System Profiling

Sparkle supports optionally sending anonymous information about the user’s system when checking for updates. Developers can use this information to better decide what platforms and hardware to support.

Collected data

  • macOS version
  • CPU type/subtype (see mach/machine.h for decoder information on this data)
  • Mac model
  • Number of CPUs/CPU cores,
  • 32-bit vs. 64-bit
  • CPU speed
  • RAM size
  • Application name (as indicated by CFBundleName)
  • Application version (as indicated by CFBundleVersion)
  • User’s preferred language
  • Anything else you’d like to send along (via a delegate method; see Customizing Sparkle)

This information will be provided via GET, so if your feed URL is https://example.org/app.xml, the request will be made to https://example.org/app.xml?cpusubtype=4&ncpu=2&appName=App.app&cpuFreqMHz=1830[...].

Note: In order to standardize the statistics across a userbase with varying update check intervals, Sparkle submits profiling information only once per week.

Making use of system profiling information

First, you’ve got to tell Sparkle you want this data to be sent. You can do this by adding a SUEnableSystemProfiling key to your app’s Info.plist and setting its value to YES.

Next, you’ve got to put something up server-side to collate and display the submitted information in a useful way (see the list below).

Finally, set the SUFeedURL to your server-side script (eg. https://example.org/profileInfo.php) instead of the appcast. The script in turn should be set to link to the appcast.

Known Backends

  • Tom Harrington’s original PHP-based backend: download it here
  • Full-featured backend for CakePHP: on GitHub here
  • Ruby on Rails app for collecting statistics and displaying graphs: Sparkler
  • Playful weekly user-profile visualizer in PHP. No DB required: Sparkle-Posse