7. How to create an IPA file without a Mac for testing purposes on an Apple Device

In this section of the tutorial, you are going to learn how to effectively build your app to retrieve the IPA file for testing purposes on physical apple devices.


An IPA file contains an iOS app. It is a file that can be installed on iOS devices and used as an application. It is comparable to an Android APK.

Adding your device to Apple Developer

IPA files can be used for testing purposes only if the physical devices on which you want to test them are added to the Apple Developer Devices.

To register a new device, visit https://developer.apple.com/account/resources/devices/list and add a new device.

You will need the UDID of the apple device on which you want to install your app. You can get the UDID by browsing to udid.tech with your apple device. Or you can get your UDID directly from itunes when your device is plugged in.

Once your device has been registered we can start building the IPA.

Building the IPA

You can use the command appollo build start but this time the build type is going to be ad-hoc.

Appollo build start build type ad-hoc

Your build is being created. Grab a coffee, it can take a few minutes.


The previously used build type configuration for the XCode configuration does not generate an IPA file.


If you add --help you will see all the different options you have to configure your build. For example, you can choose the build version.

Appollo build start --help


If you closed your terminal while your app was building you can always check the status with appollo build detail and selecting your last build in the list.

Builds do not stop if the appollo build start command is killed.

Appollo build detail output

Your build can have different status, here they are in order:

  1. Created: Your build was created but the remote instance has not started yet

  2. In progress:

  1. Starting instance: The Appollo-Remote instance is booting up

  2. Preparing build: Loading the different certificates

  3. Building: Your app is being created

  4. Getting build result: The patch is created as well as the IPA file

  5. Publishing: Sending app on the app store

  1. Succeeded

When your build has succeeded, you can use the command appollo build ipa

Appollo build ipa

You will be given a URL. If you use it in a browser, it will download the file.

You can also send the URL to a registered device of your Apple developer account to download the app, for example by e-mail. When clicking this link directly from your Apple device a prompt will be shown to install the application on your device.

Myapp on iphone

And that is how you can build your app for testing purposes on physical devices.


To register a new device, visit https://developer.apple.com/account/resources/devices/list.


For the device to be used, it must be registered before you make the build. Otherwise, you will not be able to install the app.