Apple's mobile devices became very popular after release, thanks to their unique design and ease of use. Each launch was followed by the release of applications that tried to take advantage of the new features brought by these devices. iTools is such a program.
iTools is a free utility that helps you install/update the applications on your iPhone / iPod / iPad and manage them with ease. It allows you to use Apple devices as external hard drives and write/delete messages or memos.
iTools comes with a simple interface that features a single window where users can access the local resources of the device, as well as manage its desktop, messages and files.
The application displays device information like name, type, status, region, color, system version and serial number. It also states whether your device is jailbroken or not (iTools handles both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices).
You can install a new application by pressing the Add button in the Application panel. Here you can choose the desired .IPA file and begin its installation.
iTools also enables you to you create a backup for your applications, a very useful feature if you want to keep the original .IPA in the cloud or in a secure folder.
You can remove an item by using the Uninstall option in the contextual menu. I didn't encounter any errors while trying to install/uninstall applications.
Another useful feature is Program Update, which basically scans your device for installed applications and then checks the Web for updates.
iTools comes bundled with two useful tools: the first one helps you enable or disable the auto backup feature of iTunes (which creates a backup for your device each time you sync it with iTunes); the second one allows you to convert PXL files to the IPA format. iTools also provides access to your device's file system.
Unfortunately, this feature can't be used under Mac OS X Lion, but it seems to work fine on Snow Leopard. On some Macs, I wasn't able to open the available files, but I was offered the option to copy their path to the clipboard, to create a backup or a new folder. However, applying changes to the device's file system is not recommended for an average user, so you should be careful when deleting any item.
The application comes with an External Hard Drive feature. However, I wasn't able to make it work on my Mac. This happened either because the feature just did not work or due to the fact that I didn't know how to enable it due to the lack of documentation on this subject.
On the other hand, features like Desktop management are self-explanatory: it allows you to access the device's desktop, delete applications or create groups. Groups can be added by pressing the Smart Classify button, which allows you to select the desired application categories.
iTools includes a Springboard option that enables you to record your device's desktop. Although this didn't work on one of the machines used to test the application, it did the job it was supposed to do on the other Macs. If it does work for you, all you need to do is right click on the window and start recording. The output video can be saved anywhere on your Mac as a .mov file.
iTools enables you to access contacts, memos, and your Safari bookmarks via its Message management feature. In the Contacts window you can insert/edit information, such as name, birthday, nickname, company, mail, homepage or change your contact image.
Memo management is done almost the same way. You click a memo or create a new one and change its title or content. The application then helps you to import/export memos and contacts stored in CSV files.
Creating or editing Safari bookmarks is also very easy. You import the ones found on your device, edit them or create new ones, and then export them back to Safari. For us, the editing and syncing process worked like a charm. Depending on the amount of bookmarks that you want to process, the syncing process may take a while. Transferring 15 bookmarks and 10 folders took less than 30 seconds.
Your device is detected automatically and the installation/syncing process is fast, without errors and long waiting times.
Functions like editing messages, browser bookmarks and memos come in handy if you want to create new appointments, write messages or save various websites as your bookmarks.
Another notable feature is the PXL to IPA converter, which makes the process of installing an application a lot easier.
While installing and syncing apps is not a problem for iTools, there are some small bugs that spoil the fun. For example, even if there is a Springboard option, it didn’t seem to work on all Macs.
iTools also lacks a documentation or some tutorials that may hinder some users from using more advanced features, such as File management.
Furthermore, if you make changes to your messages/bookmarks and close iTools without clicking Sync, you might stumble upon the program’s most annoying problem. The application won't ask you to save your changes to the device and will simply close.
While there are some issues with it, iTools does provide a good alternative to most iPhone / iPad / iPod management utilities. Installing applications is fast and creating a backup for them is very easy. However, if you're looking for the complete package, that allows you to record your device's screen, convert videos, manage contacts or create ringtones, then iTools is not the app you’re looking for.
Here are some snapshots of the application in action: