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Using Alternative Toolchains

Xcode supports using alternative toolchains instead of the default tools, such as toolchains downloaded from, for indexing, building, and debugging your projects.

Installing Alternative Toolchains

Alternative toolchains for Xcode are installed into either the top level library (/Library/Developer/Toolchains) or into a user library (~/Library/Developer/ Toolchains). Installing a toolchain into a user library makes it available only to that user, where installation into the top level library makes it available for all users who share accounts on that computer. For information on using alternative toolchains with Xcode Server, see Create Bots to Perform Integrations in Xcode Server and Continuous Integration Guide.

Viewing and Managing Installed Toolchains

Alternative toolchains appear in the Toolchains pane of Components preferences. The Toolchains pane is only available when alternative toolchains are installed. Figure 12-1 shows the pane with one alternative toolchain.

Figure 12-1Components preferences Toolchains pane image: ../Art/XC_O_toolchain_prefs_2x.png

In the Toolchains pane, you can:

  • View installed alternative toolchains

  • Switch between toolchains

  • Verify the code signature of a toolchain

  • Reveal the location of a toolchain in the Finder

  • Delete an installed toolchain

Viewing and Switching Toolchains

Each item in the Toolchains pane shows the name, version, origin, and size of the toolchain. For example, in Figure 12-1 the alternative toolchain is a development snapshot from Swift Open Source, and is 618 MB.

Xcode indicates that an alternative toolchain is selected by:

  • Adding the alternative toolchain indicator (image: ../Art/XC_O_icon_toolchain_2x.png) to the activity view in the Workspace toolbar as shown in Figure 12-2

  • Adding the name of the alternative toolchain to the About window

  • Adding the name of the alternative toolchain to the Welcome window

Figure 12-2Alternative toolchain indicator image: ../Art/XC_O_Toolbar_toolchain_button_2x.png

Clicking the alternative toolchain indicator opens the Toolchains pane of Components preferences.

Use the Toolchains pane of Components preferences to switch between installed alternative toolchains. For information on how to do this, see Switching Toolchains in Components Preferences Help.

Verifying, Revealing, and Deleting Alternative Toolchains

Control-click on an installed toolchain to reveal the contextual menu seen in Figure 12-3. Alternatively, move the pointer over an item in the Toolchains pane and click on the Action button (image: ../Art/XC_O_icon_gear_2x.png) that appears.

Use the menu's commands to verify the toolchain's associated Code Signature, reveal the location of the toolchain in the file system, or delete the toolchain.

Figure 12-3Toolchain preferences contextual menu image: ../Art/XC_O_toolchain_gear_shortcut_menu_2x.png

Building, Running, and Debugging Apps with Alternative Toolchains

Xcode uses the selected toolchain to build, run, and debug your app. For example, you can use the development snapshots from to build and run your app on OS X, on devices, or on simulators for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.