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Create a package for IOS

New in version 1.2.0.


This process is still under development.

The overall process for creating a package for IOS can be explained in 4 steps:

  1. Compile python + modules for IOS
  2. Create an Xcode project
  3. Populate the Xcode project with your application source code
  4. Customize

This process has been tested with Xcode 4.2.


You need to install some dependencies, like cython or mercurial. If you’re using Xcode 4.3, then you also need to install autotools. We encourage you to use Homebrew to install thoses dependencies:

brew install autoconf automake libtool pkg-config mercurial
brew link libtool
brew link mercurial
sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install cython

For more detail, see IOS Prerequisites. Just ensure that everything is ok before starting the second step!

Compile the distribution

Open a terminal, and type:

$ git clone git://github.com/kivy/kivy-ios
$ cd kivy-ios
$ tools/build-all.sh

If you don’t want to compile all the things needed for kivy, edit and change tools/build-all.sh to your needs.

Most of the python distribution will be packed into a python27.zip.

Create an Xcode project

Before proceeding to the next step, ensure your application entry point is a file named main.py.

We provide a script that creates an initial Xcode project to start with. In the command line below, replace test with your project name. It must be a name without any spaces or illegal characters:

$ tools/create-xcode-project.sh test /path/to/your/appdir

Now you can open the Xcode project:

$ open app-test/test.xcodeproj


You can customize the build in many ways:

  1. Minimize the build/python/lib/python27.zip: this contains all the python modules. You can edit the zip file and remove all the files you’ll not use (reduce encodings, remove xml, email...)
  2. Remove the .a not used: in Xcode, select your target, go in Build Phases, then check the Link Binary With Libraries. You can remove the libraries not used by your application.
  3. Change the icon, orientation, etc... According to the Apple policy :)
  4. Go to the settings panel > build, search for “strip” options, and triple-check that they are all set to NO. Stripping does not work with Python dynamic modules and will remove needed symbols.
  5. Indicate a launch image in portrait/landscape for iPad with and without retina display.

Known issues

Currently, the project has a few known issues (we’ll fix these in future versions):

  • You can’t export your project outside the kivy-ios directory because the libraries included in the project are relative to it.
  • Removing some libraries (like SDL_Mixer for audio) is currently not possible because the kivy project requires it.
  • And more, just too technical to be written here.


Application quit abnormally!

By default, all the print statements to the console and files are ignored. If you have an issue when running your application, you can activate the log by commenting out this line in main.m:


Then you should see all the Kivy logging on the Xcode console.

How can Apple accept a python app ?

We managed to merge the app binary with all the libraries into a single binary, called libpython. This means all binary modules are loaded beforehand, so nothing is dynamically loaded.

Have you already submited a Kivy application to the App store ?

Yes, check:

For a more complete list, visit the Kivy wiki.