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How to build an expo app on a PC

One of the big advantages of Expo is that you can build for iOS on a PC. However, the answer to the question ‘how to build an expo app on a PC’ seemed surprisingly hard to find in the documentation.

Before you follow these steps I have presumed that as a Windows user you’ve already installed the WSL as outlined here. I’m also presuming that you’ve built an Expo app! Once you have then you are ready to build your app.

  1. Open Powershell as administrator by right-clicking the Powershell icon and selecting ‘run as administrator’
  2. Type – Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
    Restart PC (I’m not totally sure this is necessary, do your own tests!)
  3. Open git bash at the project root
  4. Type expo build:ios

Please note if you see a message saying “Additional information needed to setup credentials in non-interactive mode.” use CMD instead. I have seen lots of info saying don’t use Git Bash for this, but honestly on my PC it seems a bit hit or miss. Rule of thumb is try both!

Build your Expo App on the PC

Open CMD, navigate to project root, run expo:build:ios.

Let Expo manage the process for you and as long as you had all your profiles and certificates set up ok in your Apple Developer account then Expo should be able to put it all together and you’ll see a message saying that your build is queued. There’s a link provided in the output which will let you both see the progress of your Expo build and download the IPA file once it’s finished.

Expo credentials manager

If there are any issues with any stage of this and you need to take a look at the certificates and provisioning profiles that Expo is trying to use, then go to expo credentials:manager and follow the on-screen prompts. You can remove the certificates it’s trying to use and start the whole process again. This Expo page is really useful as it explains what each bit is for clearly.