Autotools helpers for iOS

Helper tools for cross-compilation of autotools libraries for iOS (and simulator) on OS X.
All libraries are static, since iOS does not support linking of custom dynamic libraries.

You will have to install automake, autoconf and libtool via your favorite mechanism (compile from source, homebrew, macports, ...).

Usage: iconfigure

To configure a library for a specific architecture run iconfigure in the directory containing the
configure script.

iconfigure armv7|armv7s|arm64|i686|x86_64

This will set up the environment for cross-compiling for the specified architecture.
You can then proceed as usual by running make and make install. make install
will default to install your libraries system-wide in /opt/ so that you can use them
in multiple projects.

All this can be configured by setting the following variables:

 SDKVERSION   e.g.: 7.1
 PREFIX       e.g.: /User/Home/project/staticlib

And the typical compiler flags:


For more variables and their functionality see the usage instructions and/or read
the source code.

For example to build a library locally in your project targeting the iOS SDK version 7.1 on armv7 run:

SDKVERSION=7.1 PREFIX=/User/Home/project/staticlib iconfigure armv7
make install

Usage: autoframework

To build an iOS framework for all architectures run autoframework in the directory containing
the configure script.

This will create two directories Static and Frameworks. Static will contain one
subdirectory for each architecture, each containing all installation targets for that
architecture. Frameworks will contain the resulting multiarch framework.

autoframework MyLib libmylib.a

As with iconfigure there are a few optional settings:

ARCHS    e.g. armv7 armv7s
PREFIX   e.g. /User/Home/project

For example for building your framework locally for armv7 and armv7s you could run:

ARCHS="armv7 armv7s" PREFIX=/User/Home/project autoframework MyLib libmylib.a

External build system

While Xcode does not directly support autotools it has support for plain Makefiles.
You can use this to build all your libraries within your project automatically.

Add a new External Build System target to your project (File > New > Target > OS X > Other > External Build System).
Enter a name like StaticLibs and create a Makefile in the top level of your project:

ARCHS="armv7 armv7s arm64 i686 x86_64"
FRAMEWORKS = Frameworks/MyLib.framework


Frameworks/MyLib.framework: mylib
  cd $< && ./
  # $(PROJECT_DIR)  set by Xcode
  # $(ARCHS)        set by Xcode, but sadly does not include all target architectures
  cd $< && PREFIX=$(PROJECT_DIR) ARCHS=$(ARCHS) autoframework MyLib libmylib.a

Be aware that Xcode itself does set the ARCHS variable to an incorrect value. We therefore
have to override the value by manually specifying the desired architectures in the

Now add the new target to the dependencies of your main project and build.
You should now be able to either add your libraries either by adding the
desired frameworks in Frameworks/ or by adding Static/{include,lib} to the
paths in your main project and setting the appropriate linker flags.

Depending on where you installed your autotools suite you might have to adjust the
PATH variable in your new target. Go to: Build Settings > + > Add User-Defined Setting
and enter PATH with the value $PATH:/usr/local/bin (or wherever your tools are


ISC license, see the LICENSE file for more details.


Inspired by the initial iOS-autoconf scripts of intlres1 and sbooth.