joshdholtz / snapshot

Automate taking localized screenshots of your iOS app on every device

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Automate taking localized screenshots of your iOS app on every device

You have an iPhone app. You support 20 languages. You updated the design. You want to release the update to the App Store. What's missing?

New Screenshots

You want them to look perfect and gorgeous. They should show the same screens on all devices in all languages.

You have to manually create 20 (languages) x 4 (devices) x 5 (screenshots) = 400 screenshots.

It's hard to get everything right!

  • New screenshots with every (design) update
  • No loading indicators
  • Same content / screens
  • Clean Status Bar
  • Uploading screenshots (deliver is your friend)

This gem solves all those problems. It will run completely in the background - you can do something else, while your computer takes the screenshots for you.

Get in contact with the developer on Twitter: @KrauseFx

FeaturesInstallationUI AutomationQuick StartUsageTipsNeed help?

snapshot is part of fastlane: connect all deployment tools into one streamlined workflow.


  • Create hundreds of screenshots in multiple languages on all simulators
  • Configure it once, store the configuration in git
  • Do something else, while the computer takes the screenshots for you
  • Integrated with fastlane and deliver
  • Generates a beautiful web page, which shows all screenshots on all devices. This is perfect to send to Q&A or the marketing team
  • snapshot automatically waits for network requests to be finished before taking a screenshot (we don't want loading images in the App Store screenshots)

After snapshot successfully created new screenshots, it will generate a beautiful html file to get a quick overview of all screens:



This gem automatically switches the language and device type and runs the automation script to take all screenshots.

Why should I automate this process?

  • It takes hours to take screenshots
  • It is an integration test: You can test for UI elements and other things inside your scripts
  • Be so nice, and provide new screenshots with every App Store update. Your customers deserve it
  • You realise, there is a spelling mistake in one of the screens? Well, just correct it and re-run the script.
  • You get a great overview of all your screens, running on all available simulators without the need to manually start it hundreds of times

###Why use snapshot instead of....

I've been using many other solutions out there. Unfortunately none of them were perfect. The biggest issue was random timeouts of Instruments when starting the script. This problem is solved with snapshot

  • UI Automation in Instruments: Instruments can only run your app on one device in one language. You have to manually switch it.
  • ui-screen-shooter: This is the best alternative out there right now. It's based on AppleScript, you can not update it properly and there are quite some hacks in there. snapshot uses a very similar technique - just in a clean and maintainable Ruby gem.
  • Subliminal: A good approach to write the interaction code in Objective C. Unfortunately it has a lot of open issues with the latest release of Xcode. Also, it requires modifications of your Xcode project and schemes, which might break some other things.


Install the gem

sudo gem install snapshot

Make sure, you have the latest version of the Xcode command line tools installed:

xcode-select --install

UI Automation

Getting started

This project uses Apple's UI Automation under the hood. I will not go into detail on how to write scripts.

Here a few links to get started:

Quick Start

  • Run snapshot init in your project folder
  • Profile your app (CMD + I), choose Automation and click the Record button on the bottom of the window.
  • This will get you started. Copy the generated code into ./snapshot.js. Make sure, you leave the import statement on the top.
  • To take a screenshot, use captureLocalizedScreenshot('0-name')

Here is a nice gif, that shows snapshot in action: assets/snapshot.gif

You can take a look at the example project to play around with it.

Start snapshot

  • cd [your_project_folder]
  • snapshot

Your screenshots will be stored in ./screenshots/ by default.

From now on, you can run snapshot to create new screenshots of your app.



To skip cleaning the project:

snapshot --noclean


Why should you have to remember complicated commands and parameters?

Store your configuration in a text file to easily take screenshots from any computer.

Create a file called Snapfile in your project directory. Once you created your configuration, just run snapshot.

The Snapfile may contain the following information (all are optional):

Simulator Types

  "iPhone 6",
  "iPhone 6 Plus",
  "iPhone 5",
  "iPhone 4s",
  "iPad Air"



JavaScript file

Usually snapshot automatically finds your JavaScript file. If that's not the case, you can pass the path to your test file.

js_file './path/file.js'


To not be asked which scheme to use, just set it like this:

scheme "Name"

You can also use the environment variable SNAPSHOT_SCHEME.

Screenshots output path

All generated screenshots will be stored in the given path.

screenshots_path './screenshots'

You can also use the environment variable SNAPSHOT_SCREENSHOTS_PATH.

Project Path

By default, snapshot will look for your project in the current directory. If it is located somewhere else, pass your custom path:

project_path "./my_project/Project.xcworkspace"

iOS Version

I'll try to keep the script up to date. If you need to change the iOS version, you can do it like this:

ios_version "9.0"

Custom Build Command

If for some reason, the default build command does not work for your project, you can pass your own build script. The script will be executed once before the tests are being run.

Make sure you are setting the output path to /tmp/snapshot.

build_command "xcodebuild DSTROOT='/tmp/snapshot' OBJROOT='/tmp/snapshot' SYMROOT='/tmp/snapshot' ... "

Custom callbacks to prepare your app

Run your own script when snapshot switches the simulator type or the language. This can be used to

  • Logout the user
  • Reset all user defaults
  • Pre-fill the database

To run a shell script, just use system('./').

setup_for_device_change do |device| 
  puts "Preparing device: #{device}"

setup_for_language_change do |lang, device|
  puts "Running #{lang} on #{device}"

teardown_language do |lang, device|
  puts "Finished with #{lang} on #{device}"

teardown_device do |device|
  puts "Cleaning device #{device}"

Skip alpha removal from screenshots

In case you want to skip this process, just add skip_alpha_removal to your Snapfile.


fastlane Toolchain

  • fastlane: Connect all deployment tools into one streamlined workflow
  • deliver: Upload screenshots, metadata and your app to the App Store using a single command
  • frameit: Quickly put your screenshots into the right device frames
  • PEM: Automatically generate and renew your push notification profiles
  • sigh: Because you would rather spend your time building stuff than fighting provisioning

Run in Continuous Integration

If you want to run snapshot on your Jenkins machine (or any other CI-system), you might run into an authorization popup coming up.

You can disable this dialog, running the following command:

security authorizationdb read system.privilege.taskport > /tmp/system.privilege.taskport.plist
/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set :allow-root true" /tmp/system.privilege.taskport.plist
sudo security authorizationdb write system.privilege.taskport < /tmp/system.privilege.taskport.plist

I found this solution in the Subliminal wiki.

Specify a custom Snapfile

snapshot --snapfile ./SpecialSnapfile

Be aware: The file will be executed from the current directory, not the location of the Snapfile. That means: ./screenshots will export the screenshots to the current directory of your terminal session.

Available language codes

["da-DK", "de-DE", "el-GR", "en-AU", "en-CA", "en-GB", "en-US", "es-ES", "es-MX", "fi-FI", "fr-CA", "fr-FR", "id-ID", "it-IT", "ja-JP", "ko-KR", "ms-MY", "nl-NL", "no-NO", "pt-BR", "pt-PT", "ru-RU", "sv-SE", "th-TH", "tr-TR", "vi-VI", "cmn-Hans", "zh_CN", "cmn-Hant"]

Use a clean status bar

You can use SimulatorStatusMagic to clean up the status bar.

Editing the Snapfile

Change syntax highlighting to Ruby.

Instruments is not responding

Unfortunately Instruments sometimes decides, to not respond to anything. Which means, neither the Instruments application, nor the instruments command line work. Killing the process doesn't help.

The only way to fix this, is a restart of the Mac.

Need help?

  • If there is a technical problem with snapshot, submit an issue. Run snapshot --trace to get the stacktrace.
  • I'm available for contract work - drop me an email:


This project is licensed under the terms of the MIT license. See the LICENSE file.


  1. Create an issue to discuss about your idea
  2. Fork it (
  3. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  4. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  5. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  6. Create a new Pull Request
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Automate taking localized screenshots of your iOS app on every device

License:MIT License


Language:Ruby 78.3%Language:Objective-C 11.6%Language:JavaScript 10.0%