September 30, 2014

Beta iOS App Icons

On custom app icons for Beta/Debug builds.

If you're constantly switching between Debug, Adhoc/Beta, and Release builds of your app, it can be very helpful to have unique app icons for each configuration. You can easily tell at a glance which version is installed, your beta testers send you better feedback, a lasting world peace takes hold — everyone wins! Best of all, with Xcode 5+'s asset catalogs, there's no code required.

Here's how this looks in my app MUDRammer - A Modern MUD Client:

MUDRammer Debug   Debug
MUDRammer Adhoc/Beta   Adhoc/Beta
MUDRammer Release   Release

Start by adding one or two new App Icon image sets to your asset catalog: click the + in your asset catalog → New App Icon. (Your app doesn't use an asset catalog? Xcode will create one for you on your project's General tab. Go ahead, I'll wait.)

Give your new App Icon image sets some memorable names. Mine are AppIconRelease, AppIconAdhoc, and AppIconDebug.

In your application target's build settings, scroll down to Asset Catalog Compiler - Options and expand the arrow next to Asset Catalog App Icon Set Name. By default, you'll see the same App Icon set for all of your app's configurations. Now it's just a matter of assigning your App Icon set names to the proper configurations for your app.

Here's some caution tape. Be careful out there!


For bonus points, start continuously integrating your iOS app. Here's my build script!

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