Every iOS user knows this: Apps crash. These crashes are usually the developer’s fault and some are pretty nasty and hard to track down in a development environment. Therefore, it is very useful to collect crash reports from apps that are in production.

Fortunately, there are tools out there that do exactly that. My weapon of choice is Crashlytics. Other options are Hockey and plcrashreporter.

The way Crashlytics works is that an OS X app has to be installed and has to run in the background every time a build of an app is made in order to upload its information, like the .dSYM file, to their service. Xcode connects to the Crashlytics app through a run script. The whole setup process is done quickly and the Crashlytics app provides a very good guide. I do not like the fact that a dedicated app has to run in the background but in the end it is convenient.

Crashes are visible through an online dashboard that shows every piece of information that one might expect: Number of crashes, affected app versions, stack traces, and detailed information about the devices (e.g. iOS version, free RAM, jailbroken). E-mail notifications and integration into other services like Jira are also possible.

I have been using Crashlytics for a few months now and it has proven itself to be very useful. It collected various crash reports that I never saw during the development phase.

The service is currently free but they will announce a pricing model in the near future and I will be happy to pay. Every serious developer should collect crash reports to ensure the quality of their shipped apps.