关闭

What does ENABLE_BITCODE do in xcode 7?

364人阅读 评论(0) 收藏 举报


I have problem with embedded bitcode term.
What is embedded bitcode?
When to enable ENABLE_BITCODE in new Xcode?
What happens to the binary when enabled, ENABLE_BITCODE in Xcode 7 ?

shareimprove this question
 

6 Answers

up vote116down voteaccepted

Bitcode refers to to the type of code: "LLVM Bitcode" that is sent to iTunes Connect. This allows Apple to use certain calculations to re-optimize apps further and downsize executable sizes. If Apple needs to alter your executable then they can do this without a new build being uploaded.

This differs from: Slicing which is the process of Apple optimizing your app for a user's device based on the device's resolution and architecture. Slicing does not require Bitcode. (Ex: only including @2x images on a 5s)

App Thinning is the combination of slicing, bitcode, and on-demand resources

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.

Apple Documentation on App Thinning

shareimprove this answer
 
 
Nothing in what you've quoted says that enabling bitcode decreases the size of the app on the user's device. Bitcode has nothing to do with resources like 3x or 2x. – user102008 Jun 12 at 21:24 
 
@user102008 I included the excerpt about resources – kdogisthebest Jun 13 at 4:47
1  
Again, resources has nothing to do with Bitcode, which is about the code. The downloading by users of only certain architectures of code and certain versions of resources is Slicing, which has nothing to do with Bitcode. – user102008 Jun 13 at 5:09
2  
No, slicing is separating your apps resources into groups for particular devices. Bitcode is what allows Apple to generate an executable for a particular architecture. – Jon Shier Jun 14 at 9:21
1  
@JonShier Apple says "Slicing is the process of creating and delivering variants of the app bundle for different target devices. A variant contains only the executable architecture and resources that are needed for the target device" So slicing is only having the executable code AND resources for a certain device. – kdogisthebest Jun 14 at 14:18

What is embedded bitcode?

According to docs:

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.

Bitcode allows other App Thinning component called Slicing to generate app bundle variants with particular executables for particular architectures, e.g. iPhone 5S variant will include only arm64 executable, iPad Mini armv7 and so on. From "New Features in Xcode 7":

When you archive for submission to the App Store, Xcode will compile your app into an intermediate representation. The App Store will then compile the bitcode down into the 64 or 32 bit executables as necessary.

When to enable ENABLE_BITCODE in new Xcode?

For iOS apps, bitcode is the default, but optional. If you provide bitcode, all apps and frameworks in the app bundle need to include bitcode. For watchOS and tvOS apps, bitcode is required.

What happens to the binary when ENABLE_BITCODE is enabled in the new Xcode?

From Xcode 7 reference:

Activating this setting indicates that the target or project should generate bitcode during compilation for platforms and architectures which support it. For Archive builds, bitcode will be generated in the linked binary for submission to the app store. For other builds, the compiler and linker will check whether the code complies with the requirements for bitcode generation, but will not generate actual bitcode.

Here's a couple of links that will help in deeper understanding of Bitcode:

shareimprove this answer
 
2  
Great links to understand bitcode – BHuelse Oct 8 at 14:28

As far as Bit code and enabling bit code is concerned, the first thing which is required to understand is the story from where all this started.

So, basically if I talk of ENABLE_BITCODE which is introduced in iOS 9, is a part of App Thinning process.

And it is a part of problem which answers "How did Apple manage to reduce the storage size of iOS 9 to 1GB from 5 GB in iOS 8?"

This is due to a new technology called 'App Thinning'

& what exactly is App Thinning ?

App Thinning brings down the iOS 9 OTA update from 4.6GB to 1.3GB, a 71% size reduction. Not only will this help with future OTA updates, but the technology will be available for developers to reduce the storage required by third party apps.

App thinning has basically three components namely- slicing, bitcode, and on-demand resources.

App Slicing: iOS apps are developed to run on a variety of devices, so they come with code to support all them, whether or not your particular device requires it. App Slicing will allow your device to download only those files required by our device. Example: you don't need the 3x iPhone 6 Plus assets if you're running a 4-inch model.

On-Demand Resources (ODRs): It works on the idea that an app probably doesn't need its entire library of resources at any given time, so parts of it can be downloaded or deleted as needed. Developers will be able to specify what code is needed at what times by tagging sections of code as ODRs. These portions will be automatically downloaded from the App Store when they are required and deleted when they won't be needed again.

Bitcode: It refers to an "intermediate representation" of an app that developers will upload to the App Store rather than a pre-compiled binary. This works hand-in-hand with App Slicing, allowing the bitcode to be compiled on demand as 32-bit or 64-bit, depending on the downloading device. This will also allow any compiler improvements made by Apple to be implemented automatically, rather than having developers resubmit their apps.

enter image description here

shareimprove this answer
 
 
The stuff you said about size reduction don't seem to have anything to do with Bitcode, other than that Apple decided to include Bitcode within the heading "App Thinning", and some things in App Thinning reduce size. That picture you have is about Slicing, not Bitcode. – user102008 Oct 6 at 5:05

Since the exact question is "what does enable bitcode do", I'd like to give a few thin technical details I've figured out thus far. Most of this is practically impossible to figure out with 100% certainty until Apple releases the source code for this compiler

First, Apple's bitcode does not appear to be the same thing as LLVM bytecode. At least, I've not been able to figure out any resemblance between them. It appears to have a proprietary header (always starts with "xar!") and probably some link-time reference magic that prevents data duplications. If you write out a hardcoded string, this string will only be put into the data once, rather than twice as would be expected if it was normal LLVM bytecode.

Second, bitcode is not really shipped in the binary archive as a separate architecture as might be expected. It is not shipped in the same way as say x86 and ARM are put into one binary (FAT archive). Instead, they use a special section in the architecture specific MachO binary named "__LLVM" which is shipped with every architecture supported (ie, duplicated). I assume this is a short coming with their compiler system and may be fixed in the future to avoid the duplication.

C code (compiled with clang -fembed-bitcode hi.c -S -emit-llvm):

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    printf("hi there!");
    return 0;
}

LLVM IR output:

; ModuleID = '/var/folders/rd/sv6v2_f50nzbrn4f64gnd4gh0000gq/T/hi-a8c16c.bc'
target datalayout = "e-m:o-i64:64-f80:128-n8:16:32:64-S128"
target triple = "x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0"

@.str = private unnamed_addr constant [10 x i8] c"hi there!\00", align 1
@llvm.embedded.module = appending constant [1600 x i8] c"\DE\C0\17\0B\00\00\00\00\14\00\00\00$\06\00\00\07\00\00\01BC\C0\DE!\0C\00\00\86\01\00\00\0B\82 \00\02\00\00\00\12\00\00\00\07\81#\91A\C8\04I\06\1029\92\01\84\0C%\05\08\19\1E\04\8Bb\80\10E\02B\92\0BB\84\102\148\08\18I\0A2D$H\0A\90!#\C4R\80\0C\19!r$\07\C8\08\11b\A8\A0\A8@\C6\F0\01\00\00\00Q\18\00\00\C7\00\00\00\1Bp$\F8\FF\FF\FF\FF\01\90\00\0D\08\03\82\1D\CAa\1E\E6\A1\0D\E0A\1E\CAa\1C\D2a\1E\CA\A1\0D\CC\01\1E\DA!\1C\C8\010\87p`\87y(\07\80p\87wh\03s\90\87ph\87rh\03xx\87tp\07z(\07yh\83r`\87th\07\80\1E\E4\A1\1E\CA\01\18\DC\E1\1D\DA\C0\1C\E4!\1C\DA\A1\1C\DA\00\1E\DE!\1D\DC\81\1E\CAA\1E\DA\A0\1C\D8!\1D\DA\A1\0D\DC\E1\1D\DC\A1\0D\D8\A1\1C\C2\C1\1C\00\C2\1D\DE\A1\0D\D2\C1\1D\CCa\1E\DA\C0\1C\E0\A1\0D\DA!\1C\E8\01\1D\00s\08\07v\98\87r\00\08wx\876p\87pp\87yh\03s\80\876h\87p\A0\07t\00\CC!\1C\D8a\1E\CA\01 \E6\81\1E\C2a\1C\D6\A1\0D\E0A\1E\DE\81\1E\CAa\1C\E8\E1\1D\E4\A1\0D\C4\A1\1E\CC\C1\1C\CAA\1E\DA`\1E\D2A\1F\CA\01\C0\03\80\A0\87p\90\87s(\07zh\83q\80\87z\00\C6\E1\1D\E4\A1\1C\E4\00 \E8!\1C\E4\E1\1C\CA\81\1E\DA\C0\1C\CA!\1C\E8\A1\1E\E4\A1\1C\E6\01X\83y\98\87y(\879`\835\18\07|\88\03;`\835\98\87y(\076X\83y\98\87r\90\036X\83y\98\87r\98\03\80\A8\07w\98\87p0\87rh\03s\80\876h\87p\A0\07t\00\CC!\1C\D8a\1E\CA\01 \EAa\1E\CA\A1\0D\E6\E1\1D\CC\81\1E\DA\C0\1C\D8\E1\1D\C2\81\1E\00s\08\07v\98\87r\006\C8\88\F0\FF\FF\FF\FF\03\C1\0E\E50\0F\F3\D0\06\F0 \0F\E50\0E\E90\0F\E5\D0\06\E6\00\0F\ED\10\0E\E4\00\98C8\B0\C3<\94\03@\B8\C3;\B4\819\C8C8\B4C9\B4\01<\BCC:\B8\03=\94\83<\B4A9\B0C:\B4\03@\0F\F2P\0F\E5\00\0C\EE\F0\0Em`\0E\F2\10\0E\EDP\0Em\00\0F\EF\90\0E\EE@\0F\E5 \0FmP\0E\EC\90\0E\ED\D0\06\EE\F0\0E\EE\D0\06\ECP\0E\E1`\0E\00\E1\0E\EF\D0\06\E9\E0\0E\E60\0Fm`\0E\F0\D0\06\ED\10\0E\F4\80\0E\809\84\03;\CCC9\00\84;\BCC\1B\B8C8\B8\C3<\B4\819\C0C\1B\B4C8\D0\03:\00\E6\10\0E\EC0\0F\E5\00\10\F3@\0F\E10\0E\EB\D0\06\F0 \0F\EF@\0F\E50\0E\F4\F0\0E\F2\D0\06\E2P\0F\E6`\0E\E5 \0Fm0\0F\E9\A0\0F\E5\00\E0\01@\D0C8\C8\C39\94\03=\B4\C18\C0C=\00\E3\F0\0E\F2P\0Er\00\10\F4\10\0E\F2p\0E\E5@\0Fm`\0E\E5\10\0E\F4P\0F\F2P\0E\F3\00\AC\C1<\CC\C3<\94\C3\1C\B0\C1\1A\8C\03>\C4\81\1D\B0\C1\1A\CC\C3<\94\03\1B\AC\C1<\CCC9\C8\01\1B\AC\C1<\CCC9\CC\01@\D4\83;\CCC8\98C9\B4\819\C0C\1B\B4C8\D0\03:\00\E6\10\0E\EC0\0F\E5\00\10\F50\0F\E5\D0\06\F3\F0\0E\E6@\0Fm`\0E\EC\F0\0E\E1@\0F\809\84\03;\CCC9\00\00I\18\00\00\02\00\00\00\13\82`B \00\00\00\89 \00\00\0D\00\00\002\22\08\09 d\85\04\13\22\A4\84\04\13\22\E3\84\A1\90\14\12L\88\8C\0B\84\84L\100s\04H*\00\C5\1C\01\18\94`\88\08\AA0F7\10@3\02\00\134|\C0\03;\F8\05;\A0\836\08\07x\80\07v(\876h\87p\18\87w\98\07|\88\038p\838\80\037\80\83\0DeP\0Em\D0\0Ez\F0\0Em\90\0Ev@\07z`\07t\D0\06\E6\80\07p\A0\07q \07x\D0\06\EE\80\07z\10\07v\A0\07s \07z`\07t\D0\06\B3\10\07r\80\07:\0FDH #EB\80\1D\8C\10\18I\00\00@\00\00\C0\10\A7\00\00 \00\00\00\00\00\00\00\868\08\10\00\02\00\00\00\00\00\00\90\05\02\00\00\08\00\00\002\1E\98\0C\19\11L\90\8C\09&G\C6\04C\9A\22(\01\0AM\D0i\10\1D]\96\97C\00\00\00y\18\00\00\1C\00\00\00\1A\03L\90F\02\134A\18\08&PIC Level\13\84a\D80\04\C2\C05\08\82\83c+\03ab\B2j\02\B1+\93\9BK{s\03\B9q\81q\81\01A\19c\0Bs;k\B9\81\81q\81q\A9\99q\99I\D9\10\14\8D\D8\D8\EC\DA\5C\DA\DE\C8\EA\D8\CA\5C\CC\D8\C2\CE\E6\A6\04C\1566\BB6\974\B227\BA)A\01\00y\18\00\002\00\00\003\08\80\1C\C4\E1\1Cf\14\01=\88C8\84\C3\8CB\80\07yx\07s\98q\0C\E6\00\0F\ED\10\0E\F4\80\0E3\0CB\1E\C2\C1\1D\CE\A1\1Cf0\05=\88C8\84\83\1B\CC\03=\C8C=\8C\03=\CCx\8Ctp\07{\08\07yH\87pp\07zp\03vx\87p \87\19\CC\11\0E\EC\90\0E\E10\0Fn0\0F\E3\F0\0E\F0P\0E3\10\C4\1D\DE!\1C\D8!\1D\C2a\1Ef0\89;\BC\83;\D0C9\B4\03<\BC\83<\84\03;\CC\F0\14v`\07{h\077h\87rh\077\80\87p\90\87p`\07v(\07v\F8\05vx\87w\80\87_\08\87q\18\87r\98\87y\98\81,\EE\F0\0E\EE\E0\0E\F5\C0\0E\EC\00q \00\00\05\00\00\00&`<\11\D2L\85\05\10\0C\804\06@\F8\D2\14\01\00\00a \00\00\0B\00\00\00\13\04A,\10\00\00\00\03\00\00\004#\00dC\19\020\18\83\01\003\11\CA@\0C\83\11\C1\00\00#\06\04\00\1CB\12\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00", section "__LLVM,__bitcode"
@llvm.cmdline = appending constant [67 x i8] c"-triple\00x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0\00-emit-llvm\00-disable-llvm-optzns\00", section "__LLVM,__cmdline"

; Function Attrs: nounwind ssp uwtable
define i32 @main() #0 {
  %1 = alloca i32, align 4
  store i32 0, i32* %1
  %2 = call i32 (i8*, ...)* @printf(i8* getelementptr inbounds ([10 x i8]* @.str, i32 0, i32 0))
  ret i32 0
}

declare i32 @printf(i8*, ...) #1

attributes #0 = { nounwind ssp uwtable "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }
attributes #1 = { "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }

!llvm.module.flags = !{!0}
!llvm.ident = !{!1}

!0 = !{i32 1, !"PIC Level", i32 2}
!1 = !{!"Apple LLVM version 7.0.0 (clang-700.0.53.3)"}

The data array that is in the IR also changes depending on the optimization and other code generation settings of clang. It's completely unknown to me what format or anything that this is in.

EDIT:

Following the hint on Twitter, I decided to revisit this and to confirm it. I followed this blog post and used his bitcode extractor tool to get the Apple Archive binary out of the MachO executable. And after extracting the Apple Archive with the xar utility, I got this (converted to text with llvm-dis of course)

; ModuleID = '1'
target datalayout = "e-m:o-i64:64-f80:128-n8:16:32:64-S128"
target triple = "x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0"

@.str = private unnamed_addr constant [10 x i8] c"hi there!\00", align 1

; Function Attrs: nounwind ssp uwtable
define i32 @main() #0 {
  %1 = alloca i32, align 4
  store i32 0, i32* %1
  %2 = call i32 (i8*, ...) @printf(i8* getelementptr inbounds ([10 x i8], [10 x i8]* @.str, i32 0, i32 0))
  ret i32 0
}

declare i32 @printf(i8*, ...) #1

attributes #0 = { nounwind ssp uwtable "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }
attributes #1 = { "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }

!llvm.module.flags = !{!0}
!llvm.ident = !{!1}

!0 = !{i32 1, !"PIC Level", i32 2}
!1 = !{!"Apple LLVM version 7.0.0 (clang-700.1.76)"}

The only notable difference really between the non-bitcode IR and the bitcode IR is that filenames have been stripped to just 1, 2, etc for each architecture.

I also confirmed that the bitcode embedded in a binary is generated after optimizations. If you compile with -O3 and extract out the bitcode, it'll be different than if you compile with -O0.

And just to get extra credit, I also confirmed that Apple does not ship bitcode to devices when you download an iOS 9 app. They include a number of other strange sections that I don't recognized like __LINKEDIT, but they do not include __LLVM.__bundle, and thus do not appear to include bitcode in the final binary that runs on a device. Oddly enough, Apple still ships fat binaries with separate 32/64bit code to iOS 8 devices though.

shareimprove this answer
 
 
Can Apple's bitcode be decompiled? I.e. can Apple now see our source code? – malhal Jun 25 at 22:00
 
@malcolmhall if it's similar to LLVM code, then only kinda. LLVM bytecode has type information and other hints that can make decompilation much easier and more useful. However, I don't know what's in Apple's bitcode. It probably is at least somewhat more useful, but it's unknown at this point how useful it will be. Either way I highly doubt it'll be as strong of information as say how .NET IL allows almost perfect decompilation to C# code – Earlz Jun 26 at 19:08 
 
Have you seen LLVM's Bitcode File Format? The magic number is different, but Apple is strongly hinting this is the bitcode format. – Jeffery Thomas Jul 7 at 0:18
 
"which is shipped with every architecture supported (ie, duplicated)" it's not duplicated, because bitcode is different for each mach-o slice – AlexDenisov Jul 31 at 10:07 
2  
According to twitter.com/mistydemeo/status/644555663373307904xar! is Apple's archive file format. – Riking Sep 17 at 18:59

Bitcode (iOS, watchOS)

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.


Basically this concept is somewhat similar to java where byte code is run on different JVM's and in this case the bitcode is placed on iTune store and instead of giving the intermediate code to different platforms(devices) it provides the compiled code which don't need any virtual machine to run.

Thus we need to create the bitcode once and it will be available for existing or coming devices. It's the Apple's headache to compile an make it compatible with each platform they have.

Devs don't have to make changes and submit the app again to support new platforms.

Let's take the example of iPhone 5s when apple introduced x64 chip in it. Although x86 apps were totally compatible with x64 architecture but to fully utilise the x64 platform the developer has to change the architecture or some code. Once s/he's done the app is submitted to the app store for the review.

If this bitcode concept was launched earlier then we the developers doesn't have to make any changes to support the x64 bit architecture.

shareimprove this answer
 
 
@user102008 Slicing is a result of enabling Bitcode – kdogisthebest Jun 13 at 5:01
 
@kdogisthebest: No it isn't. Nowhere does it say that. And I've watched the WWDC video on slicing, and it does not every mention enabling Bitcode. – user102008 Jun 13 at 5:02
 
Inder Kumar Rathore when it come to Enterprise App Store How it handle ? do enterprise app store support this feature ? – damithH Jul 14 at 5:42 
 
@damithH There is no enterprise app store, we have to keep apps on our servers. I'm not sure if app thinning will work on enterprise apps or not. But as far as my knowledge it shouldn't be there for enterprise apps – Inder Kumar Rathore Jul 14 at 6:07
 
Please update image in your answer, it's not related to Bitcode. – hsafarya Sep 10 at 8:53

More specifically:

Bitcode. Archive your app for submission to the App Store in an intermediate representation, which is compiled into 64- or 32-bit executables for the target devices when delivered.

Slicing. Artwork incorporated into the Asset Catalog and tagged for a platform allows the App Store to deliver only what is needed for installation.

The way I read this, if you support bitcode, downloaders of your app will only get the compiled architecture needed for their own device.

shareimprove this answer
 
 
In the App Thinning guide (developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documentation/IDEs/…) "Slicing is the process of creating and delivering variants of the app bundle for different target devices. A variant contains only the executable architecture and resources that are needed for the target device." Downloaders of your app only getting their architecture is part of Slicing. – user102008 Oct 6 at 5:02

I have problem with embedded bitcode term.
What is embedded bitcode?
When to enable ENABLE_BITCODE in new Xcode?
What happens to the binary when enabled, ENABLE_BITCODE in Xcode 7 ?

shareimprove this question
 

6 Answers

up vote116down voteaccepted

Bitcode refers to to the type of code: "LLVM Bitcode" that is sent to iTunes Connect. This allows Apple to use certain calculations to re-optimize apps further and downsize executable sizes. If Apple needs to alter your executable then they can do this without a new build being uploaded.

This differs from: Slicing which is the process of Apple optimizing your app for a user's device based on the device's resolution and architecture. Slicing does not require Bitcode. (Ex: only including @2x images on a 5s)

App Thinning is the combination of slicing, bitcode, and on-demand resources

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.

Apple Documentation on App Thinning

shareimprove this answer
 
    
Nothing in what you've quoted says that enabling bitcode decreases the size of the app on the user's device. Bitcode has nothing to do with resources like 3x or 2x. – user102008 Jun 12 at 21:24 
    
@user102008 I included the excerpt about resources – kdogisthebest Jun 13 at 4:47
1  
Again, resources has nothing to do with Bitcode, which is about the code. The downloading by users of only certain architectures of code and certain versions of resources is Slicing, which has nothing to do with Bitcode. – user102008 Jun 13 at 5:09
2  
No, slicing is separating your apps resources into groups for particular devices. Bitcode is what allows Apple to generate an executable for a particular architecture. – Jon Shier Jun 14 at 9:21
1  
@JonShier Apple says "Slicing is the process of creating and delivering variants of the app bundle for different target devices. A variant contains only the executable architecture and resources that are needed for the target device" So slicing is only having the executable code AND resources for a certain device. – kdogisthebest Jun 14 at 14:18

What is embedded bitcode?

According to docs:

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.

Bitcode allows other App Thinning component called Slicing to generate app bundle variants with particular executables for particular architectures, e.g. iPhone 5S variant will include only arm64 executable, iPad Mini armv7 and so on. From "New Features in Xcode 7":

When you archive for submission to the App Store, Xcode will compile your app into an intermediate representation. The App Store will then compile the bitcode down into the 64 or 32 bit executables as necessary.

When to enable ENABLE_BITCODE in new Xcode?

For iOS apps, bitcode is the default, but optional. If you provide bitcode, all apps and frameworks in the app bundle need to include bitcode. For watchOS and tvOS apps, bitcode is required.

What happens to the binary when ENABLE_BITCODE is enabled in the new Xcode?

From Xcode 7 reference:

Activating this setting indicates that the target or project should generate bitcode during compilation for platforms and architectures which support it. For Archive builds, bitcode will be generated in the linked binary for submission to the app store. For other builds, the compiler and linker will check whether the code complies with the requirements for bitcode generation, but will not generate actual bitcode.

Here's a couple of links that will help in deeper understanding of Bitcode:

shareimprove this answer
 
2  
Great links to understand bitcode – BHuelse Oct 8 at 14:28

As far as Bit code and enabling bit code is concerned, the first thing which is required to understand is the story from where all this started.

So, basically if I talk of ENABLE_BITCODE which is introduced in iOS 9, is a part of App Thinning process.

And it is a part of problem which answers "How did Apple manage to reduce the storage size of iOS 9 to 1GB from 5 GB in iOS 8?"

This is due to a new technology called 'App Thinning'

& what exactly is App Thinning ?

App Thinning brings down the iOS 9 OTA update from 4.6GB to 1.3GB, a 71% size reduction. Not only will this help with future OTA updates, but the technology will be available for developers to reduce the storage required by third party apps.

App thinning has basically three components namely- slicing, bitcode, and on-demand resources.

App Slicing: iOS apps are developed to run on a variety of devices, so they come with code to support all them, whether or not your particular device requires it. App Slicing will allow your device to download only those files required by our device. Example: you don't need the 3x iPhone 6 Plus assets if you're running a 4-inch model.

On-Demand Resources (ODRs): It works on the idea that an app probably doesn't need its entire library of resources at any given time, so parts of it can be downloaded or deleted as needed. Developers will be able to specify what code is needed at what times by tagging sections of code as ODRs. These portions will be automatically downloaded from the App Store when they are required and deleted when they won't be needed again.

Bitcode: It refers to an "intermediate representation" of an app that developers will upload to the App Store rather than a pre-compiled binary. This works hand-in-hand with App Slicing, allowing the bitcode to be compiled on demand as 32-bit or 64-bit, depending on the downloading device. This will also allow any compiler improvements made by Apple to be implemented automatically, rather than having developers resubmit their apps.

enter image description here

shareimprove this answer
 
    
The stuff you said about size reduction don't seem to have anything to do with Bitcode, other than that Apple decided to include Bitcode within the heading "App Thinning", and some things in App Thinning reduce size. That picture you have is about Slicing, not Bitcode. – user102008 Oct 6 at 5:05

Since the exact question is "what does enable bitcode do", I'd like to give a few thin technical details I've figured out thus far. Most of this is practically impossible to figure out with 100% certainty until Apple releases the source code for this compiler

First, Apple's bitcode does not appear to be the same thing as LLVM bytecode. At least, I've not been able to figure out any resemblance between them. It appears to have a proprietary header (always starts with "xar!") and probably some link-time reference magic that prevents data duplications. If you write out a hardcoded string, this string will only be put into the data once, rather than twice as would be expected if it was normal LLVM bytecode.

Second, bitcode is not really shipped in the binary archive as a separate architecture as might be expected. It is not shipped in the same way as say x86 and ARM are put into one binary (FAT archive). Instead, they use a special section in the architecture specific MachO binary named "__LLVM" which is shipped with every architecture supported (ie, duplicated). I assume this is a short coming with their compiler system and may be fixed in the future to avoid the duplication.

C code (compiled with clang -fembed-bitcode hi.c -S -emit-llvm):

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    printf("hi there!");
    return 0;
}

LLVM IR output:

; ModuleID = '/var/folders/rd/sv6v2_f50nzbrn4f64gnd4gh0000gq/T/hi-a8c16c.bc'
target datalayout = "e-m:o-i64:64-f80:128-n8:16:32:64-S128"
target triple = "x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0"

@.str = private unnamed_addr constant [10 x i8] c"hi there!\00", align 1
@llvm.embedded.module = appending constant [1600 x i8] c"\DE\C0\17\0B\00\00\00\00\14\00\00\00$\06\00\00\07\00\00\01BC\C0\DE!\0C\00\00\86\01\00\00\0B\82 \00\02\00\00\00\12\00\00\00\07\81#\91A\C8\04I\06\1029\92\01\84\0C%\05\08\19\1E\04\8Bb\80\10E\02B\92\0BB\84\102\148\08\18I\0A2D$H\0A\90!#\C4R\80\0C\19!r$\07\C8\08\11b\A8\A0\A8@\C6\F0\01\00\00\00Q\18\00\00\C7\00\00\00\1Bp$\F8\FF\FF\FF\FF\01\90\00\0D\08\03\82\1D\CAa\1E\E6\A1\0D\E0A\1E\CAa\1C\D2a\1E\CA\A1\0D\CC\01\1E\DA!\1C\C8\010\87p`\87y(\07\80p\87wh\03s\90\87ph\87rh\03xx\87tp\07z(\07yh\83r`\87th\07\80\1E\E4\A1\1E\CA\01\18\DC\E1\1D\DA\C0\1C\E4!\1C\DA\A1\1C\DA\00\1E\DE!\1D\DC\81\1E\CAA\1E\DA\A0\1C\D8!\1D\DA\A1\0D\DC\E1\1D\DC\A1\0D\D8\A1\1C\C2\C1\1C\00\C2\1D\DE\A1\0D\D2\C1\1D\CCa\1E\DA\C0\1C\E0\A1\0D\DA!\1C\E8\01\1D\00s\08\07v\98\87r\00\08wx\876p\87pp\87yh\03s\80\876h\87p\A0\07t\00\CC!\1C\D8a\1E\CA\01 \E6\81\1E\C2a\1C\D6\A1\0D\E0A\1E\DE\81\1E\CAa\1C\E8\E1\1D\E4\A1\0D\C4\A1\1E\CC\C1\1C\CAA\1E\DA`\1E\D2A\1F\CA\01\C0\03\80\A0\87p\90\87s(\07zh\83q\80\87z\00\C6\E1\1D\E4\A1\1C\E4\00 \E8!\1C\E4\E1\1C\CA\81\1E\DA\C0\1C\CA!\1C\E8\A1\1E\E4\A1\1C\E6\01X\83y\98\87y(\879`\835\18\07|\88\03;`\835\98\87y(\076X\83y\98\87r\90\036X\83y\98\87r\98\03\80\A8\07w\98\87p0\87rh\03s\80\876h\87p\A0\07t\00\CC!\1C\D8a\1E\CA\01 \EAa\1E\CA\A1\0D\E6\E1\1D\CC\81\1E\DA\C0\1C\D8\E1\1D\C2\81\1E\00s\08\07v\98\87r\006\C8\88\F0\FF\FF\FF\FF\03\C1\0E\E50\0F\F3\D0\06\F0 \0F\E50\0E\E90\0F\E5\D0\06\E6\00\0F\ED\10\0E\E4\00\98C8\B0\C3<\94\03@\B8\C3;\B4\819\C8C8\B4C9\B4\01<\BCC:\B8\03=\94\83<\B4A9\B0C:\B4\03@\0F\F2P\0F\E5\00\0C\EE\F0\0Em`\0E\F2\10\0E\EDP\0Em\00\0F\EF\90\0E\EE@\0F\E5 \0FmP\0E\EC\90\0E\ED\D0\06\EE\F0\0E\EE\D0\06\ECP\0E\E1`\0E\00\E1\0E\EF\D0\06\E9\E0\0E\E60\0Fm`\0E\F0\D0\06\ED\10\0E\F4\80\0E\809\84\03;\CCC9\00\84;\BCC\1B\B8C8\B8\C3<\B4\819\C0C\1B\B4C8\D0\03:\00\E6\10\0E\EC0\0F\E5\00\10\F3@\0F\E10\0E\EB\D0\06\F0 \0F\EF@\0F\E50\0E\F4\F0\0E\F2\D0\06\E2P\0F\E6`\0E\E5 \0Fm0\0F\E9\A0\0F\E5\00\E0\01@\D0C8\C8\C39\94\03=\B4\C18\C0C=\00\E3\F0\0E\F2P\0Er\00\10\F4\10\0E\F2p\0E\E5@\0Fm`\0E\E5\10\0E\F4P\0F\F2P\0E\F3\00\AC\C1<\CC\C3<\94\C3\1C\B0\C1\1A\8C\03>\C4\81\1D\B0\C1\1A\CC\C3<\94\03\1B\AC\C1<\CCC9\C8\01\1B\AC\C1<\CCC9\CC\01@\D4\83;\CCC8\98C9\B4\819\C0C\1B\B4C8\D0\03:\00\E6\10\0E\EC0\0F\E5\00\10\F50\0F\E5\D0\06\F3\F0\0E\E6@\0Fm`\0E\EC\F0\0E\E1@\0F\809\84\03;\CCC9\00\00I\18\00\00\02\00\00\00\13\82`B \00\00\00\89 \00\00\0D\00\00\002\22\08\09 d\85\04\13\22\A4\84\04\13\22\E3\84\A1\90\14\12L\88\8C\0B\84\84L\100s\04H*\00\C5\1C\01\18\94`\88\08\AA0F7\10@3\02\00\134|\C0\03;\F8\05;\A0\836\08\07x\80\07v(\876h\87p\18\87w\98\07|\88\038p\838\80\037\80\83\0DeP\0Em\D0\0Ez\F0\0Em\90\0Ev@\07z`\07t\D0\06\E6\80\07p\A0\07q \07x\D0\06\EE\80\07z\10\07v\A0\07s \07z`\07t\D0\06\B3\10\07r\80\07:\0FDH #EB\80\1D\8C\10\18I\00\00@\00\00\C0\10\A7\00\00 \00\00\00\00\00\00\00\868\08\10\00\02\00\00\00\00\00\00\90\05\02\00\00\08\00\00\002\1E\98\0C\19\11L\90\8C\09&G\C6\04C\9A\22(\01\0AM\D0i\10\1D]\96\97C\00\00\00y\18\00\00\1C\00\00\00\1A\03L\90F\02\134A\18\08&PIC Level\13\84a\D80\04\C2\C05\08\82\83c+\03ab\B2j\02\B1+\93\9BK{s\03\B9q\81q\81\01A\19c\0Bs;k\B9\81\81q\81q\A9\99q\99I\D9\10\14\8D\D8\D8\EC\DA\5C\DA\DE\C8\EA\D8\CA\5C\CC\D8\C2\CE\E6\A6\04C\1566\BB6\974\B227\BA)A\01\00y\18\00\002\00\00\003\08\80\1C\C4\E1\1Cf\14\01=\88C8\84\C3\8CB\80\07yx\07s\98q\0C\E6\00\0F\ED\10\0E\F4\80\0E3\0CB\1E\C2\C1\1D\CE\A1\1Cf0\05=\88C8\84\83\1B\CC\03=\C8C=\8C\03=\CCx\8Ctp\07{\08\07yH\87pp\07zp\03vx\87p \87\19\CC\11\0E\EC\90\0E\E10\0Fn0\0F\E3\F0\0E\F0P\0E3\10\C4\1D\DE!\1C\D8!\1D\C2a\1Ef0\89;\BC\83;\D0C9\B4\03<\BC\83<\84\03;\CC\F0\14v`\07{h\077h\87rh\077\80\87p\90\87p`\07v(\07v\F8\05vx\87w\80\87_\08\87q\18\87r\98\87y\98\81,\EE\F0\0E\EE\E0\0E\F5\C0\0E\EC\00q \00\00\05\00\00\00&`<\11\D2L\85\05\10\0C\804\06@\F8\D2\14\01\00\00a \00\00\0B\00\00\00\13\04A,\10\00\00\00\03\00\00\004#\00dC\19\020\18\83\01\003\11\CA@\0C\83\11\C1\00\00#\06\04\00\1CB\12\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00\00", section "__LLVM,__bitcode"
@llvm.cmdline = appending constant [67 x i8] c"-triple\00x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0\00-emit-llvm\00-disable-llvm-optzns\00", section "__LLVM,__cmdline"

; Function Attrs: nounwind ssp uwtable
define i32 @main() #0 {
  %1 = alloca i32, align 4
  store i32 0, i32* %1
  %2 = call i32 (i8*, ...)* @printf(i8* getelementptr inbounds ([10 x i8]* @.str, i32 0, i32 0))
  ret i32 0
}

declare i32 @printf(i8*, ...) #1

attributes #0 = { nounwind ssp uwtable "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }
attributes #1 = { "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }

!llvm.module.flags = !{!0}
!llvm.ident = !{!1}

!0 = !{i32 1, !"PIC Level", i32 2}
!1 = !{!"Apple LLVM version 7.0.0 (clang-700.0.53.3)"}

The data array that is in the IR also changes depending on the optimization and other code generation settings of clang. It's completely unknown to me what format or anything that this is in.

EDIT:

Following the hint on Twitter, I decided to revisit this and to confirm it. I followed this blog post and used his bitcode extractor tool to get the Apple Archive binary out of the MachO executable. And after extracting the Apple Archive with the xar utility, I got this (converted to text with llvm-dis of course)

; ModuleID = '1'
target datalayout = "e-m:o-i64:64-f80:128-n8:16:32:64-S128"
target triple = "x86_64-apple-macosx10.10.0"

@.str = private unnamed_addr constant [10 x i8] c"hi there!\00", align 1

; Function Attrs: nounwind ssp uwtable
define i32 @main() #0 {
  %1 = alloca i32, align 4
  store i32 0, i32* %1
  %2 = call i32 (i8*, ...) @printf(i8* getelementptr inbounds ([10 x i8], [10 x i8]* @.str, i32 0, i32 0))
  ret i32 0
}

declare i32 @printf(i8*, ...) #1

attributes #0 = { nounwind ssp uwtable "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }
attributes #1 = { "less-precise-fpmad"="false" "no-frame-pointer-elim"="true" "no-frame-pointer-elim-non-leaf" "no-infs-fp-math"="false" "no-nans-fp-math"="false" "stack-protector-buffer-size"="8" "target-cpu"="core2" "target-features"="+ssse3,+cx16,+sse,+sse2,+sse3" "unsafe-fp-math"="false" "use-soft-float"="false" }

!llvm.module.flags = !{!0}
!llvm.ident = !{!1}

!0 = !{i32 1, !"PIC Level", i32 2}
!1 = !{!"Apple LLVM version 7.0.0 (clang-700.1.76)"}

The only notable difference really between the non-bitcode IR and the bitcode IR is that filenames have been stripped to just 1, 2, etc for each architecture.

I also confirmed that the bitcode embedded in a binary is generated after optimizations. If you compile with -O3 and extract out the bitcode, it'll be different than if you compile with -O0.

And just to get extra credit, I also confirmed that Apple does not ship bitcode to devices when you download an iOS 9 app. They include a number of other strange sections that I don't recognized like __LINKEDIT, but they do not include __LLVM.__bundle, and thus do not appear to include bitcode in the final binary that runs on a device. Oddly enough, Apple still ships fat binaries with separate 32/64bit code to iOS 8 devices though.

shareimprove this answer
 
    
Can Apple's bitcode be decompiled? I.e. can Apple now see our source code? – malhal Jun 25 at 22:00
    
@malcolmhall if it's similar to LLVM code, then only kinda. LLVM bytecode has type information and other hints that can make decompilation much easier and more useful. However, I don't know what's in Apple's bitcode. It probably is at least somewhat more useful, but it's unknown at this point how useful it will be. Either way I highly doubt it'll be as strong of information as say how .NET IL allows almost perfect decompilation to C# code – Earlz Jun 26 at 19:08 
    
Have you seen LLVM's Bitcode File Format? The magic number is different, but Apple is strongly hinting this is the bitcode format. – Jeffery Thomas Jul 7 at 0:18
    
"which is shipped with every architecture supported (ie, duplicated)" it's not duplicated, because bitcode is different for each mach-o slice – AlexDenisov Jul 31 at 10:07 
2  
According to twitter.com/mistydemeo/status/644555663373307904xar! is Apple's archive file format. – Riking Sep 17 at 18:59

Bitcode (iOS, watchOS)

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of a compiled program. Apps you upload to iTunes Connect that contain bitcode will be compiled and linked on the App Store. Including bitcode will allow Apple to re-optimize your app binary in the future without the need to submit a new version of your app to the store.


Basically this concept is somewhat similar to java where byte code is run on different JVM's and in this case the bitcode is placed on iTune store and instead of giving the intermediate code to different platforms(devices) it provides the compiled code which don't need any virtual machine to run.

Thus we need to create the bitcode once and it will be available for existing or coming devices. It's the Apple's headache to compile an make it compatible with each platform they have.

Devs don't have to make changes and submit the app again to support new platforms.

Let's take the example of iPhone 5s when apple introduced x64 chip in it. Although x86 apps were totally compatible with x64 architecture but to fully utilise the x64 platform the developer has to change the architecture or some code. Once s/he's done the app is submitted to the app store for the review.

If this bitcode concept was launched earlier then we the developers doesn't have to make any changes to support the x64 bit architecture.

shareimprove this answer
 
    
@user102008 Slicing is a result of enabling Bitcode – kdogisthebest Jun 13 at 5:01
    
@kdogisthebest: No it isn't. Nowhere does it say that. And I've watched the WWDC video on slicing, and it does not every mention enabling Bitcode. – user102008 Jun 13 at 5:02
    
Inder Kumar Rathore when it come to Enterprise App Store How it handle ? do enterprise app store support this feature ? – damithH Jul 14 at 5:42 
    
@damithH There is no enterprise app store, we have to keep apps on our servers. I'm not sure if app thinning will work on enterprise apps or not. But as far as my knowledge it shouldn't be there for enterprise apps – Inder Kumar Rathore Jul 14 at 6:07
    
Please update image in your answer, it's not related to Bitcode. – hsafarya Sep 10 at 8:53

More specifically:

Bitcode. Archive your app for submission to the App Store in an intermediate representation, which is compiled into 64- or 32-bit executables for the target devices when delivered.

Slicing. Artwork incorporated into the Asset Catalog and tagged for a platform allows the App Store to deliver only what is needed for installation.

The way I read this, if you support bitcode, downloaders of your app will only get the compiled architecture needed for their own device.

shareimprove this answer
 
    
In the App Thinning guide (developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/documentation/IDEs/…) "Slicing is the process of creating and delivering variants of the app bundle for different target devices. A variant contains only the executable architecture and resources that are needed for the target device." Downloaders of your app only getting their architecture is part of Slicing. – user102008 Oct 6 at 5:02
0
0

查看评论
* 以上用户言论只代表其个人观点,不代表CSDN网站的观点或立场
    个人资料
    • 访问:500005次
    • 积分:6041
    • 等级:
    • 排名:第4453名
    • 原创:403篇
    • 转载:413篇
    • 译文:0篇
    • 评论:50条
    文章分类
    最新评论