Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Running XCode projects on a device without a developer account in XCode 7

June 19th, 2015

One of the announcements at WWDC 2015 was that developers would be able to test apps on devices without a paid Apple developer account in XCode 7. I was just about to drop $99 on a developer account so I could test a personal project on my devices. So, I decided to dig in and figure out how to do this.


  • You can’t do this if you have any developer accounts in XCode. This makes sense, really. If you have a developer account, then you can already test your projects on a device and you don’t need to do this.
  • If you follow the steps below, your accounts will change across ALL versions of XCode on your Mac. So, if you need to keep your developer accounts in XCode 6, do NOT follow these steps.

Now that you’ve been properly warned about the ramifications, let’s get started…

Step 1: Download XCode 7 beta. Please note that XCode  7 beta is still pretty rough and you may need to go back to XCode 6 for certain things.

Step 2: Remove any developer accounts in Xcode. Open XCode Preferences and go to the accounts tab. You can’t have any accounts in here that are connected to any Apple Developer accounts. This means that you can’t have a paid developer account, but it also means that your Apple ID can’t be part of any free developer accounts (like Safari development). If there are any developer accounts in here, you need to delete them. The easiest thing to do is simply delete ALL of the accounts listed in here, then add them back in later as needed.

Notice how the Apple ID I’m using says “Free” under the iOS and Mac headings:

Step 3: Open an Xcode project and connect your device to your Mac.

Step 4: Check your project build settings. Choose your project target in your XCode project settings and go to the Build Settings tab. Make sure that your Code Signing is set to iOS Developer and your Provisioning Profile is set to automatic.

Step 5:  set target device in XCode as shown:

Step 6: Run the app from Xcode

Step 7: Choose the account you want to use. If you deleted all of your accounts in step 2, you will be prompted to sign in with an Apple ID. Again, you must use an Apple ID that is not tied to a developer account.

Step 8: Apple may prompt you to fix issues with your certificate or provisioning profile. If this happens, click the “fix issue” button and let Xcode handle it for you.

If this process fails for any reason, here are some other things you can do:

  • Open Keychain Access on your Mac and delete any development certificates in here. I had some old, expired certificates in my keychain and deleting them cleared up some problems.
  • Go back to XCode preferences and check that the Apple ID you used is not connected to any developer accounts
  • Worst case scenario: remove all accounts from Xcode preferences and create a brand new Apple ID with a new email address. This should force XCode to use a free account.

Just like any normal Xcode provisioning, it sometimes takes a little fiddling around to get it working. If you find any other tips, leave them in the comments.

Good Luck!

SOLVED: Attributed Placeholder UITextField Bug in iOS7

September 16th, 2014

I was creating some custom UI components for an iOS project the other day and I ran into a weird bug. I was subclassing UITextField so I could auto-style all the UITextViews throughout the app (Yes, I know that an iOS purist would tell me to create a UITextField category because overriding UI components is considered “bad,” but I don’t care). I was trying to change the color of the placeholder text in a UITextField using this code:

self.attributedPlaceholder = [[NSAttributedString alloc] initWithString:self.placeholder attributes:@{ NSForegroundColorAttributeName : [UIColor whiteColor] }];

This was working fine for a while, then it randomly started throwing compiler errors. Sometimes, it would compile. Other times, it would not. I commented out the code and moved on, but it was bugging me. After Googling around a little, I found a suggestion to add a check for iOS6, since attributed placeholder text only works in iOS7:

if ([self respondsToSelector:@selector(setAttributedPlaceholder:)]) {
    self.attributedPlaceholder = [[NSAttributedString alloc] initWithString:self.placeholder attributes:@{ NSForegroundColorAttributeName : [UIColor whiteColor] }];
} else {
    NSLog(@"Cannot set placeholder text's color, because deployment target is earlier than iOS 6.0");
    // TODO: Add fall-back code to set placeholder color.

My project target was iOS7 only, so this really shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. After adding the iOS6 check, the compiler errors stopped. I’m sure there is a logical explanation, like I’m allowing an old ARM architecture in my build settings or something.

The really strange part is that the code works perfectly – the placeholder text color gets set correctly every time in my iOS7 app. It just needs the version check for the compiler to play nice.

Creating a simple iOS game – Bouncing Babies

March 14th, 2013

The first post in my iOS game development series

I like to create games that use interesting gameplay mechanics – things I’ve never seen before, or an interesting twist on a classic game. The problem is that new mechanics are difficult to code. If you want to make something standard, like a Super Mario clone, it’s easy to find a game engine that will do most of the work for you. But new mechanics often require modifying a game engine, or even creating one from scratch. This can be time consuming and frustrating.

I’ve been working on a conceptual game prototype for a while now and it has me pulling my hair out at the moment. To make matters worse, this is a “stripped down” version of a larger game that I want to create. I thought this light version of my concept would be easier to code, but it has turned out to be pretty complex too.

In the meantime, I’m interested in creating a game for iOS. So, I’ve decided to create a very simple game from scratch and blog about the entire process. I’ve never created anything for iOS, so I will have a lot to learn. I also plan to post all of my progress publicly on github, so anyone who wants to follow along can pull my code and see what I’m doing. Since this is a learning process, there will likely be a lot of bad code and blind alleys. And since I have a day job and a family, progress is likely to be slow.

With these constraints in mind, I’ve decided not to design my own game entirely from scratch because I will inevitably add some seemingly simple gameplay element that will derail the entire process. Instead, I’ve decided to remake a classic DOS game from back in the day…

Bouncing Babies was a deceptively simple arcade game that I used to play on my first PC – a Tandy 1000 (yes, I’m old). Here’s a video of the game:

Like all classic action arcade games, the gameplay is simple, but it’s surprisingly addictive. It was one of my favorite games when I was a kid and there are few good remakes of it. Considering my time constraints, this is a project that I might actually be able to finish in a reasonable time period. Additionally, the game code shouldn’t be too complex, so development shouldn’t require any weird hackery (famous last words). I can still do a full redesign of the graphics and animation, but the gameplay will be the same.

So, stay tuned for more updates as I dive into this. This whole project may go down in flames, but I promise it will be an interesting ride.

Here’s a link to the github repo I will be using:

How To Use Firebug to Fine-Tune Mobile Website CSS

February 28th, 2013

If you are doing front-end web development, you likely use Firebug. It’s a Firefox browser extension that provides all the basic tools you need to debug a website. Development tools in all of the modern browsers are based on the gold standard set by Firebug.

One of the most common uses of Firebug is to make changes to your CSS in real time. You can experiment with different styles until your layout looks right, then simply cut and paste everything into your stylesheet.

This works great for desktop browsers, but mobile browsers don’t have development tools. If you want to debug your mobile layout, you need another browser extension that allows you to switch the user agent. There are a number of good ones out there. I’m currently using User Agent RG for Firefox. Once this extension is installed, you can change the user agent string by going to the “Tools” menu and choosing “User Agent.” Simply choose a mobile device and you can get an idea of what your site looks like on a mobile device.

It’s important to understand what the user agent switcher does (and doesn’t do). What it does is tell the browser the type of device that you are using to browse the web. The Firefox plugin basically lies and says “I am using an iPhone” (or whatever). If you have a mobile version of the website, that version will be displayed.

What it does NOT do is make Firefox act like Mobile Safari, or any other browser. If there are browser-specific layout issues, you will not be able to see them with the user agent switcher. Luckily, mobile device browsers are fairly standards-compliant, so very few CSS issues are browser-related. Browser-specific issues like HTML5 video issues (*cough* Mobile Safari *cough*) still need to be debugged with that browser.

The other thing that user agent switching doesn’t do is resize your site to mobile browser dimensions. To get an accurate sense of how your site looks on a phone or tablet, you will probably need set a body width in your CSS:

body {
    width: 320px; /*older iphone width*/

This way, you can lock it to the dimensions of the device you want to test and tweak the CSS with Firebug to fix any layout problems.

This has been the quickest and easiest way I have found to fix mobile-specific layout issues. Good luck!