Get Started with iOS

The App Center SDK uses a modular architecture so you can use any or all of the services.

You can find information about data collected by App Center on Data Collected by App Center SDKs, General Data Protection Regulation, and FAQ pages. Also, FAQ contains the answers, which you need to provide for App Store privacy configuration.

Let's get started with setting up App Center iOS SDK in your app to use App Center Analytics and App Center Crashes. To add App Center Distribute to your app, look at the documentation for App Center Distribute.

1. Prerequisites

The following requirements must be met to use App Center SDK:

  • Your iOS project is set up in Xcode 11 or later on macOS version 10.14.4 or later.
  • You're targeting devices running on iOS 9.0 or later.
  • You're not using any other library that provides Crash Reporting functionality (only for App Center Crashes).
  • If you are using CocoaPods to integrate App Center, you need CocoaPods version 1.10 or later.

App Center SDK Analytics and Crashes are compatible with Mac Catalyst via XCFramework or SwiftPM.

2. Create your app in the App Center Portal to obtain the App Secret

If you've already created your app in the App Center portal, you can skip this step.

  1. Head over to appcenter.ms.
  2. Sign up or log in and hit the blue button on the top-right corner of the portal that says Add new and select Add new app from the dropdown menu.
  3. Enter a name and an optional description for your app.
  4. Select iOS as the OS and Objective-C/Swift as a platform.
  5. Hit the button at the bottom right that says Add new app.

Once you've created an app, you can obtain its App Secret on the Settings page on the App Center Portal. At the top right-hand corner of the Settings page, click on the triple vertical dots and select Copy app secret to get your App Secret.

3. Add the App Center SDK modules

The App Center SDK for iOS can be added to your app via Cocoapods, Carthage, Swift Package Manager, or by manually adding the binaries to your project.

Note

In the 4.0.0 version of App Center breaking changes were introduced. Follow the Migrate to App Center SDK 4.0.0 and higher section to migrate App Center from previous versions.

3.1 Integration via Cocoapods

Note

ARM64 Simulators (when launched from Xcode running on Apple Silicon Mac) aren't supported via CocoaPods, consider using other integration methods for it to work.

  1. Add the following dependencies to your podfile to include App Center Analytics and App Center Crashes into your app. This action pulls in the following frameworks: AppCenter, AppCenterAnalytics, and AppCenterCrashes. Instead, you can specify services you want in your app. Each service has its own subspec and they all rely on AppCenter. It will get pulled in automatically.

     # Use the following line to use App Center Analytics and Crashes.x
     pod 'AppCenter'
    
     # Use the following lines if you want to specify which service you want to use.
     pod 'AppCenter/Analytics'
     pod 'AppCenter/Crashes'
     pod 'AppCenter/Distribute'
    
  2. Run pod install to install your newly defined pod and open the project's .xcworkspace.

Note

If you see an error like [!] Unable to find a specification for `AppCenter` while running pod install, run pod repo update to get the latest pods from the Cocoapods repository and then run pod install.

Now that you've integrated the frameworks in your application, it's time to start the SDK and make use of the App Center services.

3.2 Integration via Carthage

Below are the steps on how to integrate the App Center SDK in your Xcode project using Carthage version 0.30 or higher, a decentralized dependency manager that builds your dependencies and provides you with binary frameworks.

Note

Carthage integration doesn't work out of box in Xcode 12. To make it work, refer to this Carthage instruction

  1. Add the following dependencies to your Cartfile to include App Center. These dependencies pull in all the frameworks. Then you can link only those frameworks that you want to use in your app.

    # Use the following line to get the latest version of App Center
    github "microsoft/appcenter-sdk-apple"
    
    # Use the following line to get the specific version of App Center
    github "microsoft/appcenter-sdk-apple" ~> X.X.X
    
  2. Run carthage update to fetch dependencies into a Carthage/Checkouts folder. Then build each framework.

  3. Open your application target's General settings tab. Drag and drop AppCenter.framework, AppCenterAnalytics.framework, and AppCenterCrashes.framework files from the Carthage/Build/iOS folder into Xcode's Project Navigator. The AppCenter.framework is required to start the SDK. If it isn't added to the project, the other modules won't work and your app won't compile.

  4. A dialog will appear, make sure your app target is checked. Then click Finish.

    Note

    If you use carthage copy-frameworks in your Build Phase you shouldn't add the App Center SDKs there, as they're shipped as static frameworks.

Now that you've integrated the frameworks in your application, it's time to start the SDK and make use of the App Center services.

3.3 Integration via Swift Package Manager

  1. From the Xcode menu click File > Swift Packages > Add Package Dependency.
  2. In the dialog that appears, enter the repository URL: https://github.com/microsoft/appcenter-sdk-apple.git.
  3. In Version, select Up to Next Major and take the default option.
  4. Choose the modules you need in the Package Product column.

Now that you've integrated the frameworks in your application, it's time to start the SDK and make use of the App Center services.

Note

If you're integrating App Center via SwiftPM and want to use it in your app's extension target as well, make sure that you provide DISABLE_DIAMOND_PROBLEM_DIAGNOSTIC=YES in your configuration. This is necessary to avoid SwiftPM limitations in linking a module to multiple targets.

3.4 Integration by copying the binaries into your project

Below are the steps on how to integrate the compiled binaries in your Xcode project to set up App Center Analytics and App Center Crashes for your iOS app.

Note

App Center SDK supports the use of XCframework. If you want to integrate XCframeworks into your project, download the AppCenter-SDK-Apple-XCFramework.zip from the releases page and unzip it. Resulting folder contents aren't platform-specific, instead it contains XCframeworks for each module. They can be integrated the same way as usual frameworks, as described below.

  1. Download the App Center SDK frameworks provided as a zip file.

  2. Unzip the file and you'll see a folder called AppCenter-SDK-Apple that contains different frameworks for each App Center service on each platform folder. The framework called AppCenter is required in the project as it contains code that's shared between the different modules.

  3. [Optional] Create a subdirectory for 3rd-party libraries.

    • As a best practice, 3rd-party libraries are usually in a subdirectory, often called Vendor. If the project isn't organized with a subdirectory for libraries, create a Vendor subdirectory now.
    • Create a group called Vendor inside your Xcode project to mimic your file structure on disk.
  4. Open the unzipped AppCenter-SDK-Apple folder in Finder and copy the folder into your project's folder at the location where you want it. The folder contains frameworks in subfolders for other platforms that App Center SDK supports, so you might need to delete subfolders that you don't need.

  5. Add the SDK frameworks to the project in Xcode:

    • Make sure the Project Navigator is visible (⌘+1).
    • Now drag & drop AppCenter.framework, AppCenterAnalytics.framework, and AppCenterCrashes.framework from the Finder (in the location from the previous step) into Xcode's Project Navigator. The AppCenter.framework is required to start the SDK. If it isn't added to the project, the other modules won't work and your app won't compile.
    • A dialog will appear, make sure your app target is checked. Then click Finish.

Now that you've integrated the frameworks in your application, it's time to start the SDK and make use of the App Center services.

4. Start the SDK

To use App Center, opt in to the module(s) that you want to use. By default, no modules are started and you must call each one when starting the SDK.

The instructions below are slightly different depending on what lifecycle you're using. Starting from Xcode 12 you can select one of two lifecycles: "Swift UI App" (selected by default in Xcode 12) and "UI Kit AppDelegate". If you're using Xcode 11 or lower, then you're using UI Kit AppDelegate lifecycle. If you're developing for an extension, refer to the Extension getting started page.

4.1 Add the import statements

Open the project's AppDelegate file (for UI Kit AppDelegate lifecycle) or App.swift file (for Swift UI App lifecycle) and add the following import statements:

@import AppCenter;
@import AppCenterAnalytics;
@import AppCenterCrashes;
import AppCenter
import AppCenterAnalytics
import AppCenterCrashes

4.2 Add the start:withServices: method

UI Kit AppDelegate

Add initialization code into didFinishLaunchingWithOptions delegate method.

Swift UI App lifecycle

Create init() method into struct and add initialization code in it.

Use this code into methods described before, to start SDK:

[MSACAppCenter start:@"{Your App Secret}" withServices:@[[MSACAnalytics class], [MSACCrashes class]]];
AppCenter.start(withAppSecret: "{Your App Secret}", services: [Analytics.self, Crashes.self])

If you have a Catalyst application, you can pass app secrets for both iOS and macOS at the same time:

[MSACAppCenter start:@"ios={Your iOS App Secret};macos={Your macOS App Secret}" withServices:@[[MSACAnalytics class], [MSACCrashes class]]];
AppCenter.start(withAppSecret:"ios={Your iOS App Secret};macos={Your macOS App Secret}", services: [Analytics.self, Crashes.self])

If you need to start App Center services separately, you should:

  1. Configure or start it with the App Secret.
  2. If the code can be called multiple times, check if the App Center is already configured.
  3. Start the required service(s) without the App Secret.
[MSACAppCenter configureWithAppSecret:@"{Your App Secret}"];
if ([MSACAppCenter isConfigured]) {
   [MSACAppCenter startService:[MSACAnalytics class]];
   [MSACAppCenter startService:[MSACCrashes class]];
}
AppCenter.configure(withAppSecret: "{Your App Secret}")
if AppCenter.isConfigured {
    AppCenter.startService(Analytics.self)
    AppCenter.startService(Crashes.self)
}

4.3 Replace the placeholder with your App Secret

Make sure to replace {Your App Secret} text with the actual value for your application. The App Secret can be found on the Getting Started page or Settings page on the App Center portal.

The Getting Started page contains the above code sample with your App Secret in it, you can copy-paste the whole sample.

The example above shows how to use the start:withServices (start(withAppSecret:services:) for Swift) method and include both App Center Analytics and App Center Crashes.

If you don't want to use one of the two services, remove the corresponding parameter from the method call above.

Unless you explicitly specify each module as a parameter in the start method, you can't use that App Center service. Also, the start:withServices (start(withAppSecret:services:) for Swift) API can be used only once in the lifecycle of your app – all other calls will log a warning to the console and only the modules included in the first call will be available.

For example - If you want to onboard to App Center Analytics, you should modify the start:withServices (start(withAppSecret:services:) for Swift) API call as follows:

[MSACAppCenter start:@"{Your App Secret}" withServices:@[[MSACAnalytics class]]];
AppCenter.start(withAppSecret: "{Your App Secret}", services: [Analytics.self])

Great, you're all set to visualize Analytics and Crashes data on the portal that the SDK collects automatically.

Look at the App Center Analytics docs and App Center Crashes docs to learn how to customize and use more advanced functionalities of both services.

To learn how to get started with in-app updates, read the documentation of App Center Distribute.

To learn how to get started with Push, read the documentation of App Center Push.