPad.

App on iTools Main Screen

App on iPhone

Additional Notes on the Transfer Process

  • I tried this process on both my iPhone and on a friend’s and it worked flawlessly. However, both of our iPhones are authorized to use content and media from my account (his iPhone wasn’t signed in to my account, though). Also Koku, the app I transferred to his iPhone, was purchased by me a few days ago.
  • I tried downloading an IPA app file from the web and uploading that one and the transferred failed.
  • I haven’t had the opportunity to transfer a legally acquired app to an iOS device that is not authorized by me. If anyone tries to do it, let us know your results in the comments!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, iTools is a pretty versatile tool. We used it before to transfer ringtones without using iTunes and it works just as fine with apps. Best of all, you don’t even need to be signed into the original owner’s account to do the transfer.

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Show archived comments (44)

Archived Comments

  1. Richard says:

    I’m trying to use iTools to distribute certain apps bought from various accounts onto over 130 iPads for a school. This has so far been a life saver in that listed directly underneath the app after it’s installation through iTools is the Apple ID pertaining to that app. Finally a solution to the “Sync” dilemma! However, some apps install flawlessly, while others appear to be installed only to crash immediately on opening. As far as I know it is not caused by the various Apple ID’s. If anyone can come up with something as to why this may be happening you’d be a saint!

    • Hi Richard. You might be facing an app-compatibility problem. Verify that the apps you install are supported by the version of iOS running on the iPads. Let me know after you check this to see if it helps.


  2. ab says:

    Problems off the bat with your instructions:

    On my Windows 7 (64b) Itunes 10.7 there is no Apps under Library in the left pane. There is Apps on the toolbar line to the right of Library line. Now if I click on this Apps, Apps are shown, but right click on an App does not offer ” Show on Windows Explorer”.

    • You can find your apps (as *.ipa files) on Windows 7 by following this path:

      C:UsersUsernameMy MusiciTunesiTunes MediaMobile Applications

      Hope that helps.

  3. this garbage says you dont need itunes to transfer files, but it won’t run unless itunes is installed. what kind of misleading advertisement is this?

  4. Ron says:

    Alvaro, thanks for posting this. I’ve been trying to find-out how to do just this for a while.

    Don’t tell Apple, but . . . I have two accounts for itunes. One in the US and one here in the Netherlands. I set this up so that I can download “Netherlands only” apps from the app store. I installed iTools (didn’t say anything about needing iTunes) and installed the free app. Worked without a problem. When I opened the app on the iPhone, I had to enter the iTunes store id and password for the Netherlands account. Other apps seem to be working fine. I used another way of installing before (two different machines using two different accounts) but the Netherlands app evaporated when I backed-up the iphone on the US account.

    • Ron says:

      Forgot to say that I am all mac.

    • Glad that you found the article useful. I find iTools very fast and convenient as well, although it seems to offer various results depending on which computer you run it. I am also an “all Mac” guy. And don’t worry, I won’t tell Apple you have two iTunes accounts if you don’t tell them I have three :)

  5. Iris says:

    Alvaro, thank you so much for your post, it was really useful. I updated the iOS on my ipad and could not transfer the apps from the library in iTunes back to the ipad!

  6. mick says:

    i cant seem to make the apps work. my ipod touch is a 2nd generation and not jailbroken. all games supposed to work with an old itouch? i tried sync and still the apps just closes..

  7. NT says:

    Yea, this would be great if it would work! I downloaded it and installed it on my iMac, running OSX leopard, and it will NOT work at all. All it does is give a message saying that “this will not work on this version of OS”. What a bunch of garbage.

  8. Nagaraju G says:

    Thansk for Posting this…

    You could also check this for transfering files without using itunes :)

  9. iphonegamer80 says:

    does this need jailbreak?

  10. Nub says:

    Doesn’t work for me on a iOS 6.1.2. Everything seems to work fine when I install my apps, but they don’t appear on the app list or on my iphone.

    • Whenever I tried apps, I had to either own them already or to have my iPhone authorized to run apps from the person who bought them originally. That might be your issue.

  11. iphonegamer80 says:

    i installed minecraft pe but it says apple id then it closes what should shoud i do

  12. iphonegamer80 says:

    i donloaded minecraft pe but i have to sign my apple ID i signed my ID but then it sends me to home screen what should i do seriously? i writed and now nobody anwsers my comment! please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I’am not able to install apps downloaded from the web. Any help please?? It shows some verification failed…

  14. thanks… good

  15. katy says:

    I installed a few apps on my iphone that was on an older ipod and one of the apps is not working =( the app is no longer in the app store so there is no way I can get it now. Please help

  16. Thanks for the tips. I usually use iTransfer tool, which is quite similar to iTools.
    It helps me transfer apps from iPhone to iPhone.

  17. joy says:

    Beware! It seems to install spyware/adware at the same time!

  18. sam says:

    i already installed the applications in my iphone 3g but it’s not working

  19. Nikolai Riabchenko says:

    iTools is to complicated to my taste… Same problem with others, they bloat those applications to much. Have found PhoneStick recently and looks like I will purchase it, since it doesn’t have any UI at all – you just need to drag music or videos to the folder on your iPhone as you would do with your flash drive. They giveaway 1 gb for facebook like right now if you’ll download it from their website:

  20. Samarth Gupta says:

    Learn to to install application in iPhone through computer with iTunes.

  21. Amged Zaki says:

    i just import apps to my iphone by itools and its not work on my device it Exit emergency landing …. plz eny answer ???

  22. Khano Sardar says:

    i’m trying to connect my iphone to pc via itools , but when i try to import an picture or a music i have this error :(unable to ascertain the compatibility of itunes,please check out internet connection) . please show me the way to fix it, if u can ? thanks

  23. Vincent Van Horn says:
  24. Qui Queg says:

    “install failed.. authority..”

  25. Izat Khan Nasiri says:

    hi i have a problem when i am trying to install itools it giving me the error of this application has filed of the incorrect configuration plz hel me what to do

  26. Joni Reynolds says:

    The title is misleading — it says “Use iTools To Transfer Apps To Your iPhone Without Using iTunes”. Cool. I don’t have iTunes because I don’t run Windows or MacOS. Then the VERY FIRST goddamn instruction is “Open iTunes”??!!

    The title should read,”Use iTools To Transfer Apps To Your iPhone Using Both iTunes and iTools”

  27. Dany says:

    Transfer files, photos and video from iphone to pc/mac and vice versa within few seconds:

  28. Dave says:

    I’m getting a patch error, any ideas?

  29. awel says:

    ok how can iget apps compeuter to iphone 3.1.2 version

  30. ATAL ATAL says:

    it shows an error like this please help me

  31. Chrisuando says:

    I would definitely recommend using iStick from Softorino instead. It is much more easier, there is no iTunes sync required, and they also have a trial version available.

    Look them up, you won’t be sorry:)

  32. James Khoo says:

    Hi Alvaro ! This article is really help for me ! Thank you for posting this !

  33. Sadnan Sami says:

    Hm, well. I want to know. Can I download apps with iTools? I also wanted a app that can install and download apps for iOS.