IMG4 File Format

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The IMG4 file format is a replacement for the IMG3 file format and is used on devices running a 64-bit processor (A7 or newer) and the Apple Watch series. Just like the old IMG3 file format, it is used to contain files used by iOS' secure boot chain (im4p files), signatures of those files (ApImg4Ticket) and likely some info used in the Restore Process ("IM4R" can be found in MobileDevice framework). The only known place in iOS filesystem where a complete IMG4 file can be found is /usr/standalone/firmware/sep-firmware.img4. Extracting a PersonalizedBundle from /tmp during a restore will also yield complete IMG4 files. The embeddedOS images in the macOS filesystem for the 2016 MacBook Pros also have complete IMG4 files.

Structure

Contrary to the IMG3 file format where a custom binary format was used, IMG4 files (and their payloads) are DER encoded ASN.1 objects. The reason for Apple's choice of ASN.1/DER encoding over their own Property List (PList) file format is currently unknown.

sequence [
   0: string "IMG4"
   1: payload   - IMG4 Payload, IM4P
   2: [0] (constructed) [
          manifest   - IMG4 Manifest, IM4M
      ]
]

IMG4 Payload

Payload contains the actual content of the file. IMG4 format allows to store payload in a separate file with im4p extension. im4p files are used more often than complete IMG4 files. Payload is structured as follows:

sequence [
   0: string "IM4P"
   1: string type    - ibot, rdsk, sepi, ...
   2: string description    - 'iBoot-1940.1.75'
   3: octetstring    - the encrypted/raw data
   4: octetstring    - containing DER encoded KBAG values (optional)
         sequence [
            sequence [
                0: int: 01
                1: octetstring: iv
                2: octetstring: key
            ]
            sequence [
                0: int: 02
                1: octetstring: iv
                2: octetstring: key
            ]
         ]
      ]

IMG4 Manifest

A.k.a. IM4M. Contains signature for one or multiple IMG4 payloads. Manifests are designed in a way that they can be stored separately from an IMG4 file or be a part of one. An example of an IMG4 manifest is ApImg4Ticket. Each IMG4 manifest is made of tags structured as follows (content = DER encoded object):

[type] (private) [   - DER tag's class is the type of the tag (4 bytes) encoded as a big-endian integer
   sequence [
      string type    - type of the tag, 4 bytes
      content    - content of the tag
   ]
]

Manifest structure (tag <type> = tag of type 'type'):

sequence [
   0: string "IM4M"
   1: integer version    - currently 0
   2: set [
          tag MANB [   - manifest body
              set [
                  tag MANP [   - manifest properties
                      set [
                          tag <manifest property> [
                              content
                          ]
                          ...   - tags, describing other properties
                      ]
                  ]
                  tag <type> [   - ibot, illb, sepi, krnl, NvMR, bbcl...
                      set [
                          tag <tag property> [
                              content
                          ]
                          ...
                      ]
                  ]
                  ...   - tags for other images
              ]
          ]
      ]
   3: octet string signature
   4: sequence [   - containing certificate chain (arbitrary number of certificates)
          certificates
      ]


External Links