iTunes creates a hidden lock folder that stores UDID certificate data for iOS devices that are synced with a specific computer. These revocation certificates are required to properly sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a computer. However, in certain cases a user may need to manually access the contents of the lock folder. For security conscious users, access to revocation certificates can allow access to a device on another computer by simply copying the necessary plist files to another computer. This has obvious security implications.
In rare cases, a user may need to manually intervene, manage, access, delete, and change the contents of the lock folder, as well as delete or copy files from the directory, in order to synchronize an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with their computer again … We’ll show you where the lock folder is on Mac OS X and Windows and how to reset it if you need to.
Obviously, this is intended for advanced users, be it troubleshooting, security, privacy, digital forensics, or similar situations. Unless you have any reason to waste time on the iOS lock folders created by iTunes, then this shouldn’t be done or you will break something or fail to connect an iOS device to your computer.
Location of iTunes lock folders for iOS devices on Mac OS X and Windows
Table and article summary
The location of the iOS lock directory is created by iTunes and varies by operating system. You can find them here in both OS X and Windows versions.
Mac OS X (all versions):
/ private / var / db / lockdown /
C: NDocuments and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataAppleLock
C: NUsuariesUSERNAMEAppDataDataDroamingApple ComputerLockdown
Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
The contents of the lockout folder contain lockout certificates for each iOS device synced with the computer
What’s in this directory? A certificate for each device used with this computer.
Revocation certificates are generated for every iOS device synced with a computer. So if three iPhones have been synchronized with the computer, three different list files will be identified as file names by each UDID of the iOS device.
Do not modify, delete, move, copy, or delete these files unless you know exactly what you are doing and why you are doing it. Copying these certificates to other computers can cause unexpected behavior and result in unintentional or unauthorized access to an iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Incidentally, for affected users, this latter scenario is a good reason to use FileVault and Password to protect your computer and encrypt file backups.
Reset iTunes Lock Folder
If you want to reset the lock folder and all of its iOS devices, do the following:
- Quit iTunes and disconnect iOS devices from your computer
- Access the lock folder from the above location depending on which operating system you are using
- Delete the contents of the lock folder, which normally requires administrator password authentication
This will prevent all iOS devices from connecting to the computer until it is trusted again. If you delete these files, you will also be suspicious of the computer. An easier way to suspect computers from an iPhone or iPad is through iOS settings.
If you want to create a new lock certificate or recreate the lock folder, just restart iTunes, reconnect the iOS device to the computer and trust it again. Sync it again through iTunes. Each device generates a new revocation certificate in the appropriate place.
The iTunes lock folder location and how to reset iOS lockout certificates on Mac OS X and Windows
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