Error and Crash Reporting in iOS App Extensions with Backtrace

We are living in times where richer inter-app communication and tighter integration with the OS services is available in mobile, and iOS is no exception. iOS App extensions enable you to extend your reach beyond the process presenting the UI. You can capture screen, intercept network or interact with an Apple Watch while other apps are running in foreground. These extensions run in their own, sand-boxed processes, thus require extra care to monitor them in production. In this post, we are going to take a look at how Backtrace SDK can help us in our example Keyboard Extension.

You can find a pair of sample projects below if you prefer jumping right into it.


We’ll need the latest Xcode and backtrace-cocoa SDK. CocoaPods CLI is not required.


Download SDK

Download the latest archive from backtrace-cocoa releases. Make sure you pick bitcode=YES embedded=YES flavor.

Launch your Xcode project.

Copy these into your project root by drag and dropping them into Project Navigator.

  • Rome/Backtrace.framework

Select your app and all extensions in the prompted dialog.

Configure Xcode Project

Navigate to each build target’s General settings (i.e your app and each extension).

Locate Framework, Libraries, and Embedded Content for apps and Frameworks and Libraries for extensions.

Add all the new frameworks to your targets if missing. Set embedding settings as Embed Without Signing.

Navigate to Build Phases->Embed Frameworks and make sure all the frameworks are added there. (app and extension targets)

Navigate to Build Settings and change Debug Information Format to Dwarf with dSYM File. (app and extension targets)

Add Sources

Create a new directory with Finder in your project and name it Backtrace.

Copy all “.h” files in Backtrace.framework/Headers and Backtrace_PLCrashReporter.framework/Headers into newly created directory.

Go back to Xcode and add Backtrace by drag & dropping it into Project Navigator. If you get prompted to add bridging header files, accept it.

Make sure files are added to all targets in the prompted dialog.

Create a new Obj-C class in your project, i.e BacktraceWrapper.h and BacktraceWrapper.m. Let Xcode create bridging headers for the targets that utilize Swift if asked.

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>


@interface BacktraceWrapper : NSObject

+(void)sendError:(NSError*)error attributes:(NSDictionary*)extra;


#import "BacktraceWrapper.h"
#if defined(__arm64__) && __arm64__
#import "Backtrace-Swift.h"
#import "Backtrace-PLCrashReporter-umbrella.h"

@implementation BacktraceWrapper

#pragma mark Globals
#if defined(__arm64__) && __arm64__
static BacktraceClient* client;

#pragma mark Private

+(void)initializeBacktrace {
#if defined(__arm64__) && __arm64__
    if (client != nil) {
    BacktraceCredentials* credentials = [[BacktraceCredentials alloc] initWithSubmissionUrl: [NSURL URLWithString: @""]];
    BacktraceDatabaseSettings *dbSettings = [[BacktraceDatabaseSettings alloc] init];
    dbSettings.maxRecordCount = 10;
    BacktraceClientConfiguration *configuration = [[BacktraceClientConfiguration alloc]
                                                initWithCredentials: credentials
                                                dbSettings: dbSettings
                                                reportsPerMin: 30 // Default is 30
                                                allowsAttachingDebugger: FALSE // If false, disables backtrace during development
                                                detectOOM: FALSE];
    BacktraceCrashReporter* crashReporter = [[BacktraceCrashReporter alloc] initWithConfig: PLCrashReporterConfig.defaultConfiguration];
    client = [[BacktraceClient alloc] initWithConfiguration:configuration crashReporter:crashReporter error:nil];
    [client.metrics enableWithSettings:[[BacktraceMetricsSettings alloc] init]];

#pragma mark Public

+(void)sendError:(NSError*)error attributes:(NSDictionary*)extra {
#if defined(__arm64__) && __arm64__
    [self initializeBacktrace];
    [client sendWithError:error attachmentPaths:@[] completion:^(BacktraceResult * _Nonnull result) {
        NSLog(@"Backtrace error sent: %@", [error description]);


Swift support

If you want to expose BacktraceWrapper to your swift files, add the following line to your bridging headers.

#import "BacktraceWrapper.h"

BacktraceWrapper.sendError(error: Error) will become available to your swift code.

Upload symbols with CI

Once you are ready to distribute your app, run the commands below in your CI to upload debug symbols to Backtrace.

cd $DERIVED_DATA_PATH/Build/Products/Debug-iphoneos/

zip -r *.dSYM
curl --fail-with-body --data-binary -X POST -H "Expect: gzip" "$BACKTRACE_SUBDOMAIN/$BACKTRACE_SYMBOLS_ACCESS_TOKEN/symbols"

Final Words

From now on, you can enjoy the same error reporting capabilities your app enjoyed in your extensions!

Until next time, peace <3