Is Apple silicon M2 the future of mobile CI/CD?

Right before WWDC 2022, Bitrise announced the first scalable virtualized Apple Silicon M1 CI/CD dev environment. Then Apple announced M2 for iOS, and everyone wonders, is M2 in the cloud happening?

Right before WWDC 2022, Bitrise announced the first scalable virtualized Apple Silicon M1 CI/CD dev environment. Then Apple announced M2 for iOS, and everyone wonders, is M2 in the cloud happening?

Apple silicon is Apple’s own chipset, powering the new generation of Macs. Macs with M1 chips, the first-generation of Apple silicon, are significantly faster than their Intel-based predecessors.

Because the architecture of Apple silicon chips is significantly different from that of Intel, software that runs on these Apple silicon-powered Macs needs to be built specifically to run on those machines.

Slowly but surely, more software and tools will be built to run natively on Apple silicon, because Apple won’t make Intel-based Macs anymore. This means at some point in the future, “running on a Mac” will always mean “running on Apple silicon”. In other words, iOS development will only happen on Apple silicon.

M1 is faster than Intel chips, so running iOS workflows on M1 today already cuts build time significantly. Therefore, a lot of companies have already provided their iOS developers with M1-based machines to increase developer productivity.

When these developers build iOS apps locally on Apple silicon and then run automated CI/CD workflows in the cloud on Intel-based macOS environments, there’ll be bugs and discrepancies between the two environments. Having access to M1 compute options will eliminate the discrepancy between their local - and cloud environments, cutting down on flakiness and firefighting.

Enter M2, the second generation of Apple silicon, announced during WWDC 2022.

Even though the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro featuring M2 have just been unveiled during WWDC, using M2 for mobile CICD seems far off, because M2 Mac minis sporting larger RAM (32GB or 64GB) were missing in the WWDC 2022 lineup, which means - no M2 in the cloud just yet.

Fret not - until M2 Mac minis with larger RAM become reality, since M1 is already faster than Intel-based chips, running iOS workflows on Bitrise’s virtualized M1 environment today can already cut down build time significantly.

On Bitrise, we enable developers with both Intel- and Apple silicon-based CI/CD pipelines to ease the development transition. Be the first out of the gate with Apple silicon-specific features and functionality, and get a head start on the migration of your iOS development efforts to Apple silicon.

Bitrise ensures that your team will always have access to the latest features and functionality they need for mobile development, including Xcode on M2 in the future.

Read more about how to get access to M1 today here.

Happy building!

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