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This plugin provides a few utilities that can help you on your daily use of Xcode and iOS development.

To start using it, add the xcode plugin to your plugins array in ~/.zshrc:

plugins=(... xcode)


Alias Description Command
xcb Build Xcode projects and workspaces xcodebuild
xcdd Purge all temporary build information rm -rf ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData/*
xcp Show currently selected Xcode directory xcode-select --print-path
xcsel Select different Xcode directory by path sudo xcode-select --switch



Opens the current directory in Xcode as an Xcode project. This will open one of the .xcworkspace and .xcodeproj files that it can find in the current working directory. Returns 1 if it didn't find any relevant files.


Opens the iOS Simulator from your command line, dependent on whichever is the active developer directory for Xcode. (That is, it respects the xcsel setting.)


Selects different Xcode installations by version name. This is like xcsel, except it takes just a version name as an argument instead of the full path to the Xcode installation. Uses the naming conventions described below.

  • xcselv <version> selects a version
    • Example: xcselv 6.2
  • xcselv default selects the default unversioned Applications/
  • xcselv with no argument lists the available Xcode versions in a human-readable format
  • xcselv -l lists the installed Xcode versions
  • xcselv -L lists the installed Xcode versions in a short version-name-only format
  • xcselv -p prints info about the active Xcode version
  • xcselv -h prints a help message

The option parsing for xcselv is naive. Options may not be combined, and only the first option is recognized.

Multiple Xcode Versions

The xcselv command provides support for switching between different Xcode installations using just a version number. Different Xcode versions are identified by file naming conventions.

Versioned Xcode Naming Conventions

Apple does not seem to explicitly define or provide tooling support for a naming convention or other organizational mechanism for managing versioned Xcode installations. Apple seems to have released beta versions with both Xcode<version>.app and Xcode-<version>.app style names in the past, and both styles show up in forum and blog discussions.

We've adopted the following naming convention:

  • Versioned Xcode installations are identified by the name Xcode-<version> or Xcode<version>.
  • The - separating "Xcode" and the version name is optional, and may be replaced by a space.
  • The versioned name may be applied to the itself, or a subdirectory underneath Applications/ containing it.
  • You cannot version both the filename itself and the containing subfolder.
  • Thus, all of the following are equivalent.
    • Applications/Xcode-<version>.app
    • Applications/Xcode-<version>/
    • Applications/Xcode<version>.app
    • Applications/Xcode <version>.app
    • Applications/Xcode <version>/
  • Both the system /Applications/ and user $HOME/Applications/ directories are searched.
    • The user's $HOME/Applications/ takes precedence over /Applications for a given version.
    • If multiple naming variants within the same Applications/ folder indicate the same version (for example,,, and Xcode-3.2.1/, the precedence order is unspecified and implementation-dependent.
  • The <version> may be any string that is valid in a filename.
  • The special version name "default" refers to the "default" unversioned Xcode at Applications/ (in either /Applications/ or $HOME/Applications/).
  • Version names may not start with "-" or whitespace.

The restrictions on the naming convention may need to be tightened in the future. In particular, if there are other well-known applications whose names begin with the string "Xcode", the strings allowed for <version> may need to be restricted to avoid colliding with other applications. If there's evidence that one of these naming techniques is strongly favored either in practice or by Apple, we may tighten the naming convention to favor it.


Using xcsel or xcselv to select an Xcode that is installed under your $HOME may break things for other users, depending on your system setup. We let you do this anyway because some people run OS X as effectively single-user, or have open permissions so this will work. You could also use $DEVELOPER_DIR as an alternative to xcsel that is scoped to the current user or session, instead of a global setting.

This does not verify that the version name in the Xcode filename matches the actual version of that binary. It is the user's responsibility to get the names right.

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