How to change file permissions in iPhone/iPod Touch

January 15, 2008 at 1:51 am (How to, iPhone, iPod Touch, Technical Stuffs) (, , , )


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  1. John said,

    So Im confused I just type using the Term-vt100 this chmod -R a+x /Applications/*
    where the asrtix is at is that where I put 755

  2. John said,

    NVM I figured it out I did have to put the 755 where the * was now it works just fine..thanks a million

  3. dermapthera said,

    Hi John!

    For the sake of other readers, to get * (asterix), hit the “123” button on the touchpad, and then hit “#+=” button and you should see the * button.

  4. omar said,

    the ‘squid method’ worked fine.

  5. dermapthera said,

    Hi omar!

    Yeah squid method should work pretty good if you just want to change individual files.

    Glad that worked for you!


  6. Pete said,

    Nice site, good solutions.

    I used Term-vt100 as you said, and psx4all ran fine, but then I uninstalled it since I prefer NES for the moment (I found a torrent for ~1000 roms which should keep me busy for a while). Now my music player tells me there is no music! iTunes shows 10 gig of ‘Other’, and no music files at all, despite the fact that I can still see them all there with Total Commander.

    Got any ideas that will save me a complete reinstall, re-jailbreak and reload of all my apps?

  7. Pete said,

    Solved. Somehow iTunes had created a new iTunes_Control folder in var\root\Media, and the entire library was still there as iTunes_Control_2, so I just deleted the new and renamed the old and it’s all back again.


    By the way: jailbroken iPod Touch 1.1.2, WinXP, Total Commander 7.02a, .WFX plugin…all working a charm now!

  8. dermapthera said,

    Hi Pete

    I was just about to reply, when you replied! Hehe… That’s was fast. Could you share of your findings? I didn’t quite get that part though…



  9. Alexa said,

    nice! was getting annoyed about having a mac since most things dont work lol or you have to find long ways around problems….this worked great! may i ask WHY we need to change the perissions to 755 lol pls?

  10. dermapthera said,

    Hi Alexa!

    You need to change permissions because when you installed applications, their default permission is not 755 (I really didn’t check, but I know it’s not 755).

    And for some applications (like gpSPhone and psx4all, just to name a few) they uses BIOS file to work. Hence if there is no permission granted to these BIOS, the application would crash and not run.

    You only change permissions if you keep getting your programs to crash often. I realise sometimes, a certain program just crash, but when I change the permission, everything goes back to normal.

    Though you don’t really need to change permissions if nothing happens though. =)

    Hope that clears up the differences.



  11. tungak said,

    how can i check if the permissions were already changed to 755? i used to term vt100 application. thanks in advance

  12. gino said,

    hi i wanted 2 no what i do after i type everything in theres no enter botton

  13. dermapthera said,


    You can only check using applications like MobileFinder or Squid. The thing is, if you used vt100 app, it changes all files within the /Applications/ folder, making it having permission of 755.


    There’s no enter button? I think it’s called “Return” and it should be located at the bottom right of the keyboard layout.

    Hope that helps.


  14. waz said,

    ya i downloaded the bios folder and i go to the properties for the file but it doesnt say permissions on it i did everything on this website uing mobile finder and all that but my emulator doesnt read the bios file is there something wrong with the bios because nothin in the properties says permisssions

  15. dermapthera said,

    Hi waz

    If you’re using MobileFinder, you should compare your file with my screenshot here.

    That’s the permissions we’re talking about.

    I hope you understand now.

    If you still can’t get the BIOS to work, you probably have the 300 MB problem.

    Read: How to: Manually fix problems uploading files into Applications folder, without wifi


  16. aaron jackson said,

    worked great for me thanks… tried for days using winscp…this was super easy

  17. Pat said,

    Dude, thanks a lot! I tried both Squid and MobileFinder, it does it’s job. Though crashes when you set the permissions of every file to 755…

  18. problem here said,

    Hi I have a problem: when i use vt100 app to change the permissions to 755, It doesn’t work. When i reboot my ipod touch and open Notes app; it still laggs and when i tap the “+” button it doesn’t work. By the way i didn’t download BSD Subsystem i used ibrikr to install the TerminalVT100. help plz. And where could u get apps without wifi? ’cause i don’t have a wireless router ;( thx.

  19. dermapthera said,

    Hi (er, what’s your name again?)

    Anyway, you’re not the only one who don’t have wifi. I don’t have wifi too! And I install my applications manually.

    However, I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DOING THIS. Manual installation will not be reflected in Installer app, so if you install manually, you have to uninstall manually too.

    It’s really troublesome if you want to know.

    And you’ll need to know how to read the XML data (the repo source) because there are underlying (or extra) executions that might need to be done.

    In order words, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. πŸ™‚

    For Term-vt100 to work properly, you’ll need BSD Subsystem. Though, like I said, I did mine the manual way, and it’s really very troublesome.

    If you’re comfortable reading XML data, let me know. I can write a detailed post on how you can install Term-vt100 and BSD Subsystem and the Term-vt100 fix. But I wouldn’t want to write it if you’re not comfortable with reading such meticulous codes.

    Why don’t you spend a few minutes down in you local hotspot (like starbucks or mcdonalds) and use their wifi to accomplish your task. After that you can bring home your iPod. πŸ™‚


  20. Eugene said,

    Hi there,

    First of all thanks for the guide!

    However, when I tried to use squid and change the permission, squid didnt let me save the changes. I checked the boxes and hit apply, but then when i exit and use squid to view the files again, the boxes were unchecked. Do you know whats happening?

    Thanks in advance!

  21. Greg said,

    How about changing the permissions for both the files AND it’s contents? Is there a difference? I don’t know anything about this stuff, so your help is greatly appreciated.

  22. dermapthera said,

    Hi guys

    @ Eugene

    I’m not sure why the changes aren’t reflected. It could depend on what files you’re trying to change permission to. Try the Term-vt100 method instead, that has worked for me all the time effectively. Then use Squid to check the permissions.

    @ Greg

    Files and contents?

    Files = folders
    Contents = files

    Is that what you mean?

    To use Squid or MobileFinder, you’re only able to change permissions for one file. Use Term-vt100 to make folder-wide changes.

    For any other folders except Applications folders, let me know, I’ll give you the full link.


  23. Greg said,

    Well, I was following a tutorial to use ‘swaptunes’ on 1.1.3 It says:

    ‘Drop them into your Applications directory and give them their 755 permissions accordingly (including the package contents)’

    It sounds like there’s an additional step to set the permissions for the contents as well, but I’m not sure…


  24. dermapthera said,

    Oh I see…

    I guess that only happens if you want to change the whole permissions for the folder (and it’s contents).

    Then I strongly suggest using Term-vt100 method for that. That’s because, the “-R” token used, means to traverse files “recursively”, which will apply on ALL files and folders (and any child folders that might appear).

    I hope this answers your question.


  25. Greg said,

    OK, I did this and after I got something like: chmod [-fv] [-R [-H | -L | -P] ending with mode|entry file…

    Is this normal?

  26. dermapthera said,

    Hi Greg

    You didn’t complete the command.

    Type this (exactly as it is):

    chmod -R a+x /Applications/*

    and that last character is an asterix.

    If you typed this, then nothing happens, then you’ve done it correctly.


  27. Greg said,

    Great! It worked! Now I can sync my iphone between two music libraries!!! Thank you so much. I’m very happy πŸ™‚

  28. Eugene said,

    I still cannot change the setting using squid…

    Anyway I used Term and it worked out so I will just leave the problem behind.


  29. Sarah said,

    I am having trouble typing in the command for term vt 100.

    Could you precisely let me know where a space is required. I’ve tried it so many times, but it keeps telling me either that my file is wrong or that i’m not finished. Also is it important to have letters capitalized as you did (if so where can I do that)? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP

    —-frustrated Sarah—-

  30. dermapthera said,

    Hi Sarah

    Please don’t be frustrated. Hehehe… πŸ˜€

    Anyway, here are the answers to your query:


    The full command is:
    chmod [space] -R [space] a+x [space] /Applications/*

    Note: Capitalization is necessary.


    Where can you do the capitalization? You mean where in the keyboard? It looks like an “up” arrow, near the bottom left.

    Sorry if I’ve misunderstood.

    But let me know if this answers your questions.


  31. Sarah said,

    You are truly a lifesaver. I finally got it to work. My previous problems were that I didn’t capitalize and I didn’t use the space buttons enough! Thank you you wonderful person you.


  32. dermapthera said,

    Hi Sarah

    I’m glad to hear that you’re not so frustrated anymore. Hehehe… πŸ˜€

    Well glad it worked out.


  33. brandon said,

    okay so Ive been spending the past 3 days trying to change the permissions a GBA bios.. so that I can get it to work..

    no matter what method I try, nothing works.
    I have both squid and mobilefinder.. and neither of them save the settings..

    in squid, the apply button doesnt do anything whatsoever…

    in finder.. I hit done in the modify section and none of the permissions change..

    and in terminal I enter the command.. it does a bunch of stuff.. but the only stuff I can read out of it is “opperation denied” or something to that effect…

    I’m running 1.1.3 I dont know if that has any effect?

  34. dermapthera said,

    Hi brandon

    It will be cool if you can provide me a screenshot of the Term-vt100 error. That’s the first time I heard that an operation is denied?

    Anyway, I have a strong feeling that you did not “fix the 300MB disk space”. Do you know what I’m talking about?

    Download BossTool. And run it. Then try to upload the BIOS file again. Then try to change permissions.

    My gut feeling tells me that you’re experiencing this problem (I had this problem once too!).

    But if you had moved your applications to the other partition, then I guess the problem lies elsewhere.

    For a start, you can show me that screenshot. I’m curious. You can scroll up in Term-vt100 though if you don’t know.


  35. brandon said,

    Im not entirely sure how to get a screenshot, sorry

    I have bosstool installed and its telling me there is 86 mb free out of 279 on /
    and 13104 mb free out of 15184 mb on /var

  36. dermapthera said,

    Hi brandon

    Can you tell me what is the exact error from Term-vt100?

    If you’re not sure, this is the full command:

    chmod [space] -R [space] a+x [space] /Applications/*

    Capitalization is necessary.

    Try this again, then let me know what’s the error. Thanks!


  37. brandon said,

    it says for each file it tries to change:

    chmod: (lists file): Operation not permitted

    for example

    chmod: /Application/ Operation not permitted

  38. Sarah said,

    Sorry to bother you again but do you know how to get web applications (like BeeJive) as a button onto the home screen? Thanks so much!

  39. dermapthera said,

    Hi brandon

    Seems like you have access problems.

    May I know which jailbreak method did you attempt on? Nate’s method, AriX method, ipodtouchmaster’s method, DevTeam method or Zibri’s method.

    Might have a clue on that.

    Anyway, does the operation fail on all files? I mean, the “*” will try to apply to all files, folders and sub-folders, so does it fail on every single file within the /Applications/ folder?

    This is something new to me. I’ll see what I can conclude…

  40. dermapthera said,

    Hi Sarah

    In 1.1.3, just go to the webapp page, then hit the “+” (plus) sign. That’s how you add to home screen.


  41. brandon said,

    I used the dev team one
    and yeah, the operation fails on every file

    I HAD squid working before on 1.1.1… then upgraded to 1.1.2 and it still worked..
    Ive read other threads that it was still working on 1.1.3 for other people, so I don’t see how that could be a factor?

    unless as you said, it might have something to do with the jailbreak method?

  42. dermapthera said,

    Hey brandon

    My guess is that the root access password is wrong. I don’t know though… It could be anything.

    I’m very sorry I couldn’t figure out a solution for you. Try asking somewhere else. This is really a rare case for me.

    Sorry again that I couldn’t be of any help at all.


  43. brandon said,

    no worries!

    I think I’ll just try and go back to 1.1.2…

    one more quick question… is there any way I can back up my ipod so that after I jailbreak it again, I don’t lose all my files and apps?

  44. dermapthera said,

    Hi brandon

    For files (e.g. music/movies/photos) I suggest you re-sync back.

    For apps, use iphonebrowser to backup all your files. But, if you don’t have root access, how are you going to do that?

    For certain apps, like Term-vt100, it’s recommended that you download from the Installer, because restoring from backup causes it not to have permissions set, and you’ll have problems using it.

    Do take note that installing apps from the backup might cause undesirable operations (crashes and incompatibility issues) hence it’s not really a recommended step.

    My recommendation is NOT to do manual backup. Although re-downloading each and every app takes a long time and tedious, it’s the only way to save you from headaches. You wouldn’t want to create more problems that it already is.

    I hope you understand.


  45. brandon said,

    that makes sense, no worries!
    thank you for being so patient πŸ˜›

  46. dermapthera said,

    Hi brandon

    Sure no problem!

    Important note: Make sure you start off as a new device. DO NOT RESYNC PREVIOUS DATA BACK. You’ll know when the asked you this question after the restore is complete.


  47. Sarah said,

    Hmm, I have a jailbroken 1.11 firmware right now, how would I go about upgrading to 1.13 and not losing all of my applications that I have right now? Is there a post where you show how to do this? thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it.

  48. dermapthera said,

    Hi Sarah

    I am not sure if you can do that.

    I think the Official DevTeam update can allow you to keep your apps intact.

    However, I don’t know whether it’s true or not, cause I usually will re-download all the apps after I did a restore or update.


  49. Garry said,

    HI everybody!Please help me.I was downloaded Term-vt100 application to my Iphone.When i try to open,i getting black screen and on the bottom keyboard.(maybe its normal screen?)In the upper left side i have word “Password” and when i try to type something(i can’t see any typing),nothing happening and then i getting Login incorrect.Could yuo give me any advise,please.

  50. dermapthera said,

    Hi Garry

    Seems like you’re having the password problem. This shouldn’t really occur, unless you’ve changed the default password.

    Right now, what firmware are you using? As far as I’m concerned, for FW 1.1.2, the password is “alpine”. If you changed it to something else (during the jailbreaking process), it won’t connect properly.

    The black screen with keyboard is the correct window. You won’t be able to see what you’re typing for the password though.

    If you’re on other FW, I have to tell you to look elsewhere. Sorry because I wasn’t being of any help at all.

    Good luck.


  51. Garry said,

    Dermapthera,thanks for your explanation.I’m using 1.1.3

  52. Chevi said,

    i have an unlocked iphone 1.1.4 and i used mobilfinder/Squid for changing the permissions but both didnt work.. When i change the permission using squid and mobilefiner y look again and nothing happend..
    Any ideas what can i do?? What can i do for fixing squid/mobilefiner in order to use them on an 1.1.4 iphone??
    Does termvt100 work with an 1.1.4 iphone??

    Sorry for my english.. Im from ecuador..

  53. dermapthera said,

    Hi Chevi!

    I strongly suggest using Term-vt100 then. I’m sure it’ll work.

    However, Term-vt100 won’t give you any feedbacks, so you’ll need to check if the permissions change through Squid or MobileFinder.

    Hope that helps.


  54. Chevi said,

    Hi thax!!!

    But i have the same problem with the says alpine is incprrect.. I cant use term-vt100.. Any solution/suggestion??


  55. dermapthera said,

    Hi Chevi

    Did you jailbreak 1.1.2 manually? I’m sure, they ask you to enter “root” password. If you know, the password is that.

    I wouldn’t suggest you restoring and rejailbreak again though.

    Sorry if I’m not of any help.


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