Why does my Flutter app crash at startup on iOS?

Issue

I’m trying to build a simple app using Flutter for iOS and Android, but the app crashes on startup when I try to run it on an iPhone (Android runs fine). I don’t have a mac, so I’m using Codemagic to compile a release build and deploy to TestFlight, then installing on an iPhone from there. Apple only shows their crash logs in Xcode as far as I can tell (nothing in App Store Connect online?), and since I don’t have a mac, I can’t see those. Any thoughts as to what I might be running into, or what information I can gather to debug the problem?

Thanks!

Edit: I’ve been digging around some more and it looks like the crash is related to the Firebase dependencies. If I create the Flutter demo project (flutter create ), it runs fine on iOS. However if I then add Firebase packages to pubspec.yaml, and manually add GoogleServices-info.plist, the app crashes on startup. (I’m not adding any code that uses Firebase yet.) GoogleServices-info.plist is supposed to be added with Xcode, but since I don’t have Xcode or a mac, that makes it tough. The second answer to this question gives a suggestion: Where to save GoogleService-Info.plist in Flutter without Xcode?
I tried making those changes but got the same result. Anybody have any recommendations for adding Firebase without a mac?

Solution

Ok, so here’s what happened. Originally the app crashed on iOS because there were issues with the GoogleServices-info.plist file (probably). There were no error messages, so I didn’t know where to look. I finally just went back to the simple demo app and started layering things back in to isolate the issue. The demo app would build and run on iOS with no problems, but when I added the Firebase dependencies (as a group), it failed. I had added the GoogleServices-info.plist file manually (outside of Xcode) and adjusted the references in ios/Runner.xcodeproj/project.pbxproj using a text editor, but that didn’t do the trick.

At this point I finally broke down and got a MacBook. Debugging on the Mac, I could now see that the app crashed in debug mode on the emulator as well as when in release mode on a device, but still no helpful error messages. I added the GoogleServices-info.plist file using Xcode, so at least that piece was correct, but the app still crashed immediately. Going through the documentation, I realized that when I made the sample app, I had forgotten to add the app ID in the info.plist file for AdMob. At this point it was just AdMob causing the crash, not the other Firebase dependencies. I added that back in and things ran fine. I wish I had looked at that a month ago. Ugh.

Thanks @Mikhail Tokharev and @season for taking a stab at such a vague question. I wish I had more detail to share initially, but I didn’t know enough yet to know what could be going wrong.

TL;DR

  1. Just get a Mac. Trying to debug through Codemagic won’t work.
  2. For Firebase, be sure you actually add your GoogleServices-info.plist file through Xcode. Trying to add it manually and hack the project.pbxproj file probably won’t work (this a practical recommendation, I didn’t prove this conclusively).
    https://firebase.google.com/docs/flutter/setup?platform=ios#add-config-file
  3. For AdMob, be sure to add your application ID to the info.plist. https://pub.dev/packages/firebase_admob

Answered By – watts

Answer Checked By – Pedro (FlutterFixes Volunteer)

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