What Are IPSW Files and Should You Delete Them?

What Are IPSW Files and Should You Delete Them?:

If you use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, chances are you have one or more IPSW files within the folder structure of your Mac or PC. However, you probably won’t even notice them if you’re not up for file size. A single IPSW file typically comes in north of five gigabytes, and this can significantly affect an internal HDD or SSD with less storage capacity.

But what are IPSW files? Is it safe to delete them from my computer? You’ll find answers to everything you need to know below.

What are IPSW files?

The IPSW file (which stands for iPhone Software, iPad Software, or iPod Software) contains both the system software and firmware for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. If you’ve ever updated or restored an Apple device on your Mac or PC, it provides the iTunes or Finder app with the necessary data for the process.

Despite the unfamiliar nature of the file format, an IPSW file is essentially a compressed archive. You can check what’s inside using the Archive utility on Mac or third-party tools like WinRAR or 7-Zip on PC.

If you ever choose to remove one, you’ll see several DMG (Apple Disc Image) and PLIST (Asset List) files, including the folders that hold the iPhone, iPad, or iPod firmware.

However, only iTunes and Finder (and third-party Apple device management software such as iMyFone Fixappo) can decipher the content within an IPSW file.

How are IPSW files downloaded?

When you update or restore an Apple mobile device, your Mac or PC will automatically download the IPSW file from Apple servers Using iTunes or the Finder App.

However, your computer may detect a previously downloaded software update package that matches the device model. In that case, it will download a new IPSW file (and overwrite the old copy) only if the system software (iOS or iPadOS) has the latest version.

You can also download IPSW files manually from third-party sites such as IPSW.me, which you can then use Downgrade System Software on iPhone and iPad.

Where are IPSW files stored?

If you want to find out the download location of IPSW files on your Mac or PC, here’s how to do it:

On MacOS (Mac):

Open the Finder app and press Order + slip away + g To bring up the Go To Folder box. Then, type the following folder path and press recorded:


On Windows (PC):

press windows + r To open the run box. Then, type the following folder path and press recorded:

%appdata%Apple ComputeriTunes

Depending on the devices you updated or restored via iTunes or Finder, you may see up to three folders labeled iphone software updatehandjob ipod software update, or ipod software update Within the directory visible in Finder or File Explorer. Each folder may contain one or more IPSW files.

Tip: On Mac, you can also find IPSW files via Storage Management utility (open Apple menu and select About Mac > Storage > Storage Management > ios files)

Should You Delete IPSW Files?

Once you have finished updating or restoring an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, you can safely delete the IPSW file as long as you don’t have any issues that may require you to reinstall system software in recovery mode or DFU Mode.

If you’re crunching for storage, you can still delete an IPSW file (as long as internet bandwidth isn’t a concern). Finder or iTunes will always redownload system software from Apple servers if it fails to locate a matching or up-to-date IPSW file.

Additionally, you might want to delete an IPSW file in case it is corrupted and you continue to face issues while updating or restoring an iPhone or iPad. This should prompt Finder or iTunes again to download a fresh copy from Apple’s servers.

Can you change the IPSW download location?

Both Finder and iTunes do not provide a built-in option to change the download location of IPSW files. However, if you have issues with storage but don’t want to delete anything, feel free to copy the contents to the external storage. You can then copy them back if you need them later.

Alternatively, you can Mac. Use symbolic links on or pc To move the directory that stores the IPSW files. But if you decide to create a symlink to an external drive, be sure not to disconnect it during an update or restore. If you do, you could brick your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

IPSW Files: Keep or Delete Them

In short, IPSW files hold system software and firmware for iPhone, iPad, and iPod and are only used when updating or restoring your mobile devices. So if you keep running out of disk space, you can safely delete them.

However, if your computer has a lot of free memory, you may not need to worry unless you suspect file corruption issues or if any Apple devices you no longer use There are many IPSW files.