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let’s dev Blog | Simplified testing of iOS push notifications in the simulator with Xcode 11.4
by Manuel
26. Februar 2020

Simplified testing of iOS push notifications in the simulator with Xcode 11.4

Xcode 11.4 is here and it makes life easier for us developers. Apple's in-house development environment gets another minor update, making testing push notifications much easier (Release Notes Xcode 11.4).

Almost every iOS app developer comes into contact with the topic of push notifications at some point. Often, testing push notifications involved a lot of effort. This is changing with the new Xcode version and in this post we will show you how to use the new feature.

Setup

From now on it is possible to test push notifications in the simulator via drag and drop. Nothing has to be changed in the code itself. All that is needed is a valid APNs file (.apns). This file must contain a valid Payload

The payload must be slightly customized to be tested on the simulator. On the top level of the JSON payload the key: "Simulator Target Bundle" is needed. As value this gets the bundle identifier of the app as string value.

”Simulator Target Bundle": “de.letsdev.push.Example”

The payload is otherwise no different from other APNs files.

{
    "Simulator Target Bundle": "de.letsdev.push.Example",
    "aps":{
        "alert":"Simulator Test Push Notification",
        "sound":"default",
        "badge":1
    }
}

Testing

The payload is now stored in an .apns file. If the corresponding app is installed on a simulator and registered correctly for push notifications, the file can be dragged and dropped into the simulator. The push notification will then be displayed in the simulator. By modifying the file, all possible push notifications can be tested. Furthermore it is possible to test the workflow of the app when a notification arrives, without always having to send a real notification. This is a real relief for developers.

Console

If you want to automate the whole thing, you can also trigger the push notifications via the console.

# xcrun simctl push DEVICE_IDENTIFIER BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER FILENAME.apns
$ xcrun simctl push 5b78afce-49b9-11ea-b77f-2e728ce88125 de.letsdev.push.Example pushTest.apns
            

In addition, the identifier of the simulator to which you want to send the push notification is required. The identifier can be found in Xcode in the "Devices and Simulators" window.

Control Room

A recommendation for anyone who works a lot with the simulator is Control Room, a GitHub project by Paul Hudson. In the Mac application, a push notification can be sent at the push of a button. But Control Room can do much more. Numerous settings can be adjusted here (system, battery level, appearance). The application also allows you to put a simulator in different states (position, internet connection) and thus test applications in all conceivable situations.

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