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Getting Started With Phonegap For iOS

This is a quick guide to getting set up to make iOS apps with Phonegap. This is different from Android development, so if making Android apps is your goal instead, check out the docs here.

In short:

Make sure that you have Xcode and Node (and npm) installed. If any of that sounds unfamiliar, follow those links (npm comes with Node). Then open Terminal and do the following:

  1. npm install --global phonegap
  2. phonegap create hello com.example.hello HelloWorld
  3. phonegap build ios

Note: In step two, the first hello is the name of the folder to create the app in. The com.example.hello is basically just another name for your app, so change the example and hello portions to whatever you like. The HelloWorld at the very end of the command designates the app name (I think), so call it whatever you like (without spaces).

To run the app in the iOS emulator:

phonegap run ios --emulator

Note: The run command will do build for you, but if you don't want to instantly run the app in the simulator then use build separately.

If the iOS simulator node module isn't installed already (it's probably not), then you will need to install it. This is supposed to be automatic, but my copy of Phonegap threw an error for some reason. I this happens just install it manually:

npm install --global ios-sim

The documentation for Phonegap is seriously out of date, and it doesn't ever seem to distinguish between Cordova and Phonegap in a meaningful way.

The info on this page is decent for getting started.

Running on an iPhone or iPad (With a Developer Account)

Make sure your iPhone or iPad is connected via USB and then run:

phonegap run ios --device

This, as with deploying to the simulator is supposed to work automatically out of the box but it also gave me problems when trying to install the necessary dependency, ios-deploy. If you get errors, as above just install manually:

npm install --global ios-deploy

Now you should be able to run your app on iOS :)

Note: For the above to work you do need to have an Apple developer account and have already set up your devices for development... or just follow the instructions below.

Running on a Jailbroken Device without a Developer Account

  1. Install AppSync through Cydia. Your jailbroken device should already have Cydia, but in Cydia you probably don't have access to AppSync by default. You will need to add an external Cydia repo that has AppSync. Add one of the repos from this page on installing AppSync.
  2. Download and install Jailcoder.
  3. Open Jailcoder and hit the big button to do a guided install.

That's all, now you can enjoy testing apps on a real device without the need for an apple developer account. That being said, if you want to publish your apps to the App Store you will need a developer account. But $99 per year is probably well worth it if you're going to be publishing apps. Enjoy!