Download files to the iPhone with new plugin (how-to guide)

Download files to the iPhone with new plugin (how-to guide)

Ben Wilson
2 min read

A significant advancement has been made in the world of unofficial iPhone feature enhancement. The aptly named "Download Files Plugin" is a new add-on for the iPhone's MobileSafari that fulfills one of the most oft-mentioned functionality requests for the device: the ability to download files of various types (including images, MP3 files, QuickTime, compressed .ZIP files and many more) and store them on the iPhone. By default, the iPhone can access and play MP3, QuickTime, PDF and other files, but cannot store them for later use. This new plug-in makes it possible.

You can install this plug-in on a jailbroken iPhone (see instructions for jailbreaking iPhone 1.1.2 or 1.1.1) by opening Installer.app then tapping the "Sources" button at the bottom of the screen. Next, tap "Edit" in the upper-right corner, then tap "Add" in the upper left corner. In the resulting field, enter http://brandonschlenker.com/plugin.xml. This will add the source for the Safari plugin. Now restart your iPhone by powering it down then back up. Again launch Installer.app and tap "Install." Scroll down to "Safari Plugins" and tap it," then download "Download Files PlugIn." Restart your iPhone again.

Now you can launch Safari and navigate to files in the following formats:

  • .avi
  • .mpg
  • .mp3
  • .mpeg
  • .swa
  • .rar

They will be downloaded to the ~/Downloads folder (/var/root/Downloads).

This is what Safari will look like when it is downloading files with the aid of this plugin.

What to do with the files after they're downloaded is the part of this process that still needs some work. You can use Installer.app to download a Terminal application (such as Term-vt100 under "System") then browse to the files, and you can even play them back directly with a utility like playaudio. You can also use MobileFinder (which can also be installed through Installer.app under "Productivity") to easily navigate to and email the files from your iPhone.

Alternatively, you can install a Web server on your iPhone, such as Lighttpd available under "Network" in Installer.app, then access the files through any browser. You can also SSH into the iPhone and SCP the files to a different computer. In any event we expect to see options for playing back these files proliferate in the coming days and weeks.

One side effect of installing this plug-in should be noted: after installing it, you won't be able to directly playback any of the aforementioned file formats through Safari -- they will all download instead of automatically playing. You can get the old, default behavior back by going into Installer.app, tapping "Uninstall" then selecting "Download Files Plugin."

Feedback? info@iphoneatlas.com.