Universal Links not working on an iOS 14 device with the associated website behind a VPN

Prior to iOS 14 our Dev server was routing universal links to our test devices just fine from both Xcode and TestFlight builds. But now that we've started testing on iOS 14 devices the links aren't being handled any more.

After doing some research we noticed the new configuration regarding Associated Domains for web servers that aren't reachable from the public internet.


Starting with macOS 11 and iOS 14, apps no longer send requests for apple-app-site-association files directly to your web server. Instead, they send these requests to an Apple-managed content delivery network (CDN) dedicated to associated domains.

While you’re developing your app, if your web server is unreachable from the public internet, you can use the alternate mode feature to bypass the CDN and connect directly to your private domain.

You enable an alternate mode by adding a query string to your associated domain’s entitlement as follows:
<service>:<fully qualified domain>?mode=<alternate mode>

Given our Dev server is only reachable via a VPN we changed our project config to use the alternate mode:
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But unfortunately that still doesn't work and in the console we can see the following swcd logs being generated after a fresh app install.
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debug com.apple.swc 11:45:19.016561-0600 swcd entry Skipping domain si….va….com?mode=developer because developer mode is disabled

So what else do we need to get developer mode working for these app links?
Post not yet marked as solved Up vote post of AppsByC Down vote post of AppsByC


I have same problem can any ones have answers for this issue ?
  • Delete the app & reinstall it again?

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I'm facing same issue , Please let me know if you have any update on the problem. I did everything like in the https://developer.apple.com/documentation/safariservices/supporting_associated_domains
I have similar problem, the web server is only available from one country, so Apple's servers may not be able to see it.
There is an option for this that needs to be toggled in the developer settings on the device. Try toggling it to allow developer mode.
Given the hint by @PowerCode, I enabled the Associated Domains Development setting which can be found in the iOS 14 device Settings -> Developer view. This allows builds deployed via Xcode to handle deeplinks so we're moving the bar.

But the deeplinks for a TestFlight build still don't work and the console is now showing a different error when I filter for the swcd process.

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debug com.apple.swc 13:20:22.627834-0600 swcd domain Domain si….va….com?mode=developer encompasses si….va….com
debug com.apple.swc 13:20:22.628726-0600 swcd manager Found entry { s = applinks, a = <app id>, d = si….va….com?mode=developer, ua = unspecified, sa = unspecified } matching inputs { s = applinks, a = (null), d = si….va….com }
debug com.apple.swc 13:20:22.628796-0600 swcd manager Entry { s = applinks, a = <app id>, d = si….va….com?mode=developer, ua = unspecified, sa = unspecified } did not have any patterns to match against

So one step closer but we're not there yet. Any further hints would be appreciated...
Any updates on this issue? We are having the same problem with our dev server. From the swcd logs there are no errors whatsoever and the developer mode is turned on as well.
Post not yet marked as solved Up vote reply of Duci Down vote reply of Duci

We are also facing this issue on our banking acceptance webservers, one possibility would be to obtain apple CDN ip ranges (we are allowed to whitelist some of them our side). Any help is welcomed


anyone has a fix on this?
Still no solution? IT Security is bugging me because they need an IP (range) to whitelist the request from the Apple CDN.

Does anyone know at what moment the CDN will request for the configuration file and at which interval will it do request to update the configuration? Will the configuration in the CDN be invalidated if a refresh fails?
  • Would whitelisting cdn-apple.com work?

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Make sure you enable Associated Domains Development on Developer menu in iOS Settings.
in my side I already added associated domains on this still no luck.

can anyone from apple devs ,add comments regarding this?
I have similar problem, and I found the reason why.
In this page:

They said:

only apps signed with a development profile can use developer mode, and users must opt in on any device they use.

So you must use development provisioning profile, or make association file public.
I suspect that you are using AdHoc profile or InHouse profile for TestFlight deployment so that testers can use it. It is same situation to me.
(Eventually, we are trying to solve with making only the association file public)
And what about testing on the simulator? I would like to access the dev environment (only accesible via VPN) App-association file, but it does not work. How can I enable the Associated Domains Development on the simulator?
I understand the app is not signed then... So is this meant to work? it doesn't :)