Lokalise iOS SDK

Updated 23 days ago ​by Nick Ustinov

This guide assumes that you have already prepared your iOS app for localization. Need help with this? Read our Getting started with iOS localization tutorial. If you are experienced with iOS localization, give it a quick look as well, just to be on the same page.
Upgrading from Lokalise iOS SDK 0.5 or older? Learn how.


Lokalise iOS SDK comes as CocoaPod library and can be easily integrated into your Objective-C or Swift project. Once the translations are finalized in Lokalise editor, you generate bundle using Lokalise Download page (or use the API request to generate it). As end user opens your app on his device, the SDK requests latest version of the bundle from our servers and if found downloads and stores it locally.

There is additional iOS SDK Live Edit Module, which allows instant preview and updates on the connected device.


  • Over-the-air (OTA) localization
  • Instant UI language switching 
  • Test localizations (using prerelease bundles)
  • NSBundle swizzling for transparent integration
  • XIB and storyboard localization


System localization

Some of the system interface objects might not get translated (search bar for example) when changing application language at runtime.

UI localization

In case you choose not to use swizzling, storyboards and nibs will not be localized using our SDK. 

Getting started

Step 1: Set up your project in Lokalise

If you have not done so yet, add new project in Lokalise, upload source language files you may have (or just add keys straight in Lokalise's editor if it's a new app you are building). Take a note of project ID, that can be found in project settings, usually it looks like this:


You also need a read-only API token. You can generate it in Personal profile under API tokens tab. It looks like this:


Step 2: Generate the bundle

Go to Downloads page in Lokalise, select "Lokalise iOS SDK" as the format and click Build only button to generate the bundle. You will be automatically taken to the bundle versions management page at projects settings. Leave the switches as is for now, see details in Managing bundles section.

Make sure to always include fresh Localizable.strings in your project when releasing the app. There are various ways to automate this process, please refer to Part III - Integrating with your project in Getting started with iOS localization tutorial.

Step 3: Install Lokalise SDK

To install using CocoaPods simply add this line to your Podfile

pod 'Lokalise', '~> 0.7.0'

Dependencies will be installed automatically. 

If you would like to install manually, download Lokalise.framework and add it to your project and link c++ (libc++.tbd) and (lib.tbd) libraries.


Initialising the SDK

We recommend initiate Lokalise iOS SDK within - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions

// Provide API Token and Project ID
[[Lokalise sharedObject] setAPIToken:@"API Token" projectID:@"Project ID"];
// Enable swizzling
[[Lokalise sharedObject] swizzleMainBundle];

Checking for updates

To check for updates more often move checkForUpdateWithCompletion: call to applicationDidBecomeActive: method of your app delegate. It will be called every time  application is launched or restored from background.

- (void)applicationDidBecomeActive:(UIApplication *)application {
    [[Lokalise sharedObject] checkForUpdatesWithCompletion:^(BOOL updated, NSError * _Nullable error) {
        NSLog(@"Updated %d\nError: %@", updated, error);

Updating UI

Lokalise posts LokaliseDidUpdateLocalizationNotification when localization or localizationType is updated. Subscribe to it in any view controller or model to react and update your UI.

- (void)viewDidLoad {
    [super viewDidLoad];
- (void)updateUserInterface {
    // Update your interface

Referring keys

No updates are needed to your code with swizzling enabled, refer to the keys as usual:

NSLocalizedString(@"key", @"comment");
NSLocalizedStringFromTable(@"key", @"tableName", @"comment");

If you have not enabled bundle swizzling, you can refer to the keys using Lokalise SDK directly:

[[Lokalise sharedObject] localizedStringForKey:@"key" value:@"default value" table:@"table name"];

Managing bundles

Publishing changes

Lokalise supports production and prerelease versions of the bundle and lets you keep different versions of each bundle. 

    After you make changes in Lokalise editor, navigate to Downloads section in the project and select Lokalise iOS SDK as the format.

As the bundle is generated, it would take you to project settings / Lokalise iOS SDK section. Flip the according switch in front of the bundle to publish it to production or prerelease (see Testing your localizations section below for description).

Triggering the switches instantly publishes according bundle. 

Testing your localizations

If you are building for TestFlight or Crashlytics and don't want to mess up production app's strings, want to see local translation or no translation at all, it's handy to use localizationType option. If it's LokaliseLocalizationPrerelease, the SDK would download fresh Prerelease bundle (according to the table on image above).

// Loads production localization (Default type).
[Lokalise sharedObject].localizationType = LokaliseLocalizationRelease;
// Loads prerelease localization.
[Lokalise sharedObject].localizationType = LokaliseLocalizationPrerelease;
// Uses localization included in local app bundle.
[Lokalise sharedObject].localizationType = LokaliseLocalizationLocal;
// Returns keys instead of localized string.
[Lokalise sharedObject].localizationType = LokaliseLocalizationDebug;

Adding languages

You need to add language in your Xcode project, only then it becomes available in the app. Lokalise SDK does not dynamically add language to the app if you add it in Lokalise.

Compliance with App Store Review Guidelines

Lokalise iOS SDK is compliant with Software Requirements defined in App Store Review Guidelines. Lokalise doesn't load executable code prohibited by rule 2.5.2.


If you encounter crash that recursively calls these methods

[NSBundle(Lokalise) lokalise_localizedStringsForKey:value:table:]
[Lokalise localizedStringForKey:value:table:]

Ensure that your Localizable.strings and other .strings files are localized as default language of your project and NOT Base language. 

If this doesn't help or you are experiencing other issues contacts us in live support chat that you can find in bottom right corner of this page.

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