Crash Reporter for iPhone Applications (Part 2)


In part one I describe how to set up an Exception Handler, Uli discovered as first one that this handles not all cases. The missing part is a signal handler to get information of SIGSEGV, SIGBUS, … signals.

I thought the hard part of this is getting the backtrace inside a signal handler. I already found code for this, but I couldn’t use it because it was GPL. I tried the easy way, offering the author money to release it under public domain, oh boy this was a waste of time. But now that I found my own solution for this I’m happy that I didn’t spend money on this. (1 line versus 20 lines of code)

Let’s start with setting up a signal handler, the good old man page helps.

/* GeSHi (C) 2004 – 2007 Nigel McNie ( */
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  1. int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
  2.         struct sigaction mySigAction;
  3.         mySigAction.sa_sigaction = mysighandler;
  4.         mySigAction.sa_flags = SA_SIGINFO;
  5.         sigemptyset(&mySigAction.sa_mask);
  6.         sigaction(SIGQUIT, &mySigAction, NULL);
  7.         sigaction(SIGILL, &mySigAction, NULL);
  8.         sigaction(SIGTRAP, &mySigAction, NULL);
  9.         sigaction(SIGABRT, &mySigAction, NULL);
  10.         sigaction(SIGEMT, &mySigAction, NULL);
  11.         sigaction(SIGFPE, &mySigAction, NULL);
  12.         sigaction(SIGBUS, &mySigAction, NULL);
  13.         sigaction(SIGSEGV, &mySigAction, NULL);
  14.         sigaction(SIGSYS, &mySigAction, NULL);
  15.         sigaction(SIGPIPE, &mySigAction, NULL);
  16.         sigaction(SIGALRM, &mySigAction, NULL);
  17.         sigaction(SIGXCPU, &mySigAction, NULL);
  18.         sigaction(SIGXFSZ, &mySigAction, NULL);
  20.         NSAutoreleasePool * pool = [[NSAutoreleasePool alloc] init];
  21.         int retVal = UIApplicationMain(argc, argv, nil, nil);
  22.         [pool release];
  23.         return retVal;
  24. }

And here the line of code I was searching for over two days: backtrace(3). You don’t find this little bastard if you search in Xcode Help with iPhone OS Library selected (there goes my two days)

  1. void mysighandler(int sig, siginfo_t *info, void *context) {
  2.         void *backtraceFrames[128];
  3.         int frameCount = backtrace(backtraceFrames, 128);
  5.         // report the error
  6. }

Like in the Exception Handler you now just use backtrace_symbols(3). (Example)

Good luck with working down the crash reports you will get now🙂

Crash Reporter for iPhone Applications (Part 1)
Crash Reporter for iPhone Applications (Part 2)

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6 Responses to Crash Reporter for iPhone Applications (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » links for 2008-10-21

  2. Arnab says:

    Hi Atlan,
    Awesome information you have published on this block.Is it possible to give a sample application which can be run on the Iphone Simulator to generate the crash and see how the stack trace/report sending works?
    Thanks in advance

  3. Rudyard K. Prab says:

    It’s not safe to try to report the crash log from within the signal handler. The process is an indeterminate state, and all code executed from within a signal handler must be async-safe. Due to calls to the pthread API (which attempts to acquire globals locks), backtrace(3) implementation is not async-safe, and can thus cause a deadlock in your signal handler.

  4. Clark Dennison says:


    I was trying to use plcrashreport. Would you still recommend it. I have not had much luck using it as I can’t get the simulator build to compile and the iphone release crashes on the first call.

  5. Clark, it’s funny that you ask that, I was just setting up two apps with a Crash Reporter today🙂 At the moment I’m using && It’s based on plcrashreport and super easy to setup

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