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Toolchain for compiling Python / Kivy / other libraries for iOS
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Kivy for iOS

This toolchain is designed to compile the necessary libraries for iOS to run your application and manage the creation of the Xcode project.

Currently, we do not provide any binary distributions of this toolchain, but we aim to. Until then, you do need to compile it at least once before creating your Xcode project.

The toolchain supports:

  • iPhone Simulator (x86 and x86_64)
  • iPhone / iOS (armv7 and arm64)

These recipes are not ported to the new toolchain yet:

  • lxml


Currently, the toolchain requires a few tools for compilation. You will need:

  1. Xcode 6 or above, with an iOS SDK and command line tools installed:

    xcode-select --install
  2. Using brew, you can install the following dependencies:

    brew install autoconf automake libtool pkg-config
    brew link libtool
  3. Install Cython (0.21):

    # pip method if available (sudo might be needed.)
    pip install cython==0.21

Using the toolchain

Any Python extensions or C/C++ library must be compiled: you need to have what we call a recipe to compile it. For example, Python, libffi, SDL2, SDL_image, freetype... all the dependencies, compilation and packaging instructions are contained in a recipe.

You can list the available recipes and their versions with:

$ ./ recipes
freetype     2.5.5
hostpython   2.7.1
ios          master
kivy         ios-poly-arch
libffi       3.2.1
openssl      1.0.2e
pyobjus      master
python       2.7.1
sdl2         iOS-improvements
sdl2_image   2.0.0
sdl2_mixer   2.0.0
sdl2_ttf     2.0.12

Then, start the compilation with:

$ ./ build kivy

You can build recipes at the same time by adding them as parameters:

$ ./ build openssl kivy

The Kivy recipe depends on several others, like the sdl* and python recipes. These may in turn depend on others e.g. sdl2_ttf depends on freetype, etc. You can think of it as follows: the kivy recipe will compile everything necessary for a minimal working version of Kivy.

Don't grab a coffee, just do diner. Compiling all the libraries for the first time, 4x over (remember, 4 archs, 2 per platforms), will take time. (TODO: provide a way to not compile for the simulator.).

Create the Xcode project

The can create the initial Xcode project for you:

$ # ./ create <title> <app_directory>
$ ./ create Touchtracer ~/code/kivy/examples/demo/touchtracer

Your app directory must contain a A directory named <title>-ios will be created, with an Xcode project in it. You can open the Xcode project using:

$ open touchtracer-ios/touchtracer.xcodeproj

Then click on Play, and enjoy.


Fatal error: "stdio.h" file not found
You need to install the Command line tools: xcode-select --install
You must rebuild it with bitcode enabled (Xcode setting ENABLE_BITCODE)...
We don't support bitcode. You need to go to the your project setting, and disable bitcode


If you need assistance, you can ask for help on our mailing list:

We also have an IRC channel:

  • Server :
  • Port : 6667, 6697 (SSL only)
  • Channel : #kivy


We love pull requests and discussing novel ideas. Check out our contribution guide and feel free to improve Kivy for iOS.

The following mailing list and IRC channel are used exclusively for discussions about developing the Kivy framework and its sister projects:

IRC channel:

  • Server :
  • Port : 6667, 6697 (SSL only)
  • Channel : #kivy-dev


Kivy for iOS is released under the terms of the MIT License. Please refer to the LICENSE file.

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