With the release of iOS 8.3 last week, Apple has enforced new rules for accessing iOS application sandboxes. The update effectively restricts access to the Documents folder of apps which have been explicitly “File Sharing” enabled by their developers.
In other words, this means that iMazing and similar software cannot directly read or write data to app sandboxes, except to the Documents Folder of apps which have been specifically flagged by their developers as allowing file sharing. This also impacts backup/restore of individual apps: only data of File Sharing enabled apps can be bundled in the exported package. On the other hand, device backups are not impacted and remain fully browsable.
We believe that the move makes sense in that it ensures greater user privacy: prior to iOS 8.3, accessing private data of apps was relatively trivial – one only needed to pair the device to a computer once, before data could be fully and remotely accessed from the computer, as long as the paired device was connected to the same Wifi network. Private data of apps can be sensitive: WhatsApp messages, location data from activity loggers, cache from diary apps like Day One are but a few examples. As of iOS 8.3, access of private data can only occur through a backup, and backups can be encrypted if users chose to do so. A step forward for user privacy, at the cost of convenience in a handful of use cases.