Access iPhone Backup, recover files from iPhone backup

output from python fileIt was bound to happen sooner or later. I took a photo with my phone and used the image as the wallpaper for when the phone is locked. However, I completely overlooked this when I deleted the original image from the camera roll. This meant I had an image in place but no way of accessing it, and I quite liked the image!

It turns out that when you connect your iPhone to your Mac and iTunes starts, it runs a backup and places some files in your ‘~Library/Applications Support/MobileSync/Backup folder. The problem is that they are SQLLite files and not easily readable in any simple way. This is where I turn to the Apple community, particularly the discussions, and ask for help. Here is the post I made.

I was so pleased with the response – almost immediate and ultimately one of the most helpful. It appears there is a Python script able to open those files and restore the folder structure from the innards of your phone. The thread answers the questions most folk will have, but I thought I’d post here too.

What you need to do is copy the backup folder and all it’s contents to an easily accessible place – I chose a new folder on my desktop. Copy the Python script into the same folder. You then need to change the permissions on that script to ensure that it is executable. You should do this through the terminal, which means you’ll probably need to use ‘sudo’ and ‘chown’ to set the values correctly. Once you have done this you can run the script. You do this by typing ‘sudo’, then the complete path to the script, a forward slash, then the complete path to the folder (you can simply drag the items into the terminal window to do this and the paths will be filled in automatically for you). Finish with a forward slash and then ‘*.mdbackup’.

What this will do is reconstruct the entire iPhone folder structure inside the place you have got the python script and backup folder. Once done you can then set the permissions for the resulting foder and copy to all items inside… you can then access and manipulate the files.

This was, in fact, ludicrously easy – I had help from a former colleague who is something of a star with this stuff, but if you know a few basic commands in the terminal you should be OK.

I’ve also uploaded the Python script for you all to download from here in case it goes offline elsewhere. The original is HERE. The one I used (and changed ownership on) is HERE.

WordPress for iPhone, Stumble Upon

Well, this has got to be good… Here I am using my iPhone once again to send information to my blog. This time it is a short note to describe adding a ‘Stumble Upon’ button to your WordPress themes.

I noticed that last week the hits rose quite dramatically on a particular item t do with iPhones and on further investigation it turned out that a visitor had added my site to StumbleUpon and thus the sudden influx. It was enough to encourage me to make it even easier for that to happen in future.

A quick visit to and I had the code I needed to enter into the theme files I am using, but it needed some editing. Adding the ‘title’ attribute from WordPress code endured that the specific page or post gets tagged.

I’ll monitor traffic over the next couple of weeks to see what happens, but I am not expecting much.

Just to finish by saying I rote this entry using my iPhone, and as you can see, it has arrived safely on the site. I am a fan of the wordpress app for iPhone now… but have been a fan of Stumble Upon for years! 🙂

Testing the iphone app for WordPress

So here I am posting directly to my blog using my iPhone. It is slower to type than using a keyboard, of course, but it is at least available to me from anywhere.

And as you can see… I can add an image, too. In this case it is a picture of my recently bashed car – thanks to Robert from Princes Park Manor, N11 who looks left when pulling out of a junction whilst turning right. Twit. Good job it was at walking speed otherwise the damage would be far worse.

Do I still think that mobile phones are good tools for learning? Well yes, actually, and probably more so than before. I am typing at a reasonable speed and am not struggling too much. I have Internet access, can post short texts to a site and basically do most things I would expect to do in a normal lesson if asked to research information or put some text together. Of isn’t yet perfect but it isn’t at all bad.

Bring on more… And soon!!


RSC Jisc Barnfield College

The work for today was for the RSC/Jisc conference at Barnfield College – probably best described as an ‘e-Fair’ it brought together people from the colleges around the Eastern Region to explore the issues realting to new technologies and learning.

We were delighted to be asked to support the event through the innovative SMS text application which is currently known as ‘Walls iStream’… I know, I know… we’ll need a better name than that! Still, it will do as a working name for now, and certainly gets people thinking!

The system allows you to send a normal SMS message that appears almost instantly on a screen. We have versions which run off a local phone connected to a laptop through bluetooth, and we have a version which operates through an SMS gateway. Both are identical to look at.

What we find when we deploy this software is that people immediately find a use for it that is different to the original purpose, which was to support speakers at conferences and collect delegates’ views. Today was no exception and plenty of people talked to us about how they might use it with learners, with staff for ICT development and lots more, too.

If you’d like a copy of the software, or access to use it for an event, please contact Cleveratom on 0845 868 9020 and we will work with you to make sure it is fit for your needs.

Walls iStream currently looks like this:

Walls iStream software

Apple iPhone case, protecting your iPhone

picture of iPhone in a caseOne thing that won’t have escaped anyone’s attention about Apple products since the days of the early iMacs and iPods is that they are pretty. Jonathan Ive has been shaping the look of these gadgets for a long time and is still making them extremely desirable just form their look. Design is very important of course, and needs to be blended with equally good functionality. This is why I believe Apple products do so well.

However, one problem with having such lovely design is how to keep it looking lovely. For example, my 3rd Generation iPod has a shiny chrome back cover, which suffers enormously from smudges, scratches and generally getting bashed about. I keep it in the case it came in, but somehow even sliding it in and out of that has introduced wear and tear. Of course, it is a good few years old now, has had new batteries (see my article about replacing an iPod battery) and gets used almost every day. It is bound to suffer wear and tear, and I should expect no less.

The problem has moved on now though, as I also have my iPhone to protect. There are literally hundreds of cases designed to look after your iPhone, and some are remarkably expensive affairs by comparison to others. The ones I’ve seen or used include wallet type ‘fold over’ where you slot the phone in the top and there is a front flap which opens and closes like a book to reveal the phone controls, clear plastic cases that snap on, and various types of rubber or silicone rubber sleeves which you wrap around the phone.

The issue with the wallet type has been that the phone can easily slide out of the opening at the top since there is no strap to keep it in. Thus, casually hoding the case the wrong way up can result in a nasty fall to whatever surface is below. In Matt’s case that has been everything from carpet to concrete. Not good. They also require more manipulation to answer the phone and are much more bulky in your pocket. If, like me, you keep your phone in your jeans pocket then that’s not a good thing!

The clip on plastic covers also increase bulk somewhat, although not drastically. They do also protect the device, but they look, well, odd. It somehow destroys all of that lovely design work and you end up with something akin to a cheap underwater housing for a disposable camera. They are low cost, and they look it, too, IMO. The one exception for me *might* be the InCase ‘slider’ for iPhone and iPod touch.

So that leaves the silicone rubber covers, and at the moment that is what I’m using. There are lots on the market, some in funky colours, some with reinforced ribbing, some with built in screen protectors and so on. I’ve looked at most and discounted most. There’s even one made from a material designed to protect helicopter rotor blades whirring at high speed in a sandy environment. Nice. The one I am using is in fact very cheap and soft feeling that covers most of the phone, but not the front glass. This hardly affects the overall bulk, allows easy access to the controls and essentially is just plain black. It looks smart to me. I also cover the glass with a stick on screen protector (around £3.00) which is probably overkill, but I feel better about keeping my phone in my pocket with these sorts of things on. The touch screen operation is not affected in any way by such a protective cover.

The only downsides I can find are that the rubber material doesn’t slide easily over cotton and thus getting the phone out of a pocket invariably brings the pocket inside out with it! I also have two rather large holes on the iPhone itself – the headphone socket and the dock connector – and these are susceptible to that dreaded of all afflictions – pocket fluff. No matter how clean your garments, fluff collects in the pockets! The worry is that the fluff will lodge in the sockets on the phone and prevent them working as they should.

So far, one month later, that hasn’t been an issue, thank goodness.

Phone covers are pretty personal things, and different people will want different ones. I’ve found the rubber cases to be better for lots of reasons than the leather wallet types, but I guess you’ll have to make up your own mind. For what it’s worth, I spent less than ten pounds on a rubber case and a screen protector film. I’m happy with the protection, knowing I’ll never use the phone as a helicopter rotor blade, unless in some MacGyver moment I am thrown into a survival situation and that’s what I need to do to escape. Alernatively, I’ll just ring for help…