Monitoring Your iOS Traffic

There are a number of free ‘sniffer’ tools around, for your PC or Mac, for looking at and changing the network traffic. The venerable Wireshark, Fiddler, and Burpsuite are some of the ones that I have used in the past, and still fire up today.

What about your iOS devices though? What programs are available for these, so you can see what your phone and iPad are sending out and receiving? I wouldn’t want to try and use an iOS version of Wireshark on my phone, not just because it hasn’t been ported to work on iOS, but because viewing all the data and changing it on a small phone screen is just not physically feasible. So what can you do if you want to see what your device is sending out, and how can you change what is going into it?

There is a way to leverage the experience you have of running the tools you already know — a couple of simple changes and you can intercept and view your iOS traffic.

Assuming you have your sniffer tool up and running on your Mac, you need to find the IP address your Mac is using. This can be found under Apple > System Preferences > Network. Make a note of the number.

Now go to your iOS device:

  • Select Settings > Wi-Fi > your Wi-Fi network.
  • Click the blue ‘i’ button to show more details of the network.
  • At the bottom of this page there will be an ‘HTTP PROXY’ section.
  • Select the ‘Manual’ option.
  • In the Server section enter the IP address of your Mac that you took note of in the steps above.
  • Port will usually be 8080.

And that’s it, you should now be able to see the traffic coming in and out of your device, and intercept and change it and do whatever you want.