frozen47 / ios-cmake

A blank iOS app build system written in CMake. Includes building a dynamically linked C++ framework and bundling it into the app.

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CMake Build Configuration for iOS

This is a blank single-view-controller iOS app, C++ dynamically linked framework and example tests which use CMake to create an Xcode-friendly out-of-source build system. Instead of configuring the build system through an .xcodeproj file, you instead maintain a set of CMakeLists.txt files describing the build system.

This CMake project can do everything Xcode can; eg build the executable app & the C++ library in cppframework. The build systems, generated into build.ios build.sim build.sim64 Xcode are gitignored. CMakeLists.txt files are the only build configuration kept in source control. This is in contrast to committing the .xcodeproj directory which includes the backing XML, which is nonsensically hard to edit by hand.

The app instantiates a C++ object from the dynamically linked framework and calls a function on it. It subsequently deletes the C++ object pointer.

The test instantiates ObjC object of class CppInterface from the app and checks that it exists.

What can this do for me?

  • Conveniently use external C/C++/Objective-C libraries built with CMake in your app. Just clone the library and add an add_subdirectory to build that dependent library according to it's own build system, but directly as a target in your app's build system.
  • Remove sections of code from your exectuable and instead load it just-in-time as a dynamically linked embedded framework.
    • You can decrease the size of your executable (and thus how much data must be loaded into memory when your app starts) by bundling subsections of the code up and packaging it as an embedded framework. This won't decrease your IPA size (since the framework must still be embedded) but it will make your executable smaller, and therefore quicker to start. If a user never runs the dynamically linked code, it stays out of memory. The sample framework code contains a C++ hello world but it could be C/C++/Objective-C.
  • Stop dealing with and checking into source control pesky .xcodeproj and .xcworkspace directories. The scripts are designed to regenerate your build system frequently.

To Use:

  • Open CMakeLists.txt
    • Set lines 3-15 with values for your project
    • NOTE: the build ./ will fail if you don't have provisioning profiles for the current bundle identifier. It uses the set(CODESIGNIDENTITY "iPhone Developer") identity to use the default certificate for the current bundle identifier.
  • Requires CMake version 3.7

Create Xcode project for Devices (armv7, armv7s, arm64) and Simulators (i386, x86_64)

  • Run to create Xcode project in Xcode
  • Run open Xcode/project.xcodeproj

Create & build Xcode project for Devices (armv7, armv7s, arm64)

  • Run to generate the build system in build.ios/
  • Run open build.ios/project.xcodeproj

Create & build Xcode project for Simulator 32-bit (i386)

  • Run to build the build system in build.sim/
  • Run open build.sim/project.xcodeproj

Create & build Xcode project for Simulator 64-bit (x86_64)

  • Run
  • Run open build.sim64/project.xcodeproj


  • The app target builds to iPhone device family. To build an iPhone/iPad target, change the value of DEVICE_FAMILY on line 14 of CMakeLists.txt to "1,2"


  • Builds a dynamically linked iOS framework for the architectures relevant to the platform
  • Sets the install name and rpath to the correct values for iOS packaging
  • Copies the framework into the bundle of the app build as a post packaging step
  • The same process can be done to any dynamically linked framework on disk


A blank iOS app build system written in CMake. Includes building a dynamically linked C++ framework and bundling it into the app.

License:MIT License


Language:CMake 80.8%Language:Objective-C 13.0%Language:Shell 2.7%Language:C++ 2.1%Language:Objective-C++ 1.3%