Installing LLDB

by Dima Kovalenko at Feb 14, 2014

Note! There is an extended version of this guide.

Today we will talk about installation of LLDB (on Mac OS) and debugserver (on iOS 7.0-7.0.4).


You need LLDB installed on your Mac and the debugserver installed on your iOS device. To install LLDB on your Mac, just install the latest version of XCode. To install the debugserver on iOS device, mount DeveloperDiskImage.dmg and copy debugserver to a local folder on your Mac:

$ hdiutil attach /Applications/\ \(11B508\)/DeveloperDiskImage.dmg
$ cp /Volumes/DeveloperDiskImage/usr/bin/debugserver .

Then create entitlements.plist

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" " PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
    <key></key> <true/>
    <key>get-task-allow</key> <true/> <key>task_for_pid-allow</key> <true/>

and use it to sign debugserver

$ codesign -s - --entitlements entitlements.plist -f debugserver

Finally, copy the signed debugserver to /usr/bin/ on your iOS device (here and further we assume that the IP address of the device is

$ scp ./debugserver root@

It's done!

Check if it works

To check if LLDB+debugserver work correctly, SSH your iOS device and attach debugserver to a running process (in the example below, the process is Instagram, but you can attach debugserver to any process):

# debugserver *:6666 -a Instagram

As result, in your SSH console you should see something similar to

debugserver-300.2 for armv7.
Attaching to process Instagram...
Spawning general listening thread.
Spawning kqueue listening thread.
Listening to port 6666 for a connection from *...

Now, start LLDB in your Mac console and connect debugserver:

$ lldb
(lldb) platform select remote-ios
(lldb) process connect connect://

In your SSH console you'll see:

Waiting for debugger instructions for process 0.

Wait, wait, wait… it can take 1-3 minutes to connect (why so long? I don't know). Finally, in your Mac console you should see something like

Process 2962 stopped
* thread #1: tid = 0x1902c, 0x37db4a8c libsystem_kernel.dylib`mach_msg_trap + 20, queue = ', stop reason = signal SIGSTOP
    frame #0: 0x37db4a8c libsystem_kernel.dylib`mach_msg_trap + 20
libsystem_kernel.dylib`mach_msg_trap + 20:
-> 0x37db4a8c:  pop    {r4, r5, r6, r8}
   0x37db4a90:  bx     lr

   0x37db4a94:  mov    r12, sp
   0x37db4a98:  push   {r4, r5, r6, r8}

This means LLDB+debugserver work just fine and you can start debugging. If you need more information about attaching debugserver to already running process, check the next section.

It doesn't work, what to do?

Sometimes debugserver works incorrectly or does not work at all becuase of permissions. SSH your iOS device and check debugserver permissions:

# ls -l /usr/bin/debugserver

The correct permissions are

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 1100912 Feb 13 15:30 /usr/bin/debugserver


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