Build a 5-star presence on the App Store

iOS apps can take up to 2 days to be reviewed. If there are issues with your app or other changes you need to make after the review, getting your app to users takes even longer.

App Store ratings and reviews are critical for getting your app listed in the search results and getting users to download it. To get the best reviews possible and avoid low star ratings, it’s important to catch issues and fix bugs quickly. With frequent iOS updates, it becomes even more important to continually test your application against the latest operating system updates.

Do you have trusted tools in your toolkit to ensure code quality and stable releases? This is where continuous integration tools for iOS can help.

Read our tutorial doc to learn more.

Guide: how to get started with continuous integration for iOS

  1. Sign up for CircleCI.
  2. Connect CircleCI to your version control system (GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket).
  3. Configure your builds via the .circleci/config.yml stored with your source code.
  4. Start building.

Once you get going on CircleCI, you can use workflows to parallelize your iOS builds and move faster. You’ll also find powerful features at your disposal like fast caching, and Docker and iOS in one config file.

View complete iOS tutorial

What is continuous integration for iOS?

Continuous integration (CI) is a software development strategy that increases the speed of development while ensuring the quality of the code that teams deploy. Developers continually commit code in small increments (at least daily, or even several times a day), which is then automatically built and tested before it is merged with the shared repository.

Using CI as part of your iOS development strategy is a mindset and a culture. Every element of your build and test process needs to be aligned in order to take advantage of the benefits of continuous integration.

Benefits of a continuous integration tool for iOS

The fundamental benefit of leveraging continuous integration for iOS development is that it helps you get your software to users faster. This delivers benefits to users, as well as your return on investment, sooner. You also get faster feedback on your product, allowing you to iterate and improve, and find market fit ahead of your competitors.

How does CI work for iOS?

When developers integrate smaller bits of code more often, it’s easier to find issues and fix them. This reduces the amount of time spent hunting for the root cause of a bug, allowing developers to get back to working on new code that’s delivering value.

Imagine if your developer spent 6 weeks coding a new module. At the end of the 6 weeks, they merge and test the work, and the compile returns pages of error. What’s causing the error? Is the code simply missing a variable or is there a sneaky bug hiding behind thousands of lines of code? Does your developer even remember why they coded an element a certain way?

What could have been a few minutes of work to debug now becomes hours. Sound painful? We think so, too.

The advantage of CircleCI for iOS

Continuous integration tools like CircleCI help teams avoid the pain of the “monster merge.” CircleCI also enables teams to automate their build pipelines for their iOS applications, as well as macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

CircleCI gives you control and flexibility with popular pre-installed dependencies like Fastlane, Homebrew, Node.js, and CocoaPods. You can configure iOS jobs to match your team’s app development cycle using workflows.

Run your iOS jobs on the same config as your Linux or Android projects to get faster feedback and ensure consistency across all projects — this is especially relevant for React Native users. CircleCI can monitor issues across all your repositories.

CircleCI supports multiple Xcode versions allowing your team to upgrade to the latest build image, and ensuring iOS jobs run on the version your application needs, with up-to-date dependencies.