Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Viewing logs in Apple iOS

One of the best features of all of Apple's Mac OS X and iOS versions is that the operating system is constantly logging things. Logs are a history of what is going on with your device. If you are experiencing network or wireless issues, or if an application keeps on crashing, viewing these logs will give you deeper insight on what is going on on your computer. In order to view these logs on a Mac computer running OS X, you use the Console application in Applications > Utilities. Microsoft provides a similar log viewer in the Windows world called Event Viewer, which is accessible from the Control Panel > Administrative Tools.
But how can you view the logs on an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone? Fortunately, it is quite easy to do. Follow the instructions below:
  1. On your Mac or Windows computer, install the free iPhone Configuration Utility from Apple's website: http://support.apple.com/downloads/#iphone.
  2. Launch the utility, then connect your iOS device to the computer.
  3. Click on your connected device under the Device list on the left, then click on the Console tab in the main view.
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The running logs will be displayed in the main view pane. At this point, you can start sorting through all of the logs. The search box is helpful since it acts as a filter so use it to help you narrow down your search. Also, you can save a copy of these logs to a text file for later review by clicking on the Save Console As... button on the bottom-right hand part of the window.
So, the question remains, "Is there an app for that?" Yes, the App Store does have several apps that can emulate the Console but I have never had good luck with them. Either the app hasn't been updated for the latest iOS version, or the app freezes up when sorting through the logs, or the app won't launch. Viewing logs from the iPhone Configuration Utility is officially supported (and allowed) by Apple and almost guarantees that you will be able to view the logs on your iOS device without issues. If you have a better way of viewing logs in iOS, I'd love to hear it! Feel free to leave a comment below.
- Joe