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How to build the Robot Operating System for the iOS platform.
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Pre-compiled frameworks are available at :

How to build the Robot Operating System for the iOS platform.

First of all, you need to be on a MacOSX system with the Xcode and the iOS toolchain installed. You also need to have the command line tools installed (svn, git ... see Xcode options) and the CMake build system. The automated script will build all the necessary libraries for you :

git clone

After few minutes, a ros for ios framework is available for the ios arm7, arm7s and simulator in the ros/frameworks directory and ready for use. A demonstration application is also provided to test the framework. Open demo_app/ros_ios/ros_ios.xcodeproj with Xcode and build the demonstration application. The project should compile without any intervention.

The following is for your information.

External libraries

ROS base system depends of two main libraries :

  • Boost (useful c++ library)
  • log4cxx (log system with levels)

The first step before build the ROS tree is to get an iOS framework of these two libraries.

  • Boost is already available for iOS : The script will download the latest version of Boost for your iOS SDK. (To configure the script set BOOST_LIBS, IPHONE_SDKVERSION and OSX_SDKVERSION)
  • log4cxx is not available for iOS and depends of the APR library (Apache runtime library), and more precisely apr and apr-utils.


The catkin build system available with the ROS groovy release is not used.

Here is the principal parts that has been built (for arm7, arm7s and i386 simulator) from the sources available on the ROS GitHub ( :

  • roscpp_core ( : roscpp_core is an underlying library for support roscpp message data types. It is a lightweight/minimal library that can easily be used in non-ROS-based projects.

    • roscpp_core/cpp_common
    • roscpp_core/roscpp_serialization
    • roscpp_core/roscpp_traits
    • roscpp_core/ros_time
  • ros_comm ( : ROS communications-related packages, including core client libraries (roscpp, rospy, roslisp) and graph introspection tools (rostopic, rosnode, rosservice, rosparam).

    • ros_comm/utilities/xmlrpcpp (Xml-RCP modified for ROS)
    • ros_comm/client/roscpp
    • ros_comm/tools/rosconsole
  • ros ( : Main package

    • ros/roslib (removal of the rospack dependancy because no Python support on iOS)
  • core messages :

    • rosgraph_msgs (included in ros_comm/messages/rosgraph_msgs/)
    • std_srvs (included in ros_comm/messages/std_srvs/)
    • roscpp (included in ros_comm/clients/roscpp/)

The headers of the ros messages are put into a specific framework. By this way, they can be added with #include <message_package/header.h>.

You can use the script to generate the messages framework you need. This script uses the genmsg and gencpp packages in order to generate the header files. For example, sh -f path_to_nav_msgs path_to_std_msgs path_to_geometry_msgs will build nav_msgs.framework which depends of std_msgs and geometry_msgs (it's also possible to generate a simple folder with the -d option instead of the -f).

iOS demo applications

It's an Xcode project which can be found in the xcode_project directory.

Some iOS demonstration apps were realized.

It is needed to export the ROS_HOSTNAME of the computer running the ros master. export ROS_HOSTNAME=IP_COMPUTER

IntRolab Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

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