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Install and debug iPhone apps from the command line, without using Xcode
branch: master

This branch is 112 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 8.1
  • You need to have a valid iOS development certificate installed.
  • Xcode 6.1 should be installed


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


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) 
  -1, --bundle_id <bundle id>  specify bundle id for list and upload
  -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
  -V, --version                print the executable version 


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


  • The included represents the minimum required to get code running on iOS.
  • make install will install to the device.
  • make debug will install and launch a GDB 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.

Listing Device Ids

Device Ids are the UDIDs of the iOS devices. From the command line, you can list device ids this way:

    system_profiler SPUSBDataType | sed -n -e '/iPod/,/Serial/p' | sed -n -e '/iPad/,/Serial/p' -e '/iPhone/,/Serial/p' | grep "Serial Number:" | awk -F ": " '{print $2}'
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