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Install and debug iPhone apps from the command line, without using Xcode
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Pull request Compare This branch is 182 commits ahead of ghughes:master.


Install and debug iOS apps without using Xcode. Designed to work on un-jailbroken devices.


  • Mac OS X. Tested on 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8.3
  • You need to have a valid iOS Development certificate installed.
  • Xcode 6 or greater should be installed


See our milestones.

Significant changes:

1.8.0 will use an Xcode project instead of a Makefile (to prepare for 2.0.0)
2.0.0 will break out the commands into their own files, and create ios-deploy-lib for node.js use


ios-deploy installation is made simple using the node.js package manager. If you use Homebrew, install node.js:

brew install node

Now install ios-deploy with the node.js package manager:

npm install -g ios-deploy

To install from source:

make install prefix=/usr/local

This will install ios-deploy in the bin folder of /usr/local, i.e. /usr/local/bin


Usage: ios-deploy [OPTION]...
  -d, --debug                  launch the app in GDB after installation
  -i, --id <device_id>         the id of the device to connect to
  -c, --detect                 only detect if the device is connected
  -b, --bundle <>    the path to the app bundle to be installed
  -a, --args <args>            command line arguments to pass to the app when launching it
  -t, --timeout <timeout>      number of seconds to wait for a device to be connected
  -u, --unbuffered             don't buffer stdout
  -n, --nostart                do not start the app when debugging
  -I, --noninteractive         start in non interactive mode (quit when app crashes or exits)
  -L, --justlaunch             just launch the app and exit lldb
  -v, --verbose                enable verbose output
  -m, --noinstall              directly start debugging without app install (-d not required)
  -p, --port <number>          port used for device, default: 12345
  -r, --uninstall              uninstall the app before install (do not use with -m; app cache and data are cleared)
  -9, --uninstall_only         uninstall the app ONLY. Use only with -1 <bundle_id> 
  -1, --bundle_id <bundle id>  specify bundle id for list, upload, and uninstall_only
  -l, --list                   list files
  -o, --upload <file>          upload file
  -w, --download               download app tree
  -2, --to <target pathname>   use together with up/download file/tree. specify target
  -D, --mkdir <dir>            make directory on device
  -R, --rm <path>              remove file or directory on device (directories must be empty)
  -V, --version                print the executable version
  -e, --exists                 check if the app with given bundle_id is installed or not
  -B, --list_bundle_id         list bundle_id


The commands below assume that you have an app called with bundle id Substitute where necessary.

// deploy and debug your app to a connected device
ios-deploy --debug --bundle

// deploy and launch your app to a connected device, but quit the debugger after
ios-deploy --justlaunch --debug --bundle

// deploy and launch your app to a connected device, quit when app crashes or exits
ios-deploy --noninteractive --debug --bundle

// Upload a file to your app's Documents folder
ios-deploy --bundle_id '' --upload test.txt --to Documents/test.txt

// Download your app's Documents, Library and tmp folders
ios-deploy --bundle_id '' --download --to MyDestinationFolder

// List the contents of your app's Documents, Library and tmp folders
ios-deploy --bundle_id '' --list

// deploy and debug your app to a connected device, uninstall the app first
ios-deploy --uninstall --debug --bundle

// check whether an app by bundle id exists on the device (check return code `echo $?`)
ios-deploy --exists --bundle_id

// Download the Documents directory of the app *only*
ios-deploy --download=/Documents -bundle_id --to ./my_download_location

// List ids and names of connected devices
ios-deploy -c

// Uninstall an app
ios-deploy --uninstall_only --bundle_id

// list all bundle ids of all apps on your device
ios-deploy --list_bundle_id


The included represents the minimum required to get code running on iOS.

  • make will generate the executable. If it doesn't compile, modify IOS_SDK_VERSION in the Makefile.
  • make debug will install and launch a LLDB session.


  • With some modifications, it may be possible to use this without Xcode installed; however, you would need a copy of the relevant DeveloperDiskImage.dmg (included with Xcode). lldb would also run slower as symbols would be downloaded from the device on-the-fly.
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