Restoring iPhone USB access under iTunes 9

Like many jailbreak iPhone users, I prefer to SSH to my iPhone 3G via the USB cable instead of over my wifi network. Since upgrading to iPhone OS 3.1.2 and iTunes 9.0.2 (Specifically, however, I’ve discovered that the tool I used, iphone_tunnel.exe, no longer works. Instead, every time I try to connect with Putty or WinSCP, the error message iphone_tunnel gives me is:

new connection !
AMDeviceNotificationSubscribe = 0
iPhone attached !
AMDeviceConnect = 0
AMDeviceIsPaired = 1
AMDeviceValidatePairing = 0
AMDeviceStartSession = 0
MobileDevice: _send_message: Could not encode message as XML
AMDeviceStartService = 0
AFCConnectionOpen = 0

My initial search results lead me to downgrade the “Apple Mobile Device Support” component to the version used in iTunes, but this did not work. After a lot more searching, I discovered a slightly different tool, itunnel, which I originally discounted as just another name for iphone_tunnel. It is actually a modified version of iphone_tunnel, presumably for iTunes 9 compatibility. It works fine on my iPhone 3G, and I imagine the same would go for the iPhone 3GS.

You can download it from MediaFire (623.55 KiB).

The legal risks of buying a US iTunes voucher/gift card

My experience with safely buying a US iTunes voucher was entirely positive, but being scammed isn’t the only way things can go wrong for a South African iTunes user.

I recently came across a post discussing the legality of using US iTunes gift cards in South Africa. In short, redeeming the voucher as a South African is a breach of contract, as you are breaking Apple’s terms and conditions on voucher redemption. The article goes on to cover why Apple includes these terms, and why breaking them may also lead you to break content copyrights.

So what does this mean for us? Effectively, Apple are entitled to terminate offending iTunes accounts on the basis that their terms of service were breached, which may well result in the account owners losing access to any purchased content.

Thus far, Apple have not enforced this, and I’m hoping they never do. Currently, it’s in their financial interest to turn a blind eye in favour of increased iTunes voucher sales, but if the content providers push hard enough, Apple’s stance may change and then we all lose out.

Buying iTunes vouchers/gift cards online

Warning: This review is old and may no longer hold true. Please see the edits at the end of this post.

Using an iPhone and iTunes as a South African user sucks. Every iPhone user I know has registered a US iTunes account to get access to apps that are inexplicably* unavailable in South Africa. The only downside is that, without a US credit card, the only way to buy apps on the AppStore is by using iTunes vouchers/gift cards. Naturally, getting the vouchers in the first place can be a risky endeavour.

I decided to take a chance on, given their positive eBay feedback profile. The order went in at 18:35 GMT, and 76 minutes later, I had my voucher code; iTunes happily accepted it and my first purchase was entirely without incident. So far I’m entirely happy, although I’ll update this post if anything develops.

* Apparently South African law requires all “games” to be reviewed by the Film & Publications Board. Thus, even if an app is set for global distribution in iTunes, it won’t appear in the South African flavour.

P.S. 2011/07/19: I recently noticed that is currently linking to this review on their affiliate page. For the record, I am not an affiliate of theirs, and I have not received anything from them except the iTunes voucher, which I purchased at full price. — Ashley

P.P.S. 2012/11/28: Felix has raised an issue with not fulfilling orders, sharing an article that highlights the problem. If one checks buyfrompowerseller’s eBay feedback, you’ll find only one review in the last year. This is worrying, as it shows that they have stopped selling iTunes vouchers through eBay, which also means that customers can no longer rate their experience in an open forum. Please beware when purchasing from this vendor, and do not trust their eBay feedback profile. — Ashley

Migrating iTunes apps between installs

Ahh, a new PC, a new install of iTunes, and all the apps I downloaded for my iPhone are nowhere to be seen. iTunes doesn’t offer me a way to redownload all the apps I installed, and what’s more, when I try to sync my iPhone with the new copy of iTunes, I get the following message:

Are you sure you want to sync applications? All existing applications and their data on the iPhone will be replaced with applications from this iTunes library.

I’m not especially inclined to manually redownload all those apps, but nor am I keen on the idea of losing them all. Fortunately, I had not yet nuked the old PC and a quick search revealed that iTunes stores your downloaded apps under My Documents\My Music\iTunes\Mobile Applications. I simply copied all the .IPA files from my old PC over to the new one and then, in iTunes, clicked on File > Add Folder to Library…, selected the folder, and breathed a sigh of relief as the apps reappeared in the Applications library.

Of course, all this could be avoided if Apple provided a way to back up one’s Applications library. iTunes does provide a “Backup” feature that involves burning your library to CD/DVD, but that isn’t quite what I had in mind.