October 10, 2011

Making ARC and non-ARC files play nice together

If you want to exclude a file from being compiled with ARC you can do so by setting a flag on the .m file:

Click the Project -> Build Phases Tab -> Compile Sources Section -> Double Click on the file name

Then add -fno-objc-arc to the popup window.

Likewise, if you want to include a file in ARC, you can use the -fobjc-arc flag.

Xcode Screen Shot

See the clang docs for more details.

A helpful trick is to use the __has_feature language extension to throw errors when this is not set properly.

Enforce a file is ARC:

#if ! __has_feature(objc_arc)
#error This file must be compiled with ARC. Either turn on ARC for the project or use -fobjc-arc flag

The inverse:

#if __has_feature(objc_arc)
#error This file cannot be compiled with ARC. Either turn off ARC for the project or use -fno-objc-arc flag

This was adapted from a post by Greg Parker on the on the Objective-C mailing list. He goes on to point out the following:

You should be careful with the interface to your shared code such that ARC and non-ARC clients can use it freely.