Configure the code signing setting of the Xcode project with the configuration settings file

When developing an iOS app that you plan to distribute as open source or sample code, you might prefer not to embed code signing settings directly into the project file. However, while working locally, you must set the code signing settings. Otherwise, you will not be able to install it on the device.

In these scenarios, employing a build configuration file for code-signing settings proves beneficial.


Create the build configuration file

For more information about how to create the build configuration file, please see the following article.

Using the above article as a guide, create the following three build configuration files.

  • Debug.xcconfig
  • Release.xcconfig
  • Signing.xcconfig

Set Debug.xcconfig to debug build and Release.xcconfig to release build.

Write the following in Debug.xcconfig and Release.xcconfig to include Signing.xcconfig.

#include? "Signing.xcconfig"

Configure the code signing

In Xcode, code signing is set up in the following places.

  • Signing & Capabilities tab of each build target.
  • Signing of Build Settings tab.

Signing & Capabilities tab

The Signing & Capabilities tab for each target sets target-specific code signing settings. The values in this tab are also set in the Signing of the target’s Build Settings.

Signing & Capabilities tab
Signing & Capabilities tab

The configuration items are grouped under Signing.

Setting itemsDescription
Automatically manage signing Whether Xcode manages the signing settings or not.
Team The developer team
Bundle Identifier The bundler identifier of the target
Provisioning Profile The provisioning profile of the target
Signing Certificate The code signing certificate
Settings items

Build Settings tab

The Signing of the Build Settings tab contains code-signing-related settings, and the Signing & Capabilities and the Build Settings tabs are synchronized. Signing & Capabilities tab is synchronized with the Build Settings tab.

Signing & Capabilities tab is not available in the project settings, but Build Settings tab is also available in the project settings.

Typically, we configure this in the Build Settings tab of the project, rather than in the target settings, because all targets within the project use the same code signing settings.

Signing in the Build Settings tab
Signing in the Build Settings tab

The settings related to the code signing are the following.

Setting itemsDescription
Code Signing Identity The code signing certificate
Code Signing Style Whether Xcode manages the settings or not
Development Team The developer team
Provisioning Profile The provisioning profile
Signing Settings of Build Settings tab

Clear the signing settings of the project file

Prior to modifying the code signing settings in the build settings file, you should clear the existing values in the project file. Xcode will prioritize the project file settings if they are written in both the project and build settings files.

Do as follows.

Check the following settings in “Signing” in the “Build Settings” tab of the project settings to see if they are in bold.
  • Code Signing Identity
  • Development Team
  • Code Signing Style
  • Provisioning Profile
Select the item in bold and press the Delete key.

Items in bold have been changed from the inherited or default values, and the settings are cleared using the Delete key.

Do the same operation for the target settings.

Edit the build settings file

Edit Signing.xcconfig to configure code signing. There are four items to configure.



CODE_SIGN_STYLE specifies whether the Xcode manages the code signing settings. The following values are defined.

AutomaticTurn on Automatically manage signing.
ManualTurn off Automatically manage signing.
The value of CODE_SIGN_STYLE


DEVELOPMENT_TEAM specifies the development team. The value is a team ID. The team ID is displayed at TEAM ID on the Apple Developer website’s Membership Details page.


CODE_SIGN_IDENTITY specifies the code signing certificate to sign. The value is a certificate name that is displayed in Xcode. For example, Automatic setting is Apple Development. Specify the name containing the team ID, like Developer ID Application: Akira Hayashi (XXXXXXXX) in the keychain. Replace the (XXXXXXXX) with your team ID.


PROVISIONING_PROFILE_SPECIFIER specify the provisioning profile file. The value is name or UUID.

Example of the sample configuration settings file

The following code is a sample of Signing.xcconfig.

CODE_SIGN_IDENTITY = Apple Development

Remove from git management

You use Signing.xcconfig to avoid including code signing settings in the deployed project file, so you should exclude Signing.xcconfig from git management. To avoid build-failure when the Signing.xcconfig is missing, use the #include? statement to include it in the Debug.xcconfig and Release.xcconfig.


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Akira Hayashi (林 晃)のアバター Akira Hayashi (林 晃) Representative(代表), Software Engineer(ソフトウェアエンジニア)

アールケー開発代表。Appleプラットフォーム向けの開発を専門としているソフトウェアエンジニア。ソフトウェアの受託開発、技術書執筆、技術指導・セミナー講師。note, Medium, LinkedIn
Representative of RK Kaihatsu. Software Engineer Specializing in Development for the Apple Platform. Specializing in contract software development, technical writing, and serving as a tech workshop lecturer. note, Medium, LinkedIn