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Basic data

developer Apple
Current  version 10.2.1
(April 17, 2019)
operating system MacOS
category Software analysis, debugger
License proprietary
German speaking No

Instruments (formerly Xray ) is an application for measuring the performance of an application and for analyzing the bottlenecks that is provided by Apple as part of the Xcode Tools. The first version of Instruments was released in autumn 2007 along with Xcode 3.0 and Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 . With Xcode 3.1 a new version of Instruments appeared that could measure the performance of iPhone applications. Instruments based on the DTrace technology from OpenSolaris from Sun , on Mac OS X has been ported.


With Instruments a developer can measure and record, among other things:

  • CPU activity of processes and individual threads
  • Memory usage, memory leaks
  • File and network access
  • Graphics performance (only with OpenGL )
  • User input (keyboard, mouse)

The individual measurement functions are divided into so-called instruments (hence the name). The developer can insert the instruments required for his measurement into his measurement window and also configure them there. Developers can also create their own instruments with the integrated Instrument Builder .

If a recording is started, Instruments loads and starts the desired binary file or attaches itself to an already existing process and measures the desired values ​​there. These are shown as a graph in a timeline ; optionally, the values ​​are first measured and then only drawn ( "deferred mode" ).

As soon as the recording is finished or the program is closed, the developer can move the mouse at a certain point in the timeline and analyze the code that was running at that time in more detail (e.g. to isolate a memory leak ). The actions carried out can also be repeated over and over again so that the developer does not have to repeat z. B. has to press the same buttons, but can analyze the behavior of its application. The measurements can also be saved; However, depending on the length of the recording and the instruments selected, this file can be several gigabytes in size.

Individual evidence

  1. Xcode on the App Store. Retrieved June 2, 2019 .
  2. ^ Instruments Help. Retrieved June 2, 2019 .