Version 2 (modified by StephenBlackheath, 5 years ago) (diff)


Cross-compiling GHC to iOS

Status of cross-compilation to iOS is in ticket #7724. It also requires a pull request for Cabal, which is at

Currently we do not build fat binaries (we'd like to fix this), which means you need to choose the right architecture for your device.


1. Read ARM-specific notes

See Cross-compiling GHC at the bottom. In particular, you need to install llvm version 3.0 or >= 3.2.

2. Scripts

Place these scripts somewhere in your path:




TARGET_CFLAGS="-isysroot $TARGET_PLATFORM -march=armv7 -mcpu=cortex-a8 -mfpu=neon"









exec $TARGET_NM "$@"

arm-apple-darwin10-cabal (not needed during the build, but useful afterwards)

exec cabal --with-ghc=arm-apple-darwin10-ghc --with-ghc-pkg=arm-apple-darwin10-ghc-pkg --with-ld=arm-apple-darwin10-ld \
--configure-option=--host=arm-apple-darwin10 --host-arch=arm --host-os=ios \

Edit these scripts to ensure:

  1. The -march option is correct for your device
  1. The platform version matches what you are compiling to in Xcode

3. Check out GHC

Check out as described at Building and Porting GHC, except use the following for your sync-all to omit dph packages, because Template Haskell doesn't work yet, and dph depends on it:

./sync-all --no-dph get
perl boot

4. Create a file

GHC requires you to write a mk/ file, and the following one works. integer-simple must be used, because the default implementation doesn't compile on iOS. Stage1Only is needed for cross-compiling.

SPLIT_OBJS         = NO
INTEGER_LIBRARY    = integer-simple
Stage1Only 	   = YES

5. Configure & build

./configure --target=arm-apple-darwin10 --prefix=/usr/local/ghc-ios/
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/ghc-ios/
sudo make install

6. Compile your Haskell code

Open a terminal and add /usr/local/ghc-ios/bin to your PATH environment variable.

Here's a skeleton haskell.hs to get you started:

{-# LANGUAGE ForeignFunctionInterface #-}

import Foreign
import Foreign.C

foreign import ccall safe "c_main" c_main :: IO ()

main = do
    putStrLn "Haskell start"

The main() function in main.m must be changed to something like this, because Haskell's main now runs first.

int c_main(void)
    int argc = 1;
    char* argv[2];
    argv[0] = "dummy";
    argv[1] = NULL;		
    @autoreleasepool {
        return UIApplicationMain(argc, argv, nil, NSStringFromClass([AppDelegate class]));

Now compile it:

arm-apple-darwin10-ghc haskell.hs -threaded

Ignore the copious warnings about "truncation and blank padding" and "has no symbols" (until someone fixes them).

This will create (in this example) haskell.a.

7. Set up Xcode

Create a new skeleton Xcode project using the wizard, and make sure it runs on your device. Now configure it as follows:

  • Click on the top node in the project tree, then go to the Build Settings tab. Set Dead Code Stripping to No. This is needed because GHC generates "tables next to code", and without this setting, Xcode thinks the tables are dead code and strips them, causing a crash.
  • Click on the top node in the project tree, then go to the Build Phases tab. Click on Link Binary With Libraries to open it then click +. Choose libiconv.dylib then click Add.
  • When you've compiled your Haskell code to a .a (e.g. haskell.a) file, add it to the project anywhere in the hierarchy with Add files to (project) in the right-mouse button menu.

8. Build and run

Run the project again as usual, and Xcode will pick up the haskell.a file and your Haskell code should now run on your iOS device. Anything printed with putStrLn will appear in the Xcode runtime console.

Each time you modify your Haskell code you'll need to re-compile from the command line before re-building in Xcode. It is possible to automate this in Xcode if you wish.