That’s why there’s no easy way to explore the file system on iOS devices. If you really want to know what’s going on under the hood of your iPhone or iPad, all you need to do is connect it to the Mac and run this app.
Exploring iOS Devices
iExplorer was once named iPhone Explorer, then Apple came along and introduced the iPad which is more or less like a large iPhone but without the phone part.
So, the newly named iExplorer still does what the name implies. It explores the files on your Mac in a quasi-Finder-like window to view all those iOS files you normally would never see.
It couldn’t be much easier to use, either. Plug in the iPhone or iPad to your Mac, open iExplorer.
The app finds the iOS devices, scans it for files and folders, and gives you over a dozen options from checking iMessage messages, to digging into the root folder, to making backups, to viewing photos and videos.
The left hand column will display the options, though the startup window gives you icon buttons. Click to view everything from Apps to Calendar and even files stored on iCloud.
This is what iExplorer looks like to get started.
iExplorer makes it trivial to recover music and videos in iTunes, but also explore and any folder or category of files on iPhone or iPad (or iPod touch). You can browse iTunes backups, too, and export your text messages (with photo attachments), voicemail audio messages, phone call history, and pretty much anything else of value.
I have two basic quibbles with iExplorer. The first is that you need a USB cable for it to mount the iPhone or iPad’s files on your Mac. Wireless would be nice, of course, but that’s asking for plenty.
Second is the price tag. In an age when utilities are going down, down, down in price, iExplorer has a hefty, hefty, hefty price tag. It’s worth it if you need to backup files, but the popular PhoneView does more for less.