Testing Remote Push Notification in iOS simulator

⋅ 2 min read ⋅ Xcode Debugging Notification

Table of Contents

Until now, the only way we can test out remote push notification is to do it on physical devices, and it's not a pleasant task.

Xcode 11.4 Beta introduced a new way to simulate remote push notification on iOS simulator.


There are two ways to do this. Both needed a valid JSON APNS payload. You can consult Apple documentation here.

Here is an example:

"aps" : {
"alert" : {
"title" : "sarunw.com",
"body" : "A weekly blog about iOS development"
"badge" : 5

Save it to any name you want and remember the location, we are going to need this throughout the course of testing. I save it as payload.apns.

Command line

Using simctl command to simulate remote notification with the following command:

xcrun simctl push <device> <bundle-identifier> <path-to-apns-file>

If you have only one simulator running, you can use booted as your <device> parameter.

xcrun simctl push booted com.sarunw.example-xcode-11-4 payload.apns

If you have multiple simulators running, you can find device id by running the following command:

xcrun simctl list

You will get something like this:

Phone: iPhone 11 Pro Max (E1DFE9D1-86D5-4857-8FD0-2B8368FB39A9) (Shutdown)
A5A7E952-845F-4DFA-A983-FEBCC3A2EA43 (unavailable)
Watch: Apple Watch Series 5 - 40mm (80037B53-E5F6-44E1-B316-36CE29AF834B) (Shutdown)
Phone: iPhone 11 Pro (49892E71-C384-4FF2-8A35-22416B9E0D73) (Shutdown)
840CE633-651B-4468-8E8F-4D2D024C4D22 (unavailable)
Watch: Apple Watch Series 5 - 44mm (F1B1C803-D5C1-4FD3-93A6-4FBB9E7F81A7) (Shutdown)
Phone: iPhone 11 Pro Max (630C50A1-1BE5-4BED-BD32-AF0D85C00498) (Booted)

Locate your simulator and get the device id, which sits next to the simulator name (in the parenthesis).

xcrun simctl push 630C50A1-1BE5-4BED-BD32-AF0D85C00498 com.sarunw.example-xcode-11-4 payload.apns

You can also omit the bundle identifier if your payload contains Simulator Target Bundle key with the value of your app's bundle identifier.

Add Simulator Target Bundle in your payload file.

"aps" : {
"alert" : {
"title" : "sarunw.com",
"body" : "A weekly blog about iOS development"
"badge" : 5
"Simulator Target Bundle": "com.sarunw.example-xcode-11-4"

And then run the following to get the same result.

xcrun simctl push 630C50A1-1BE5-4BED-BD32-AF0D85C00498 payload.apns

Here is the demo.

Drag and Drop

The second method to test remote push is simply dragged APNS file onto the target simulator. This method required the payload to contain Simulator Target Bundle key. Otherwise, you would get this error message.

Missing Simulator Target Bundle error
Missing Simulator Target Bundle error

After you have a valid payload, just drag the file and drop it onto your simulator, and that it.

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