Jonathan Cardoso Machado
[en] / pt-br

Using Fastlane Match With Existing Certificates Without Revoking Them


Fastlane match improves drastically code signing, even for small teams, their only issue is that by default, it does not work with existing certificates, and that is a show stopper for anyone trying to use it on existing projects. But there is a way to trick fastlane match to use your existing certificates.

match is the implementation of the concept. match creates all required certificates & provisioning profiles and stores them in a separate git repository. Every team member with access to the repo can use those credentials for code signing. match also automatically repairs broken and expired credentials. It’s the easiest way to share signing credentials across team

Let’s get started, first, you need to set up fastlane and fastlane match, to not duplicate the documentation, just follow the setup steps there:

Important: I recommend to take the time to read the whole doc, but on the match guide, only follow the setup step! Do not follow the remaining steps since that would cause fastlane to generate new certificates/provisioning profiles for your app.

Now you have match setup but zero certificates on it, and since it stores them in an encrypted repository, you cannot simply add your existing certificates to it, it will not work.

The correct way is to use a hidden feature from the fastlane docs, which allow you to decrypt the match repository and make changes to it.

Before that, make sure you have your certificates and private keys exported somewhere on your machine. To do that, open the Keychain app and get to the Certificates category. Select the certificate you are going to use (it must be the one in use by your app), and export it by opening the context menu and choosing “Export: ….”:

keychain certificate
Keychain certificates list

Now do the same for the Imported Private Key, this time select “Personal Information Exchange (.p12)” as File Format, and save. Do not put a passphrase on the exported key, otherwise match will not be able to import it.

The next step is to verify what is the id of that certificate, this information is not easily visible, so we need to grab it using Spaceship, a Ruby library created to be used directly by fastlane. Since you have set up fastlane, you already have access to it.

Start an interactive ruby shell by running irb on the terminal.

Type require 'spaceship' and press enter, this will import the library on the current shell session. Now run the following command to log in on Apple Portal, if fastlane is working correctly, it should use your credentials and log in.


It’s necessary now to grab the list of certificates available on your account, there are 2 ways to do that, using


Which basically prints all the certificates, or using the more restrictive calls




depending on which type of certificate you are trying to use.

The list will contain all properties of every certificate, you need to find the details for the certificate you just saved, look for the name and creation/expiration date. When you find the one you are looking for, rename both key and certificate you saved previously to have that ID as their names.

Notice: fastlane has changed some of the methods we need to use next, so when necessary, I will explicitly be dividing the commands into two sections, one for fastlane versions ≤ 2.105.2, and the other one for the newer version. See for more details on the change.

Opening the Encrypted Repository

Run the following commands on the interactive shell to setup some variables we are going to use later:

Version ≤ 2.105.2

irb(main):001:0> require 'match'
irb(main):002:0> git_url = ''
 => "" irb(main):003:0> shallow_clone = false
 => false
irb(main):004:0> manual_password = 'password-to-decrypt-the-repo'
 => "password-to-decrypt-the-repo"

Newer Versions

irb(main):001:0> require 'match'
irb(main):002:0> git_url = ''
=> ""
irb(main):003:0> shallow_clone = false
=> false
irb(main):004:0> ENV["MATCH_PASSWORD"] = 'password-to-decrypt-the-repo'
=> "password-to-decrypt-the-repo"
irb(main):005:0> branch = 'master'
=> "master"

Now we will need to clone the repository and decrypt it, we can do that with the following command (note that the result is being assigned to a variable so that we can reuse that later, when it’s time to re-encrypt the repo):

Version ≤ 2.105.2

irb(main):005:0> workspace = Match::GitHelper.clone(git_url, shallow_clone, manual_password: manual_password)
[21:17:30]: Cloning remote git repo...
[21:17:31]: 🔓  Successfully decrypted certificates repo
=> "/var/folders/5s/5cgmqxkx4fx6bllwgp1y5dlh000gp/T/d2018-0411-3701-148akjh"

Newer Versions

irb(main):006:0> storage = Match::Storage.for_mode('git', { git_url: git_url, shallow_clone: shallow_clone, git_branch: branch, clone_branch_directly: false})
irb(main):008:0> encryption = Match::Encryption.for_storage_mode('git', { git_url: git_url, working_directory: storage.working_directory})
irb(main):009:0> encryption.decrypt_files
[21:17:42]: 🔓 Successfully decrypted certificates repo irb(main):010:0> storage.working_directory
=> “/var/folders/ql/4rgq9x7j51n_971xb332w9lc0000gn/T/d20181105–65220–1oalh6v”

See how it cloned the repo on the path starting with /var/folders, open that folder.

Now depending on your certificate type, you will need to create the respective folder hierarchy.

If it’s a distribution certificate, certs/distribution, if a development one, certs/development. Place both the .cer and .p12 files inside.

You probably need to do the same for the provisioning profiles, otherwise, match will fail because it cannot find them on the repository, it’s the same procedure, but instead of importing the provisioning profiles from the Keychain, you can download them from Apple Developers Portal:

apple developer portal provisioning profiles
Apple Developer portal provisioning profiles

The path where you need to save the provisioning profile depends on the type of the provisioning profile. But basically, it’s one of the following

profiles/adhoc/AdHoc_<appid>.mobileprovision profiles/appstore/AppStore_<appid>.mobileprovision profiles/development/Development_<appid>.mobileprovision

after doing that, let’s encrypt the files and commit them to the repo:

Version ≤ 2.105.2

irb(main):006:0> Match::GitHelper.commit_changes(workspace, "add certificate, private key and provisioning profiles", git_url)

Newer Versions

irb(main):010:0> encryption.encrypt_files
irb(main):011:0> files_to_commit = Dir[File.join(storage.working_directory, "**", "*.{cer,p12,mobileprovision}")]
irb(main):012:0> storage.save_changes!(files_to_commit: files_to_commit)

That is it! You should now be able to run fastlane match to grab that certificate and provisioning profiles:

fastlane match distribution --readonly

Note the --readonly, it’s interesting to always pass this flag so there is no way for match to create new certificates/provisioning profiles if something goes wrong with the previous steps!

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