Drewsmits Drewsmits - 5 months ago 27x
Objective-C Question

dispatch_sync on main queue hangs in unit test

I was having some trouble unit testing some grand central dispatch code with the built in Xcode unit testing framework, SenTestingKit. I managed to boil my problem done to this. I have a unit test that builds a block and tries to execute it on the main thread. However, the block is never actually executed, so the test hangs because it's a synchronous dispatch.

- (void)testSample {

dispatch_sync(dispatch_get_main_queue(), ^(void) {
NSLog(@"on main thread!");


What is it about the testing environment that causes this to hang?


dispatch_sync runs a block on a given queue and waits for it to complete. In this case, the queue is the main dispatch queue. The main queue runs all its operations on the main thread, in FIFO (first-in-first-out) order. That means that whenever you call dispatch_sync, your new block will be put at the end of the line, and won't run until everything else before it in the queue is done.

The problem here is that the block you just enqueued is at the end of the line waiting to run on the main thread, but your testSample method is currently running on the main thread. The block at the end of the queue can't get access to the main thread until the current method finishes using the main thread.