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February 28, 2008

How to: Change file/folder permissions in iPod Touch/iPhone

I realised I keep rambling about the permissions thingy, so I decide to write it on a separate post.

This tutorial covers on how to change the permissions without using all those pesky WinSCP, Total Commander or CuteFTP (or any other programs). You can just change the permissions internally using your jailbroken iPhone/iPod Touch.

There are 2 known methods more than the methods shown here, there might be more, and there might be another better way. As for me, I used these methods, as it's a tried and tested method. If you guys have another simpler method (without the aid of any programs running from the PC), do let me know so that I can share with other people out there.

Change permissions using Term-vt100 application

This program emulates the virtual command prompt for the iPhone/iPod Touch. You can find it in the System directory under Install. You might need to install the BSD Subsystem first as it's a dependency for the application to work.

You can also use any other virtual terminals, but I just use one. No point installing 10 virtual terminals if all does the same thing. But they take in commands the same, so it doesn't make any difference though.

After you have installed it, you can now change the permissions for your files. Type in:
chmod -R a+x /Applications/*

Alternatively, if you're more comfortable with numbers, you can also use this command:
chmod -R 755 /Applications/*

It does the same thing as the previous one.

That's about it. Nothing will happen after that. This command will change all files within the Applications directory with the necessary permissions. We are looking for permission 755.

Prior to using Term-vt100, you won't be able to see any effect. If will just look as if nothing happened. This is normal. If nothing happens, you have typed in correctly. If some other error appears (e.g. No such file or directory), then you have to re-enter the command again.

Don't worry about checking though, it will change all into the necessary permissions. If you're still sceptical, you can check using MobileFinder or Squid.

Change permissions using Squid

Using Squid is a lot less tedious, and easier to remember. However, Squid only allows you to do changes one at a time, so if you have multiple items to set the permissions to, you'll be working out your fingers (and brains :) )

Once you have located the file inside Squid, check mark all the ones below:

- Owner (Read, Write, Exec)
- Group (Read, Exec)
- Other (Read, Exec)

And you should see your permissions become 755.

Change permissions using MobileFinder (Finder)

It's the same procedure like Squid, just slightly different interface. Less likely to cock up also. First thing you'll need to do is to change it's settings. Turn Off Application Launch and Executable Launch.

Step 1: Navigate to the file using MobileFinder

Step 2: Tap on Modify button

Step 3: Tap on Buttons like this screenshot here.

Step 4: Tap done to save changes

Step 5: [Step optional] To confirm your permission have changed, tap Modify again, then look under "File Properties". The "Permissions" should be 493 (that is still 755)


xxx037 said...

i put gta (the game) in var/root/Media/ROMs/PSX
and i put bios in
i changed bios permissions using Term vt-100 to 755 and i made sure the "scph" is lowercase
but still says bios not found scph1001.bin please hlp i dont no wat else to do

Yusry said...


Quite a rare case. It should run when the BIOS is all in lowercase. I haven't come across such error when the BIOS is in the correct place.

Can you give me more details? Here are what I want to know:

a) What firmware?
b) Jailbroken using which method?
c) iPhone/iPod Touch?
d) Have you relocate your Applications folder using BossTool?
e) To directly apply permission changes to the BIOS file only, type: chmod 755 /Applications/

I hope you get back to me asap.


Thomas said...

Nice guide, added to stumble

Michael said...

I'm using:
1.1.4 Iphone
jailbroken with ziphone.
BSD SUBSYSTEM 2.1 from apptapp official
Term-vt100 version svn278

whenever i try and set premissions by entering chmod -R a+x /Applications/*

it scrolls through all my applications saying Operation not permitted

Eric said...

so does changing permissions to 75 allow me to save my roms for all my emulators? I've heard other numbers like 777 would let me save my gba roms?

Yusry said...


If you're on 1.1.3/1.1.4, there are some complications regarding the save games, even I myself are experiencing it now.

However, if you have SSH (WinSCP+PuTTy for Windows) or CyberDuck (for MacOS), and you know what you're doing, you'll need to issue some commands. I am also assuming all your ROMs are in var/mobile/Media/ROMs/GBA (for GBA).

First, change owners to "mobile". To do that, type in:

chown -h -R mobile /var/mobile

Next, you'll need to set permissions to allow your GBA folder have read/write/execute permissions. To do that, type in:

chmod -R 777 /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/GBA/*

Note that you can do this for any other emulators. Just change the GBA into NES, PSX, etc...

Confused? Try this post.


Eddy said...

hi there, i've just bought my very 1st iphone... i want to know how to install apps manually to iphone without using installer. i've downloaded few apps and tried to copy them with iphonebrowser in root/application/
but the apps seems not working... why? otherwise i also tried to use ibrickr. it works... but the supported apps (PXL) seems to be old .. do u know why they dont continue developing pxl anymore? btw, ur helps are really appreciated.. ;)

Anonymous said...

"I'm using:
1.1.4 Iphone
jailbroken with ziphone.
BSD SUBSYSTEM 2.1 from apptapp official
Term-vt100 version svn278

whenever i try and set premissions by entering chmod -R a+x /Applications/*

it scrolls through all my applications saying Operation not permitted"

in mobileterminal type: su
then enter and it will ask for a password typ in "alpine" (it wont show the letters you type) and press enter
then do
chown -hR mobile /var/mobile

it works i had to do it cause i had the same prob

Yusry said...

Nice tip. I'm sure a lot of people will find it useful.

ETJAKEOC said...

I jail broke my ipod touch 2ndGen 8Gb using spirit, and it worked all up until I changed the file ownership of all the files over to mobile, can I fix this without loosing all my data?

Yusry is a technology freak, he plays a lot with his iPod Touch since day 1. He is also into programming and gets excited trying out new softwares. He is also a member of a local Singaporean band named Dermapthera. You can read his other blog at