Making Sense Of iOS Provisioning

If you’re new to iOS development, whether you are using Xamarin, native, or another platform, you will want to debug and develop on an actual iOS device.  In addition, you probably want to deploy alpha or beta versions of your app to testers running on various iOS devices in real world scenarios.  If you’re developing for Android, this process is really easy as the Android operating system allows users to easily side load applications.  However, the opposite is true for iOS devices.  In fact, setting up an iPhone or iPad for development can be very frustrating and confusing, especially if you’re new to iOS development.


Debugging my app on an iPhone or iPad should be easy…right??


Xamarin and Apple both have excellent documentation on how to properly provision an iOS device for debugging, and testing.  Though it is really easy to follow the step-by-step procedures on creating the proper provisioning profiles, what I find lacking in such documentation is how provisioning works.  In this article, I’m not going to explain how to create provision profiles.  There’s plenty of documentation out there.  I’m going to explain how provisioning profiles work, and why the iOS operating system needs them.  A solid understanding is necessary if you run into any issues or errors such as “No valid iOS code signing keys found in keychain”, or “Code Sign error: Provisioning Profile ‘xxxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxx’ can’t be found”.