Creating your first AIR application for iOS
AIR 2.6 or later, iOS 4.2 or later
You can code, build, and test the basic features of an iOS application
using only Adobe tools. However, to install an iOS application on
a device and to distribute that application, you must join the Apple
iOS Developer program (which is a fee-based service). Once you join
the iOS Developer program you can access the iOS Provisioning Portal
where you can obtain the following items and files from Apple that
are required to install an application on a device for testing and
for subsequent distribution. These items and files include:
Create the application content
Create a SWF file that displays the text, “Hello world!”
You can perform this task using Flash Professional, Flash Builder,
or another IDE. This example simply uses a text editor and the command
line SWF compiler included in the Flex SDK.
Create a directory in a convenient location to store
your application files. Create a file named, HelloWorld.as and
edit the file in your favorite code editor.
Add the following code:
public class HelloWorld extends Sprite
public function HelloWorld():void
var textField:TextField = new TextField();
textField.text = "Hello World!";
textField.autoSize = TextFieldAutoSize.LEFT;
var format:TextFormat = new TextFormat();
format.size = 48;
textField.setTextFormat ( format );
this.addChild( textField );
Compile the class using the amxmlc compiler:
SWF file, HelloWorld.swf, is created in the same folder.
example assumes that you have set up your environment path variable to
include the directory containing amxmlc. For information on setting
the path, see Path environment variables
. Alternately, you can type the full
path to amxmlc and the other command-line tools used in this example.
Create icon art and initial screen art for the application
All iOS applications have icons that appear in the user
interface of the iTunes application and on the device screen.
Create a directory within your project directory, and
name it icons.
Create three PNG files in the icons directory. Name them
Icon_29.png, Icon_57.png, and Icon_512.png.
Edit the PNG files to create appropriate art for your application.
The files must be 29-by-29 pixels, 57-by-57 pixels, and 512-by-512
pixels. For this test, you can simply use solid color squares as
Note: When you submit an application to the Apple
App Store, you use a JPG version (not a PNG version) of the 512-pixel
file. You use the PNG version while testing development versions
of an application.
All iPhone applications display an initial image while the application
loads on the iPhone. You define the initial image in a PNG file:
In the main development directory, create a PNG file
named Default.png. (Do not put this file in the icons subdirectory.
Be sure to name the file Default.png, with an uppercase D.)
Edit the file so that it is 320 pixels wide and 480 pixels
high. For now, the content can be a plain white rectangle. (You
will change this later.)
For detailed information on these graphics, see Application icons.
Create the application descriptor file
Create an application descriptor file that specifies the
basic properties for the application. You can complete this task
using an IDE such as Flash Builder or a text editor.
In the project folder that contains HelloWorld.as, create
an XML file named, HelloWorld-app.xml. Edit this file in
your favorite XML editor.
Add the following XML:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<application xmlns="http://ns.adobe.com/air/application/2.7" minimumPatchLevel="0">
<name>Hello World iOS</name>
For the sake of simplicity, this
example only sets a few of the available properties.
you are using AIR 2, or earlier, you must use the <version> element instead
of the <versionNumber> element.
Change the application ID to match the application ID specified
in the iOS Provisioning Portal. (Do not include the random bundle
seed portion at the beginning of the ID.
Test the application using ADL:
adl HelloWorld-app.xml -screensize iPhone
should open a window on your desktop that displays the text: Hello World! If
it does not, check the source code and application descriptor for
Compile the IPA file
You can now compile the IPA installer file using ADT. You
must have your Apple developer certificate and private key in P12
file format and your Apple development provisioning profile.
Run the ADT utility with the following options, replacing the
keystore, storepass, and provisioning-profile values with your own:
adt -package -target ipa-debug
-keystore iosPrivateKey.p12 -storetype pkcs12 -storepass qwerty12
HelloWorld.swf icons Default.png
(Use a single command line; the line breaks in this example are
just added to make it easier to read.)
ADT generates the iOS application installer file, HelloWorld.ipa,
in the project directory. Compiling the IPA file can take a few
Install the application on a device
To install the iOS application for testing:
Open the iTunes application.
If you have not already done so, add the provisioning profile
for this application to iTunes. In iTunes, select File > Add
To Library. Then, select the provisioning profile file (which has
mobileprovision as the file type).
For now, to test the application
on your developer device, use the development provisioning profile.
when distributing an application to the iTunes Store, use the distribution profile.
To distribute the application ad-hoc (to multiple devices without
going through the iTunes Store), use the ad-hoc provisioning profile.
more information on provisioning profiles, see iOS setup.
Some versions of iTunes do not replace the application if
the same version of the application is already installed. In this
case, delete the application from your device and from the list
of applications in iTunes.
Double-click the IPA file for your application. It should
appear in the list of applications in iTunes.
Connect your device to the USB port on your computer.
In iTunes, check the Application tab for the device, and
ensure that the application is selected in the list of applications
to be installed.
Select the device in the left-hand list of the iTunes application.
Then click the Sync button. When the sync completes, the Hello World
application appears on your iPhone.
If the new version is not installed, delete it from your device
and from the list of applications in iTunes, and then redo this
procedure. This may be the case if the currently installed version
uses the same application ID and version.
Edit the initial screen graphic
Before you compiled your application, you created a Default.png
file (see Create icon art and initial screen art for the application). This PNG
file serves as the startup image while the application loads. When
you tested the application on your iPhone, you may have noticed
this blank screen at startup.
You should change this image to match the startup screen of your
application (“Hello World!”):
Open your application on your device. When the first
“Hello World” text appears, press and hold the Home button (below
the screen). While holding the Home button, press the Power/Sleep
button (at the top of the iPhone). This takes a screenshot and sends
it to the Camera Roll.
Transfer the image to your development computer by transferring
photos from iPhoto or another photo transfer application. (On Mac
OS, you can also use the Image Capture application.)
also e-mail the photo to your development computer:
Open the Photos application.
Open the Camera Roll.
Open the screenshot image you captured.
Tap the image and then tap the “forward” (arrow) button in
the bottom-left-hand corner. Then click the Email Photo button and
send the image to yourself.
Replace the Default.png file (in your development directory)
with a PNG version of the screen capture image.
Recompile the application (see Compile the IPA file) and reinstall it on your device.
The application now uses the new startup screen as it loads.
Note: You can create any art you’d like for the Default.png file,
as long as it is the correct dimensions (320 by 480 pixels). However,
it is often best to have the Default.png image match the initial
state of your application.