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This article is for iPhone OS 2.x. Please refer to this older post for iPhone OS 1.x.


Unknown to many iPhone (and iPod touch) owners is you can mount your device as a thumbdrive! All you need is a Mac (or Linux) and install the Netatalk (an open source implementation of Apple’s AFP protocol) package via Cydia. After that, you can manipulate your device’s content in a Finder window, such as copying files to it for transport/archive, installing themes, etc.

Installing Netatalk (ported to iPhone OS 2 by Jay Freeman) is a breeze. Just launch Cydia and look for the “Netatalk” package (it’s filed under the “Networking” section.) If you want a way to toggle Netatalk on and off, you’ll need the “Netatalk Toggle for BossPrefs” provided by yours truly.

For Leopard user, your device will show up automatically in your Finder’s sidebar, under SHARED. Simply select your device, and enter the user name “mobile” (or “root” if you want to access as the root user) with the password “alpine”. Momentarily you’ll see two drives mounted on your desktop. Party on!

For Tiger user, you will mount your device by going to Finder, select “Connect to Server …” from the “Go” menu. Then type “afp://” (without quotes and to replace with your device’s actual IP address first) and hit the Connect button (see pic). Voila!

For Linux user, here’s the home page of Netatalk for you to figure out how to add one more service to your OS.

For Windows user … Sigh. No cool iPhone thumb drive for you. It’s a Mac thing.

Do you need to use the USB cable to connect your device to your computer? No. Netatalk for iPhone connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi.


  1. And for those that have a USB cable but no Internet connection, try DiskAid:

  2. >thegpc

    DiskAid is nice. It uses USB only… which is alright with me although Netatalk lets me access my iPhone in another room or even across the globe. I do wonder if it will be faster to copy large amount of files via USB compared to Wi-Fi. What strikes me most interesting is there’s no need for access permission! Anyone with an iPod USB cable can gain file access into any iPhone. Food for thoughts eh?

  3. Rupert:

    Right. I’m just saying, some places I’m stuck without an Internet connection for either of my devices, and DiskAid is a nice alternative.

    I think it is interesting how it access the root folder. It’s like, one warning, that you can just click “yes” to. Bad for people who, unlike us, don’t know what they’re doing.

  4. >thegpc

    Yah, it’s amazing. I’m still scratching my head wondering how it’s done. Anyhoo… we shouldn’t be too concerned about unauthorised access. Afterall… I’m sure almost every jailbroken devices is “alpine”, ya know what I mean? 🙂 In this sense, Netatalk is even worse since yours can get hacked wirelessly and totally without your knowledge by someone sitting nearly. With DiskAid that someone has to ask you to plug in your device into his computer. 🙂

    Never keep sensitive or irreplacable data in any computer.

  5. Rupert:

    Which is why I turn off Netatalk in public. BTW, thanks for the plugin!

  6. Hey Rupert,

    So is this basically another version of firefly for mac right?

    Mr. J

  7. >Mr J

    Er… this has nohing to do with Firefly. It’ good old AFP.


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