Faster automated screenshots: fastlane’s snapshot now supports multiple concurrent simulators

by David Ohayon, Software Engineer

fastlane-snapshot-header.png

Every mobile developer needs to take app screenshots in order to have their app listed on the app stores. Like a book cover, screenshots are crucial in depicting the best parts of your app and convincing potential users to download it.

Unfortunately, generating app screenshots is a huge pain because they take a ton of time, especially if your app supports different locales and languages. For example, if you need to take 5 screenshots for your app store listing - but your app supports 20 languages for 6 devices - you’ll manually have to take 600 screenshots (5 x 20 x 6)! It makes us shudder to think how many precious hours that would eat up.

fastlane’s snapshot tool automates the process of taking screenshots (in the background) so you can focus on building features users love. Today, we’re excited to share that snapshot now supports multiple, concurrent simulators for iOS apps in Xcode 9. Taking screenshots just got even faster because you can now generate screenshots for all of your devices at the same time!

Speeding up screenshots (even more!)

Before Xcode 9, only one simulator could be running at a time, which means that you had to run snapshot once for each device you wish to support. While snapshot automated the process of taking screenshots, we wanted to make things even easier.

The launch of Xcode 9 gave us another opportunity to improve snapshot. In Xcode 9, multiple UI tests can run simultaneously, so we added multiple simulator support to snapshot as well. Now, you can take screenshots for all specified devices with a single command, at the same time. This drastically shortens the time it takes to generate your screenshots.

Here's an example:

fastlane-snapshot-comparison.png

More exciting updates on the way

fastlane’s mission is to save you time by automating the cumbersome tasks of app deployment, even as mobile evolves. That’s why we’re fully committed to updating the fastlane toolset to take advantage of new releases and features - such as Xcode 9.

And since fastlane is open source, we’re so thankful that our community also helps us make fastlane better by building and using plugins. In fact, we now have more user-generated plugins available for you to try than native fastlane actions. We recently reorganized these plugins to make it easier to find the right plugins for your unique needs.

We always strive to anticipate your needs and build our tools to be ready for the future. To start using the new version of snapshot, simply update fastlane and run snapshot as you normally would. If you’re taking screenshots manually, check out our guide to start using snapshot (and enjoy the extra free time!). As always, we can’t wait to hear what you think!