How to take your GitHub repositories on the go with GitHub for iOS

GitHub is where open source and commercial coding projects live, communicate, and grow through pull requests. Learn how to use the iOS GitHub app to manage your projects on the go.

2019-11-17 San Francisco / CA / USA - GitHub icon, Octocat, at the San Francisco headquarters;  GitHub, a Microsoft subsidiary, provides hosting for version control software development using Git
Image: Other Photography/Adobe Stock

GitHub has become the de facto tool not only for dealing with code, but it has also become the place to store edited tickets, view changes to code in projects, and even host websites and documentation. So many companies rely on Git for their distributed version control system, and GitHub takes this technology to the next level with its features.

One of those features is the GitHub app, which allows you to easily manage your projects on the go, including searching for repositories and inspecting files. The iPhone application also manages tickets stored in GitHub Issues and handles pull requests that may be assigned to you.

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We’ll show you how to do all of that in the GitHub app, and share some third-party tools that even let you push commits to repositories right from your iPhone.

How to search for repositories on iOS

One of the main features of the GitHub app is the ability to easily browse and find repositories. These can be your own organization’s repos or those from the open source community hosted on GitHub. This experience is much better than basic search in Safari.

Figure A

Searching the GitHub app shows results on repositories, issues, pull requests, and more.

First, open the GitHub app, then follow the steps below:

  1. Tap the Home tab.
  2. Tap in the search bar at the top.
  3. Enter your search and then press Search.

If you search this way, you’ll find not only repos, but also GitHub issues, pull requests, and more stored in your GitHub account and publicly on GitHub.

How to manage GitHub issues on iOS

GitHub Issues is the ability to store and manage issues related to a project within the associated Git repository. You can easily manage these issues on the go with GitHub issues by doing the following:

  1. Open the GitHub app.
  2. Select the Home | tab Expenditure.

Figure B

The GitHub app can send push notifications when new issues are assigned or their status changes.

This view shows all of your tasks tracked for your user. You can filter by open status, creation date, visibility organization, and repository, and you can also sort by newest, oldest, most commented, least commented, and recently updated tickets so you can narrow down only the tickets you need to focus on.

Tapping on a ticket name opens the details view and you can comment, mark issues as read, close issues and view related pull requests if they were linked together when GitHub created the request.

How to manage pull requests on iOS

Pull requests are an integral part of GitHub and you can manage these requests right on your iPhone on the go by following the steps below:

  1. Open the GitHub app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Home | tab pull requests.

This will show all of your open pull requests that are assigned to you or located in repositories that you own and control. When you tap a pull request, you can view the commit history, comments, and history related to that request, and the files that the pull request contains. Files can be annotated line by line just like they can be added on, except the iOS app is much more responsive than loading the mobile version of GitHub in Safari.

How to push changes to a remote repository on iOS

While the GitHub app is great for managing the business aspects of GitHub on iOS, it leaves a lot to be desired for users who actually need to push repo commits and code to GitHub. If you want to do this from your iPhone or iPad, check out the Working Copy App Store Link, which is said to be one of the best Git clients for iOS and iPadOS. It works in tandem with the Files app so you can manage files contained in a repository using any iOS and iPadOS app that can edit those files before returning to Working Copy to create commits and them to a remote repository on GitHub.

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