Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

iOS (null) Applications

Over the past weeks, I wasn’t able to complete any of my iPhone backups, and without a backup (actually two, iCloud and iTunes, just because) I didn’t want to upgrade to the latest iOS. Last night I decided to investigate why.

The error I got was this:

26/8/16 10:28:09.285 PM AppleMobileBackup[42056]: ERROR: Backup message response:
     101 Unable to open domain directory: No such file or directory (2) at path

Not very useful. I guessed that if I could find which app it was, I could delete it, but googling for 453DA9D8-45A4-4B88-9D43-57A5772B6C57 or parts of it didn’t give me any hints.

Eventually, while browsing Definitions > General > Storage and iCloud Usage > Manage Storage I found a application without an icon:

My (null) application, lots of useful information...

Selecting it I was able to see just two things: the version and the size, nothing more.

I searched a bit about these (null) applications and there are a lot of tips and tricks to delete them. In my case, deleting it by long-press and using the small x didn’t work, neither going to the Manage Storage section of the definitions and deleting it from there.

The other solution was finding out what the application was, using the size as a guide, and installing it again.

It turns out that there is a simple way of figuring out which application it is based on size. I opened iTunes, and inspected the iPhone apps, sorted by size, and it was very simple to identify it:


I was now pretty sure that this was the application that got stuck. Unfortunately, re-installing it did not solve the issue, the application was now stuck on installation, and removing it was still impossible.

I decided to use iTunes to try and do it. I clicked the Remove button in the image above, and sync’ed my iPhone. This worked, and the application was removed.

With this application out of the way, I was able to complete my iPhone backups and upgrade to the latest iOS.