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Mac OS X and iOS Internals: To the Apple's Core Paperback – November 6, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1118057650 ISBN-10: 1118057651 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Peeling Apple's Operating Systems

System-level developers, kernel hackers, and intrigued Apple-lytes, take heed: This book lets you explore the nooks and crannies of Mac OS X and iOS, delving into the architecture of both systems, and picking up where the frameworks (and documentation) leave off. It offers clear, detailed explanation of the inner workings of Apple's systems, including proprietary APIs, most of which are documented for the first time.

As you traverse the architecture, moving from user to kernel mode, each layer and component is unraveled with annotated code samples and hands-on experiments, comparing and contrasting its implementation in both OSes. Topics include:

  • The boot process: Mac's EFI, iOS's iBoot, and kernel startup
  • Processes, threads, and virtual memory management
  • Debugging and profiling, using DTrace, ptrace, and hidden system calls
  • The system level APIs: POSIX calls, Mach traps, and OS X/iOS proprietary
  • File system architecture, including VFS and HFS+
  • Network architecture: from sockets to interfaces, and network drivers
  • Kernel extensions, drivers, and a discussion of I/O Kit architecture
  • Security features, Mandatory Access Control, and iOS jail

The companion web site (http://www.newosxbook.com) includes sample programs, freely downloadable tools, updated references, and bonus additions.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

wrox.com

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About the Author

Jonathan Levin is a longtime trainer and consultant focusing on the system and kernel levels of the 'Big Three'—Windows, Linux, and OS X, as well as their mobile derivatives. He is the founder and CTO of Technologeeks.com, a partnership of experts delivering advanced training on systems/kernel programming, debugging, and profiling.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118057651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118057650
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Zimmerman on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So I've got an entire bookshelf dedicated to lower level software books and this is by far the most versatile and most information packed. It is incredibly terse and comprehensive. I can see anyone from just an average user that wants to learn about macs to a senior developer who has much experience in c and even objective c but not necessarily the inner workings of Darwin find a lot of use from this book. I have not finished it yet (its almost 1000 pages) but I have already learned enough to fill 10 buckets. What I also love is how it refers to other books that go far more in depth on each topic. So yes in a sense this book is comprised of summaries but they still go in depth enough for one to understand the gist of whats going on. I can say from the start that the chapter on EFI is pretty phenomenal and that coupled with all the information on the mach architecture has taught me an incredible amount. Overall if you are interested in learning about macs and how they work, or are a programmer and want to learn how to take advantage of some lower level stuff or if you're more in the hacker field and enjoy seeing how things work under the hood and how you can manipulate them to your advantage (me) you will definitely enjoy this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rgviva on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a result of an extensive, epic research made by the author. Yes it is all open source, you could go an read the code to understand the architecture - but this is why you have books! It covers the subject really thoroughly and written in an easy to read format. The book contains some amazing reverse engineering work which is just cool and revealing things never covered since Amit's book. I wonder what Apple engineers think of this book. I bet they could buy it for their new recruits!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jason Haddix on December 17, 2012
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Doing iOS and Mac OSX security research becomes pretty hairy with the mountain of code and nature of objective-c and ARM. This book provides a reference that has just simply not been available in any other book. Our mobile penetration testers at Fortify are all reading this release right now and signing it's praises. We look forward to it aiding our automation efforts in identification of security vulnerabilities of iOS code. Also, the new command line tools and descriptions of them alone are worth the book cost.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RichL on November 2, 2012
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This is best book on OS X internals since Amit Singh's Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach, and certainly a good companion to the iOS Hacker's Handbook.
It covers OS X up to Lion and iOS up to iOS 5, which is understandable as it would be almost impossible to publish an up to date book given Apple's release schedule.

I would certainly recommend this to people look for a modern OS X internals reference.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Story on July 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains substantial information about Apple OS's but also has some problems that diminish its value.

First, it has too many typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors. This is common to Wrox books and I have to assume that the publisher doesn't bother with using a copy editor.

Second, it suffers from factual errors. This is also common with Wrox books. Technical books like this would be served by a technical editorial review.

Finally, it often suffers from a lack of explanatory detail. The blame for this is largely Apple's with their secretive ways. I find long passages that are either line-by-line descriptions of source code or (worse) multi-page copies of the code itself. If I wanted that level of detail I could read the source myself. (The code in question is open source--something I learned to my amazement from reading this book.). What's missing is analysis of why the code is doing what it's doing. What's also missing of course is any description of the vast majority of the code that is closed source. For those portions of the system the author relies on hacking and reverse engineering.

I'm not saying the book is worthless. I did learn from it. But I found it endlessly frustrating as well. Blame Apple for the secrecy of the technology, but the editorial sloppiness has no excuse.

UPDATE: I've received multiple comments on this review on my personal blog. The comments center around (1) 2 stars in unfairly low and (2) I should give more concrete examples of the errors I criticize. I can see the merit of both arguments. As for point (1) I have changed the number of stars from 2 to 3. As for (2) I would have to go back and re-read significant portions of the book in order to locate such examples, which I just don't have the time to do right now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CF on November 22, 2013
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Really well made book; started it now but it has ton of info about OSX and iOS.

If you are a regular user, this book is a waste of time, but if you work on hardware, software or you want to learn the inner mechanics of this operating system, this book will guide you trough the ton of info that nobody tells you about.

I have serious problems to understand the official docs from Apple; when I am able to find what I need of course...and this book resolve both issues. It will guide you trough the various applications running on the system, telling you what they do, then you will get your feet wet working on terminal, getting info about the kernel, Mach and the underlying structure of the OS, where each specific layer is explained.

If you do kernel programming work, this book is a bible. IF you are a beginner, this book will tell you what is going on when you run your app on iOS or OSX, using Xcode, or how to manipulate some inner mechanism of the system.

Do yourself a favor and read this book; it is for Mac/iOS developers, the equivalent of what the K&R book is, for C programmers.
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Mac OS X and iOS Internals: To the Apple's Core
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