A tool for creating and developing Ionic Framework mobile apps.


The Ionic Framework command line utility makes it easy to start, build, run, and emulate Ionic apps. In the future, it will also have support for our mobile development services and tools that make Ionic even more powerful.

Use the ionic --help command for more detailed task information.

$ npm install -g ionic

*Note: For a global install of -g ionic, OSX/Linux users may need to prefix the command with sudo or can setup proper file permissions on OSX for npm to install without sudo. *

$ ionic start myapp [template]

Starter templates can either come from a named template, a Github repo, a Codepen, or a local directory. A starter template is what becomes the www directory within the Cordova project.

Named template starters:

Github Repo starters:

Codepen URL starters:

Plunker URL starters:

Local directory starters:

  • Relative or absolute path to a local directory

Command-line flags/options:

[--appname|-a]  .......  Human readable name for the app
                         (Use quotes around the name)
[--id|-i]  ............  Package name set in the <widget id> config
                         ex: com.mycompany.myapp
[--no-cordova|-w]  ....  Do not create an app targeted for Cordova
[--sass|-s] ...........  Setup the project to use Sass CSS precompiling
[--list|-l]  ..........  List starter templates available
$ ionic platform ios android

Use ionic serve to start a local development server for app dev and testing. This is useful for both desktop browser testing, and to test within a device browser which is connected to the same network. Additionally, this command starts LiveReload which is used to monitor changes in the file system. As soon as you save a file the browser is refreshed automatically. View Using Sass if you would also like to have ionic serve watch the project's Sass files.

$ ionic serve [options]
$ ionic build ios

The run or emulate command will deploy the app to the specified platform devices/emulators. You can also run live reload on the specified platform device by adding the --livereload option. The live reload functionality is similar to ionic serve, but instead of developing and debugging an app using a standard browser, the compiled hybrid app itself is watching for any changes to its files and reloading the app when needed. This reduces the requirement to constantly rebuild the app for small changes. However, any changes to plugins will still require a full rebuild. For live reload to work, the dev machine and device must be on the same local network, and the device must support web sockets.

With live reload enabled, an app's console logs can also be printed to the terminal/command prompt by including the --consolelogs or -c option. Additionally, the development server's request logs can be printed out using --serverlogs or -s options.

Command-line flags/options for run and emulate:

[--livereload|-l] .......  Live Reload app dev files from the device (beta)
[--consolelogs|-c] ......  Print app console logs to Ionic CLI (live reload req.)
[--serverlogs|-s] .......  Print dev server logs to Ionic CLI (live reload req.)
[--port|-p] .............  Dev server HTTP port (8100 default, live reload req.)
[--livereload-port|-i] ..  Live Reload port (35729 default, live reload req.)
[--browser|-w] ..........  Specifies the browser to use (safari, firefox, chrome)
[--browseroption|-o] ....  Specifies a path to open to (/#/tab/dash)

While the server is running for live reload, you can use the following commands within the CLI:

restart or r to restart the client app from the root
goto or g and a url to have the app navigate to the given url
consolelogs or c to enable/disable console log output
serverlogs or s to enable/disable server log output
quit or q to shutdown the server and exit

Deploys the Ionic app on specified platform emulator. This is simply an alias for run --emulator.

$ ionic emulate ios [options]

Deploys the Ionic app on specified platform devices. If a device is not found it'll then deploy to an emulator/simulator.

$ ionic run ios [options]

Automatically generate icons and splash screens from source images to create each size needed for each platform, in addition to copying each resized and cropped image into each platform's resources directory. Source images can either be a png, psd Photoshop or ai Illustrator file. Images are generated using Ionic's image resizing and cropping server, instead of requiring special libraries and plugins to be installed locally.

Since each platform has different image requirements, it's best to make a source image for the largest size needed, and let the CLI do all the resizing, cropping and copying for you. Newly generated images will be placed in the resources directory at the root of the Cordova project. Additionally, the CLI will update and add the correct <platform> configs to the project's config.xml file.

During the build process, Cordova (v3.6 or later) will look through the project's config.xml file and copy the newly created resource images to the platform's specific resource folder. For example, Android's resource folder can be found in platforms/android/res, and iOS uses platforms/ios/APP_NAME/Resources.

Save an icon.png, icon.psd or file within the resources directory at the root of the Cordova project. The icon image's minimum dimensions should be 192x192 px, and should have no rounded corners. Note that each platform will apply it's own mask and effects to the icons. For example, iOS will automatically apply it's custom rounded corners, so the source file should not already come with rounded corners. This Photoshop icon template provides the recommended size and guidelines of the artwork's safe zone.

$ ionic resources --icon

Save a splash.png, splash.psd or file within the resources directory at the root of the Cordova project. Splash screen dimensions vary for each platform, device and orientation, so a square source image is required the generate each of various sizes. The source image's minimum dimensions should be 2208x2208 px, and its artwork should be centered within the square, knowning that each generated image will be center cropped into landscape and portait images. The splash screen's artwork should roughly fit within a center square (1200x1200 px). This Photoshop splash screen template provides the recommended size and guidelines of the artwork's safe zone. Additionally, when the Orientation preference config is set to either landscape or portrait mode, then only the necessary images will be generated.

$ ionic resources --splash

To generate both icons and splash screens, follow the instructions above and run:

$ ionic resources

One source image can be used to generate images for each platform by placing the file within the resources directory, such as resources/icon.png. To use different source images for individual platforms, place the source image in the respective platform's directory. For example, to use a different icon for Android, it should follow this path: resources/android/icon.png, and a different image for iOS would use this path: resources/ios/icon.png.

By default the ionic resources command will automatically figure out which platforms it should generate according to what platforms have been added to your project. However, you can also explicitly state which resources should be built by providing a platform name in the command. The example below would generate only ios resources (even if the platform hasn't been added to the project).

$ ionic resources ios

Ionic provides you some default icons and splash screens to give you a better idea of how to size your icons and splashscreen, as well as how to modify your config.xml file for your own icons.

$ ionic resources --default

If you already have a resources directory, the command above will not over write your files. If you wish to force an over write, use ionic resources --default --force.

When starting a new app and adding a platform ionic platform add ios - the default icons and splashscreens will be downloaded and your config.xml will be modified to set up the default resources. This should help you identify your Ionic apps easier as well as help you get the file structure and configuration correct.

In v1.3.0 and later, you can now specify which browser to use in your Cordova Android projects. Currently we only support Crosswalk and have plans to support more browsers later.

Execute ionic browser add crosswalk to add the Crosswalk browser to your Android project. By default, this will install the version of Crosswalk.

If you'd like to specify a different version of Crosswalk, run ionic browser list to see which browsers are available and what versions. Then run ionic browser add crosswalk@

All that is left is to run the project as normal - ionic run android.

NOTE: To start with, we are only supporting stable versions of Crosswalk. We plan to add the beta and canary versions as we continue adding to this feature set


By default, LiveReload will watch for changes in your www/ directory, excluding www/lib/. To change this, you can specify a watchPatterns property in the ionic.project file located in your project root to watch (or not watch) for specific changes.

  "name": "myApp",
  "app_id": "",
  "watchPatterns": [

For a reference on glob pattern syntax, check out globbing patterns on the Grunt website.

Gulp Integration

When running ionic serve, you can have Ionic run any Gulp tasks you specify by putting them into your ionic.project as a gulpStartupTasks property, as follows:

  "name": "SmoothRiders",
   "gulpStartupTasks": [

Now, when you run ionic serve, it will run the watch task while starting the Ionic server.


$ ionic setup sass

will add a watchPatterns propery with the default values to your ionic.project file that you can then edit, in addition to the gulpStartupTasks property described in the Using Sass section.

Service Proxies:

The serve command can add some proxies to the http server. These proxies are useful if you are developing in the browser and you need to make calls to an external API. With this feature you can proxy request to the external api through the ionic http server preventing the No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource error.

In the ionic.project file you can add a property with an array of proxies you want to add. The proxies are object with the following properties:

  • path: string that will be matched against the beginning of the incoming request URL.
  • proxyUrl: a string with the url of where the proxied request should go.
  • proxyNoAgent: (optional) true/false, if true opts out of connection pooling, see HttpAgent
  "name": "appname",
  "email": "",
  "app_id": "",
  "proxies": [
      "path": "/v1",
      "proxyUrl": ""

Using the above configuration, you can now make requests to your local server at http://localhost:8100/v1 to have it proxy out requests to

For example:

angular.module('starter.controllers', [])
.constant('InstagramApiUrl', '')
// .contant('InstagramApiUrl','') 
//In production, make this the real URL 
.controller('FeedCtrl', function($scope$httpInstagramApiUrl) {
  $scope.feed = null;
  $http.get(InstagramApiUrl + '/v1/media/search?client_id=1&lat=48&lng=2.294351').then(function(data) {
    console.log('data ' , data)
    $scope.feed = data;

See also this gist for more help.

Command-line flags/options:

[--consolelogs|-c] ......  Print app console logs to Ionic CLI
[--serverlogs|-s] .......  Print dev server logs to Ionic CLI
[--port|-p] .............  Dev server HTTP port (8100 default)
[--livereload-port|-i] ..  Live Reload port (35729 default)
[--nobrowser|-b] ........  Disable launching a browser
[--nolivereload|-r] .....  Do not start live reload
[--noproxy|-x] ..........  Do not add proxies
[--address] .............  Serves in the browser at the specified address
[--lab] .................  Serves both iOS and Android in the browser

We've extended the serve command to open the new Lab UI that features iOS and Android side-by-side.

$ ionic serve --lab

If you've used the serve command before, you'll feel right at home with this one. Just like serve, it opens your app in a browser, but now it shows you what your app will look like on a phone, with both iOS and Android side by side.

And of course, it supports Live Reload and all the other goodies we've added over the last couple of months.

If you'd like to test your app in the browser and you use a folder other than the default of www, you can specify this folder in your ionic.project file.

You might also want to have the document root be created if you use some sort of build system, we suggest using createDocumentRoot for that so that ionic serve will create that folder for you.

It is also advised you specify the watch patterns for this document root as well, as follows:

  "name": "SmoothRiders",
   "gulpStartupTasks": [
  "documentRoot": "app",
  "createDocumentRoot": "app",
  "watchPatterns": [

Update Ionic library files, which are found in the www/lib/ionic directory. If bower is being used by the project, this command will automatically run bower update ionic, otherwise this command updates the local static files from Ionic's CDN.

$ ionic lib update

Note: Using bower? This command does not update Ionic's dependencies. Run bower update to update Ionic and all of it's dependencies defined in bower.json.

Using Ionic's service, you can compile and package your project into an app-store ready app without requiring native SDKs on your machine.

$ ionic package debug android

The third argument can be either debug or release, and the last argument can be either android or ios.

Ionic uses Cordova underneath, so you can also substitute Cordova commands to prepare/build/emulate/run, or to add additional plugins.

Note: we occasionally send anonymous usage statistics to the Ionic team to make the tool better.

If you have a proxy you need to get around, you can pass that proxy with the default http_proxy node environment variable or an environment variable proxy.

A few ways to set up and use the environment variable:

# Or
ionic start my_app
# Additionally, pass in line ionic start my_app

By default, starter projects are hooked up to Ionic's precompiled CSS file, which is found in the project's www/lib/ionic/css directory, and is linked to the app in the head of the root index.html file. However, Ionic projects can also be customized using Sass, which gives developers and designers "superpowers" in terms of creating and maintaining CSS. Below are two ways to setup Sass for your Ionic project (the ionic setup sass command simply does the manual steps for you). Once Sass has been setup for your Ionic project, then the ionic serve command will also watch for Sass changes.

ionic setup sass
  1. Run npm install from the working directory of an Ionic project. This will install gulp.js and a few handy tasks, such as gulp-sass and gulp-minify-css.
  2. Remove <link href="lib/ionic/css/ionic.css" rel="stylesheet"> from the <head> of the root index.html file.
  3. Remove <link href="css/style.css" rel="stylesheet"> from the <head> of the root index.html file.
  4. Add <link href="css/" rel="stylesheet"> to the <head> of the root index.html file.
  5. In the ionic.project file, add the JavaScript property "gulpStartupTasks": ["sass", "watch"] (this can also be customized to whatever gulp tasks you'd like).

Set your Ionic Project App ID

Use the ionic link <appId> command to set your Ionic App ID to continue working with the same app with the Ionic platform across development enviroments.