How to run an app created by Expo on a device using Xcode?

A newbie here so bear with me

When a RN project is created "react-native init " it creates a folder called “ios” which has a .xcodeproj file. This “.xcodeproj” file can be used by Xcode IDE to run the app directly on a connected device.

When an app is created by Expo it does not create any ios specific folders or any .xcodeproj file.

So how do we run this app on a device ?.

I am aware that you can install Expo client and run the expo generated project via the expo client on an device.

  1. Does that mean your app written entirely via Expo IDE will need to have a Expo client installed on a device ?
  2. Does that mean your app written entirely via Expo IDE cannot be run via Xcode on an actual device ?

Would appreciate all help shows how you could release your app to the App Store in a way that people won’t need the Expo app to run it with. :open_mouth:

i believe what we have here is the XY problem ( – you’re asking how you can run the app via xcode on your device, which is in and of itself not a particularly useful thing to do – but i think you actually have a different goal in mind. can you describe what your end goal is?


Okay my intention is to conclusively understand that it is not possible to run the app generated by Expo via Xcode on an device.

Since this is a new platform/IDE I did want a definitive answer before assuming by myself.

hi there,

ok, i still don’t really understand why, but you can read this doc about ‘detaching’ to learn about how you can build through xcode:

ideally with expo, you don’t use xcode - just write react code and we take care of building the binary for you (as @nikki linked to above)

Appreciate your help.
I am pretty excited with Expo and let us see how things !!

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My app was developed using expo and it was submitted for review.
Apple rejected my app due to crash with logs.
I couldn’t able to find this crash issue while developing using expo.
So I tested that same IPA using testflight and found that app crash issue.

So how can i run my IPA in xcode developed using expo. So I can see my error logs in xcode.

Please help.

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Almost 2 years later and I’m looking for a similar solution…

The reason I want to run my Expo app in Xcode, is to test BackgroundFetch. There is no way to trigger BackgroundFetch on the iOS Simulator. It can only be triggered using Xcode.

Currently, BackgroundFetch is poorly documented with multiple open issues. Having to push a build to TestFlight is a torturous way of testing a feature provided by the Expo API.

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Another reason: If you build an app using the Instagram API, Instagram does a review of your app using Xcode (otherwise they assume it doesn’t work and reject it). I am right now struggling to figure out how to get them a working version of my app that they can test in order to get approved.

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