About MobileDevice

Created: Modified: Knowledge Base

GroundControl uses an Apple library called MobileDevice for certain operations, specifically iOS Updates. This library is built into macOS. On Windows, GroundControl links to a copy of MobileDevice included with Apple iTunes. Apple will update MobileDevice from time to time to support new devices or a new version of iOS / iPadOS.

Important! iOS 14 will require a new version of MobileDevice bundled with iTunes on Windows.  However, this new version is not yet compatible with GroundControl v4.10.1 and earlier as it will prevent Launchpads from starting up.

The links below will download iTunes, which supports iOS 13 and earlier. Please do not upgrade iTunes or MobileDevice until Windows Launchpad support for iOS 14 and Windows is available. See more info here about iOS 14 readiness.

iOS VersionMinimum MobileDevice VersionMinimum iTunes Version
iOS 12.1.1MobileDevice 988.220.5
iOS 13MobileDevice 1190iTunes 12.10
iOS 14MobileDevice 124512.10.9.3

Check your version of Apple MobileDevice

GroundControl displays the version of Apple MobileDevice in the Launchpad and in the admin console’s Launchpad Detail page. You can also export this data via Launchpad actions. Click the triangle next to the Launchpad version display to show the OS version and the MobileDevice version.

Download iTunes for Windows

Apple distributes iTunes on the Windows Store and as a standalone installed. GroundControl supports only the standalone version of iTunes. You may download these from apple.com using the following links.

Please note the links below will download iTunes, which supports iOS 13 and earlier. Install iTunes using the links below.

Once downloaded, you may either install iTunes, or extract the MobileDevice libraries from the installer for silent iTunes-free installation.

Install iTunes on Windows

Once iTunes is installed, you must check a checkbox to prevent it from activating devices. Please don’t skip this step!

Open iTunes, then open Preferences > Devices. Check the box “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.” Finally, exit the iTunes app (closing the window is not sufficient).

iTunes is installed but the Launchpad reports errors

On Windows, iTunes and the MobileDevice components bundled with that version are not compatible with GroundControl Launchpad 4.10.1 or earlier. 

If iTunes is installed but the Launchpad does not start up, please uninstall the following components and iTunes from Programs & Features:

For Win32 the files are:

  • Apple Application Support
  • Apple Mobile Device Support

For Win64 the files are:

  • Apple Application Support (32-bit)
  • Apple Application Support (64-bit)
  • Apple Mobile Device Support

Once the above are uninstalled, please install iTunes using the links below only:

How to extract DLLs from iTunes

If you do not wish to install the full iTunes, you can follow these instructions to install the 2-3 required MSIs. You may include these in a custom GroundControl Launchpad installer for your PCs.

  1. Extract the iTunes installer with a tool such as 7-Zip
  2. Locate and install the following MSIs

For Win32 the files are:

  • AppleApplicationSupport.msi
  • AppleMobileDeviceSupport.msi

For Win64 the files are:

  • AppleApplicationSupport.msi
  • AppleApplicationSupport64.msi
  • AppleMobileDeviceSupport64.msi

Please note all files listed above are required.

Update  MobileDevice

New versions of iOS may require new versions of MobileDevice for updating or restoring devices. See the chart at the top of this page for versions. However, Apple doesn’t distribute a standalone package for updating MobileDevice.

Windows: You have two options to update MobileDevice on Windows:

  • Full iTunes install: Use the Apple Software Update utility in your Start menu.
  • Extract DLLs: Download the latest iTunes and extract the DLLs again, using the process described above. Distribute the new DLLs using your software distribution method of choice.

Mac: The only known way to update MobileDevice on Mac is to perform the following steps:

  1. Over the air, update one iOS device to the latest iOS version. This can be a personal device or corporate device.
  2. Exit the GroundControl Launchpad app.
  3. Plug in the updated iOS device to your Mac. The Mac should prompt you to update your MobileDevice software.
  4. Click Install, which begins an update mechanism for MobileDevice.
  5. Disconnect your device.
  6. Resume using the Launchpad app.

Unfortunately, this process can not be automated across many Macs.