Find an iOS simulator identifier


When running a device simulator on macOS, it is possible to navigate that system’s directly through the command line (or Finder, if you’d prefer). To do that, navigate to to the following directory:

cd /Library/Developer/CoreSimulator

If you look around in this directory, you will probably see a number of subdirectories with UUIDs. Each of these corresponds to a simulator device which contains all of the data for that instance. In order to browse a specific simulator’s files, you need to know its ID.

There are two ways to find that, one using the Xcode UI and another using the terminal.

Through Xcode #

  1. In the top menu, select “Window” > “Devices and Simulators”
    • You can use the shortcut shift+command+2.
  2. In the left menu of the new window, select the “Simulators” tab
  3. Select the device from the list below
    • Note: Make sure you match the device specs and iOS version
  4. Look for “Identifier:” in the main panel and copy the value

Through the terminal #

The following command require Xcode command-line tools, which you probably already have installed if you are running Xcode.

  1. From anywhere on your system, run xcrun simctl list devices
  2. Find the ID from the output by iOS version and device specs and copy the ID

If the device is already running, you can save yourself some time by passing a search argument:

# Show only running simulators
xcrun simctl list devices booted

That should surface the current simulator faster for copying.

Take a look around! #

Once you have the simulator ID copied, you can navigate there in the terminal with:

cd /Library/Developer/CoreSimulator/SIMULATOR-ID-THAT-YOU-COPIED

For example, if you want to look into a specific app’s bundle, you can find that data within the simulator directory at ./data/Containers/Bundle/Application/APP-ID. I have found this useful when debugging image paths in the final app bundle.

Happy browsing!

About the author

My name is Sean McPherson, and I am a software engineer interested in all areas of front-end development. Here I write articles about programming for developers of all levels, and occassionally other topics.

Currently I work for Niche.com and live with my lovely family in Pittsburgh, PA.