iOS Application Penetration Testing: What to Know Before Doing it?

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Are you an iOS app developer? Then you probably want to ensure your app is absolutely secure before launching it. The most straightforward technique to achieve this is penetration testing. In this article, we’ll discuss what is iOS application pentesting, and why it is important. We’ll also provide you with some steps to follow while pentesting iOS applications.

Is it possible to do penetration tests on iOS?

Yes, it is possible to do penetration tests on iOS. However, pentesting iOS apps can be a bit more difficult than pentesting Android apps since iOS is a closed system. And by that we mean, it isn’t open-source so you can’t just look at the code to see what’s going on. This implies that you’ll have to jailbreak your iOS device if you want to carry out some pentesting.

iOS jailbreaking

Jailbreaking simply means unlocking your device so you can install apps from sources other than the App Store. It’s a process that allows you to get “root” access to your device, giving you more control over it.

This allows you to install third-party applications and tweaks, as well as customise the look and feel of the user interface. While jailbreaking does provide some benefits, it also opens up your device to security vulnerabilities. So it’s important to keep in mind that jailbreaking your device is not without risk.

What is iOS application pentesting?

iOS application pentesting is the process of testing an iOS app for security vulnerabilities by simulating real-world attacks. It’s a great way to identify and fix security issues in an app before they can be exploited by hackers. Pentesters may use more than one tool or technique to find security flaws in an application.

Why is iOS Penetration testing important?

One of the main reasons for iOS penetration testing is that many businesses are using iOS apps and devices for carrying out work at the office. This makes iOS applications a prime target for cybercriminals. And as we all know, a successful attack can lead to serious consequences for businesses, including financial losses and data theft.

Security issues with iOS mobile apps

As we mentioned earlier, jailbreaking your device opens it up to security vulnerabilities. However, this is also true for apps that are installed from the App Store. Security vulnerabilities are a common occurrence in both iOS and Android apps.

This is because mobile apps are often developed with speed and convenience in mind, rather than security. And since the app store review process is not as rigorous as it should be, malicious apps often make their way into the App Store.

Some security issues persistent among iOS apps are:

  • Insecure data storage
  • Insecure communications
  • Weak authentication and session management
  • Insufficient security controls
  • Poor design and coding practises

How do you test iOS apps?

Let us now go over how you can test iOS apps. The process of pentesting an iOS app typically involves the following five phases:

  1. Discovering and researching vulnerabilities
  2. Identifying exploit vectors
  3. Executing exploits to gain control of the device or application
  4. Gaining access to sensitive data
  5. Reporting findings

There are a variety of tools and techniques pentesters use to test iOS apps. Some of the most common include:

  • Penetration testing tools such as Astra Pentest and Metasploit can help pentesters execute exploits and gain access to sensitive data.
  • Manual inspection involves testers manually exploring an app for vulnerabilities. This can be done by looking at the code, inspecting the app’s runtime behaviour, and testing it on a jailbroken device.
  • Static analysis is the process of analysing an app’s source code to find security vulnerabilities. Static analysis tools such as Burp Suite and AppScan can help identify coding errors and insecure practises that could lead to security breaches.
  • Dynamic analysis is the process of testing an app while it’s running. This can be done by using a tool such as Charles Proxy to intercept and modify traffic between the app and the server.
  • Network analysis is the process of examining network traffic between an iOS device and the servers it communicates with. This can be done by using a tool such as Wireshark.

Steps for pentesting iOS apps:

  1. To pentest an iOS app, you’ll need a jailbroken device. With a jailbroken device, you have access to all of the system files and can therefore examine them more closely for vulnerabilities.
  2. Next, you need some best penetration testing tools such as Astra Pentest, Burp Suite, Metasploit, AppScanner, etc.
  3. Once you have these tools installed and your device connected to the computer, you can start by exploring the app interface and identifying potential vulnerabilities.
  4. Next, you may utilise pentesting tools to exploit these flaws and obtain access to sensitive information.
  5. Finally, you’ll need to report your findings in a clear and concise document.


iOS application pentesting is an important process for identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities in iOS apps. By understanding the basics of iOS pentesting, you can protect your application and its data from potential attacks. We’ve provided a few tips on how to get started with iOS pentesting. So don’t wait any longer – start testing your iOS application today.


Author Bio: Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.


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