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Chisel is a collection of LLDB commands to assist debugging iOS apps.

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is a collection of
commands to assist in the debugging of iOS apps.

[InstallationCommandsCustom CommandsDevelopment Workflow ContributingLicense]

For a comprehensive overview of LLDB, and how Chisel complements it, read Ari Grant's Dancing in the Debugger — A Waltz with LLDB in issue 19 of


brew update
brew install chisel


file doesn't exist you can create it & open it by tapping on the terminal
 touch .lldbinit 
 open .lldbinit 

Then add the following line to your

# ~/.lldbinit
command script import /usr/local/opt/chisel/libexec/

Alternatively, download chisel and add the following line to your ~/.lldbinit file.

# ~/.lldbinit
command script import /path/to/

The commands will be available the next time



There are many commands; here's a few: (Compatibility with iOS/Mac indicated at right)

|Command |Description |iOS |OS X | |-----------------|----------------|-------|-------| |pviews |Print the recursive view description for the key window.|Yes|Yes| |pvc |Print the recursive view controller description for the key window.|Yes|No| |visualize |Open a

(of an image),
, or
in on your Mac.|Yes|No| |fv |Find a view in the hierarchy whose class name matches the provided regex.|Yes|No| |fvc |Find a view controller in the hierarchy whose class name matches the provided regex.|Yes|No| |show/hide |Show or hide the given view or layer. You don't even have to continue the process to see the changes!|Yes|Yes| |mask/unmask |Overlay a view or layer with a transparent rectangle to visualize where it is.|Yes|No| |border/unborder |Add a border to a view or layer to visualize where it is.|Yes|Yes| |caflush |Flush the render server (equivalent to a "repaint" if no animations are in-flight).|Yes|Yes| |bmessage |Set a symbolic breakpoint on the method of a class or the method of an instance without worrying which class in the hierarchy actually implements the method.|Yes|Yes| |wivar |Set a watchpoint on an instance variable of an object.|Yes|Yes| |presponder |Print the responder chain starting from the given object.|Yes|Yes| |... |... and many more!|

To see the list of all of the commands execute the help command in

or go to the Wiki.
(lldb) help
The following is a list of built-in, permanent debugger commands:

The following is a list of your current user-defined commands: ...

The bottom list contains all the commands sourced from


You can also inspect a specific command by passing its name as an argument to the help command (as with all other

(lldb) help border
Draws a border around . Color and width can be optionally provided.

Arguments: ; Type: UIView*; The view to border.

Options: --color/-c ; Type: string; A color name such as 'red', 'green', 'magenta', etc. --width/-w ; Type: CGFloat; Desired width of border.

Syntax: border [--color=color] [--width=width]

All of the commands provided by

come with verbose help. Be sure to read it when in doubt!

Custom Commands

You can add local, custom commands. Here's a contrived example.

# Example file with custom commands, located at /magical/commands/

import lldb import fbchisellldbbase as fb

def lldbcommands(): return [ PrintKeyWindowLevel() ]

class PrintKeyWindowLevel(fb.FBCommand): def name(self): return 'pkeywinlevel'

def description(self): return 'An incredibly contrived command that prints the window level of the key window.'

def run(self, arguments, options): # It's a good habit to explicitly cast the type of all return # values and arguments. LLDB can't always find them on its own. lldb.debugger.HandleCommand('p (CGFloat)[(id)[(id)[UIApplication sharedApplication] keyWindow] windowLevel]')

Then all that's left is to source the commands in lldbinit.

has a python function just for this, loadCommandsInDirectory in the module.
# ~/.lldbinit
command script import /path/to/
script fbobjclldb.loadCommandsInDirectory('/magical/commands/')

There's also builtin support to make it super easy to specify the arguments and options that a command takes. See the border and pinvocation commands for example use.

Development Workflow

Developing commands, whether for local use or contributing to

directly, both follow the same workflow. Create a command as described in the Custom Commands section and then
  1. Start
  2. Reach a breakpoint (or simply pause execution via the pause button in
    's debug bar or
    process interrupt
    if attached directly)
  3. Execute
    command source ~/.lldbinit
    in LLDB to source the commands
  4. Run the command you are working on
  5. Modify the command
  6. Optionally run
    script reload(modulename)
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 until the command becomes a source of happiness


Please contribute any generic commands that you make. If it helps you then it will likely help many others! :D See
to learn how to contribute.


is MIT-licensed. See

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