Command-line application launcher for the iOS Simulator
Objective-C Ruby
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Supports Xcode 6 only since version 3.x.

The ios-sim tool is a command-line utility that launches an iOS application on the iOS Simulator. This allows for niceties such as automated testing without having to open Xcode.


  • Choose the device family to simulate, i.e. iPhone or iPad. Run using "showdevicetypes" option to see available device types, and pass it in as the "devicetypeid" parameter.
  • Setup environment variables.
  • Pass arguments to the application.
  • See the stdout and stderr, or redirect them to files.

See the --help option for more info.


Usage: ios-sim <command> <options> [--args ...]

  showsdks                        List the available iOS SDK versions
  showdevicetypes                 List the available device types (Xcode6+)
  launch <application path>       Launch the application at the specified path on the iOS Simulator
  start                           Launch iOS Simulator without an app

  --version                       Print the version of ios-sim
  --help                          Show this help text
  --verbose                       Set the output level to verbose
  --exit                          Exit after startup
  --debug                         Attach LLDB to the application on startup
  --use-gdb                       Use GDB instead of LLDB. (Requires --debug)
  --uuid <uuid>                   A UUID identifying the session (is that correct?)
  --env <environment file path>   A plist file containing environment key-value pairs that should be set
  --setenv NAME=VALUE             Set an environment variable
  --stdout <stdout file path>     The path where stdout of the simulator will be redirected to (defaults to stdout of ios-sim)
  --stderr <stderr file path>     The path where stderr of the simulator will be redirected to (defaults to stderr of ios-sim)
  --timeout <seconds>             The timeout time to wait for a response from the Simulator. Default value: 30 seconds
  --args <...>                    All following arguments will be passed on to the application
  --devicetypeid <device type>    The id of the device type that should be simulated (Xcode6+). Use 'showdevicetypes' to list devices.
                                  e.g ", 8.0"
DEPRECATED in 3.x, use devicetypeid instead:
  --sdk <sdkversion>              The iOS SDK version to run the application on (defaults to the latest)
  --family <device family>        The device type that should be simulated (defaults to `iphone')
  --retina                        Start a retina device
  --tall                          In combination with --retina flag, start the tall version of the retina device (e.g. iPhone 5 (4-inch))
  --64bit                         In combination with --retina flag and the --tall flag, start the 64bit version of the tall retina device (e.g. iPhone 5S (4-inch 64bit))


With node.js (at least 0.10.20):

$ npm install ios-sim -g

Download an archive:

$ curl -L -o
$ unzip

Or from a git clone:

$ git clone git://

Then build and install from the source root:

$ rake install prefix=/usr/local/


Make sure you enable Developer Mode on your machine:

$ DevToolsSecurity -enable

Make sure multiple instances of launchd_sim are not running:

$ sudo ps -A | grep -e "launchd_sim" -e "simulator" -i | grep -v grep | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill -9

This kills three types of processes:

  1. xcode-select --print-path/Applications/iOS process
  2. service
  3. xcode-select --print-path/Platforms/iPhoneSimulator.platform/Developer/SDKs/iPhoneSimulator.sdk processes


When you want to release a version, do:

$ rake version:bump v=NEW_VERSION
$ rake release
$ npm version NEW_VERSION -m "Updated to npm version %s"


To get ios-sim to launch correctly within tmux use the reattach-to-user-namespace wrapper.

reattach-to-user-namespace ios-sim launch ./build/


brew: brew install reattach-to-user-namespace


Original author: Landon Fuller Copyright (c) 2008-2011 Plausible Labs Cooperative, Inc. All rights reserved.

This project is available under the MIT license. See LICENSE.