How to capture iPad HTTP traffic on a PC without spending a dime

- select the contributor at the end of the page -
Inspired by an article showing how to capture iPad (any iOS device, actually) traffic using a Mac, this morning I set up my iPad so that I could sniff its network traffic using my favorite HTTP debugger, Fiddler2. It's remarkably simple to do.

Note that this technique assumes that your PC is on the same IP subnet as your iPad.

Step 1. Install Fiddler2 onto your PC if you've not yet done so. It's free and indispensable.

Step 2. Open Fiddler's options (Tools|Fiddler Options) and on the Connections tab, check the box, "Allow remote computers to connect". Also write down the port that Fiddler listens on for step 5. Click OK to save your changes.

Allowing remote connections in Fiddler

Step 3: On your PC, run ipconfig from a command prompt to discover your PC's IP address (mine is in the picture below). Write this down for step 5. Fiddler should already be capturing HTTP traffic from your PC. Now it's time to point your iPad at your PC so Fiddler can capture that traffic as well.

Discovering the IP address of your PC

Step 4. On your iPad, in Settings, select Wi-Fi and under Choose a Network, find the wireless network you're using and tap the blue button on the right to get to its details, as shown in the picture below.
Tap the blue arrow to get to the details of your wireless network

Step 5: Make a note of your current HTTP Proxy setting (it's usually set to Off by default). Now set it to Manual, and in the Server field, enter your PC's IP address. In the Port field, enter Fiddler's port. When you're done, click the Wi-Fi Networks breadcrumb to leave this screen and help ensure that your changes take effect.

Pointing your iPad to Fiddler on your PC

You're all set! Your iPad should now be routing all of its HTTP requests through Fiddler on your PC so you can analyze the traffic there. You can use File | Save in Fiddler to save the traffic to a .SAZ file and send it to an app developer to help her diagnose problems you're having with her app (this works great for the Pluralsight iOS player because it uses HTTP to communicate with our servers).

Important! Don't forget to reset your iPad's proxy setting once you're done debugging.

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Keith Sparkjoy

Keith Sparkjoy was a Culture Coach at Pluralsight. As a cofounder, Keith was the Chief Technology Officer for many years, building and hosting the website and all things IT. These days there's a whole team of folks taking care of the tech, and Keith is focusing more on company culture, which is one of the most important aspects of a fast-growing business.