15 Best iOS Development Tools: How To Take The Headache Out
Nowadays, iOS devices are one of the leading market devices. Due to the Statista research, the iOS operating system reached 27.88% in August 2022, while Android OS made up 71.47%. It means that iOS undoubtedly is the second leading operating system in the world. And speaking of smartphone OS development, for 2021, almost 60 percent of software developers will work with the Apple operating system worldwide in accordance with the Statista survey. Looking through all that research, we can come up with the decision that the iOS development is totally worth working on.
Great companies and enterprises mostly have their own iOS applications, which help them to attract new customers or manage their job through the app. Therefore, they often order services from the best iOS developers. The iOS developer job is rather popular and important, and beyond a doubt, the software developer job will be improving. And to be a highly-demanded dev, people must improve their skills and knowledge and be familiar with various development tools.
In this article, we will reveal the most frequently asked questions and find out what iOS development tools are the best for a quick and successful start. We will briefly examine the 15 best iOS development tools and their features.
To start with, some people have different fears of becoming a dev and need to learn how to deal with them. So, let's try to dispel those fears and explain that development can be easy.
Fear 1 – can I develop for free?
It means that even though some people would like to start creating their own apps, they want to do it for free, and they often need to be more confident if this is possible at all. Well, it is completely possible to develop an iOS app for free. There will only be problems with placing this application on the App Store because it is a paid service. But you do not need to be scared of diving deep into software development, as a huge range of free tools and websites can be used in programming.
Fear 2 – can I do my own app?
The next thing people are afraid of is whether they can develop an app on their own. But actually, it is easy to create an iOS app on your own, and every user of Apple devices really can do it. All you need is just a mix of theoretical knowledge and practice, and good development tools, of course.
Fear 3 – how to develop an app?
Although it is a really widespread profession, some people hesitate to get in touch with it. They need to figure out where to start or how to do that. That is why so many different questions arise.
And the most important question is, 'how to develop an app for the Apple operating system?' There are a few steps to do it. Here they are in brief:
- Learn the basics of software development.
- Run the iOS development tool.
- Build the app you need.
- Create your unique design.
- Test your application first.
- Place it on the App Store.
- Promote the iOS app and get reviews.
Speaking of diving deeper into iOS development, people have to master some basic and important iOS development tools to start with. Let's finally consider which tools are used for the development of iOS in detail!
15 best iOS development tools
- easy in use;
- good both for advanced users and beginners;
- completely free;
- includes everything needed for development.
Let's start with the essential part of software development – IDE, or Integrated Developed Environment. The best and the most popular IDE for the Apple operating system is Xcode. Generally, it is a software package for Apple OS development.
This particular iOS development tool is used for building, testing, and designing our future iOS applications. Besides, it has an understandable interface, which is really easy to use. So, this tool is good for both beginners and advanced software developers. This software program can be downloaded on the Apple developer's official website, and it is completely free.
- dynamic scheme launch arguments;
- multiple Swift versions and projects support;
- automatic generation of .xcfilelist;
- easy code updating;
- different source code support.
To start with, CocoaPods is a package manager for iOS development projects. CocoaPods uses any programming language devs need and provides many external libraries for managing them. This package runs from the command line, and it cooperates with an AppCode as well.
So, CocoaPods is a great package manager for both Swift and Objective-C projects with a huge number of libraries. Besides, the CocoaPods is really easy to install, and their official website has clear instructions on how to do it.
Price: $8.90 per month
- qualitative cross-platform;
- used for large codes;
- the XCode support;
- efficient navigation.
As was already said above, AppCode is easily compatible with the CocoaPods package manager. Actually, AppCode is a quality cross-platform Integrated Developed Environment (IDE), almost like the XCode one. Basically, developers can use both of them or change them as needed.
On the whole, the AppCode iOS developing tool is useful for cases when devs need to type a lot of code. The best AppCode features are unit testing, refactoring, and code generation. Besides all of that, AppCode has XCode support and edit customization. The AppCode monthly package costs $8.90, and you can download it on the JetBrains official website.
Price: from $7.99 to $299.99 per month
- good analytical tool;
- perfect keywords research;
- a wide range of subscription packages.
Briefly, it is a analytical and spying iOS development tool. This tool is a reporting program that stores different app data, ads statistics, sales, user feedback, updated info etc. With the help of AppFigures, it is easy to research better keywords for future iOS apps and to compare how things are going with the competitors.
So, it is an analytical platform that is easy to use, that helps develop iOS applications in better ways, and that is entirely necessary for those who want to create a super-needed, popular, and cool iOS application. AppFigures has a wide range of subscription packages with prices from $7.99 to $299.99 per month due to their pricing page.
Price: 10 euros per month
- helps find appropriate keywords;
- performs market research;
- provides category levels ranking.
One more analytical platform is the APPLyzer. It helps developers to find appropriate keywords, search tracking, and perform market research. It is easy to handle and efficient in its searches. By the way, APPLyzer gives rankings on both overall and category levels.
The vital feature of the APPlyzer is that this software program provides accurate details. Besides, it has easy interfaces and multiple APIs. You can use it for free with the ability to add up to 10 different applications or buy a pro package only for 10 euros per month on their website.
6. Sublime Text
- responsive and incredibly fast in usage;
- provides package control;
- very powerful;
- extremely featured;
- provides frequently-used functionality;
- goto anything;
- has python plugins.
Text editors are a necessary part of application development. It is used for writing scripts, editing configuration files, reading logs, and doing other stuff. There are a huge variety of different text editors, but one of the best text editors used by software developers is Sublime Text.
Additionally, Sublime Text is written in Python and C++, and besides, it is available on both Mac and Windows. It has a simple interface, is free to use, and can be downloaded on their page.
Price: $9-$20 per month
- convenient editing tool;
- used for creating vector images;
- good for UI/UX designs;
- a web-based platform;
- easy to use.
One more important thing for the iOS developer is the designing tool. Many software developers prefer working with such tools as Figma, Sketch, and so on. So, the computer program called Sketch is used for editing and creating vector graphic images.
This software is mostly used to develop UI/UX designs for mobile applications and websites. It helps to create the first prototypes and awesome artwork. Sketch is, at the same time, a Mac app and a web-based platform that is very easy to use. Speaking of pricing, on the official website, there are two different monthly subscription packages, one is for $9, and one is for $20.
- simple projects sharing;
- full access to images and fonts from Sketch and Photoshop;
- perfectly fits simultaneous work on the same project.
Another great iOS development tool for design is Design+Code. This utility fits perfectly even for beginners in software development. It gives an opportunity to share the projects with the design team. Additionally, the devs can upload different images and fonts directly from Sketch or Photoshop so that the designer has full access to them.
The Design+Code tool is good when somebody needs to work on different parts of a single project simultaneously. In such a way, Design+Code speeds up the design process and makes the development much easier. Besides, it includes different themes as well. You can get a free package or buy pro or team packages on the official website.
- advanced API;
- fast teamwork synchronization;
- intuitive building without headaches.
For proper iOS development, it is important to use a good API tool. API is an application programming interface that is used for the appropriate communication of different development tools with each other.
One of the best APIs for iOS development is PAW. This iOS development tool is an HTTP client that helps to test, describe and find new APIs if needed. This software development program helps to develop an app without headaches. It is easy to use and contains everything the developer needs from the API tool. Besides, it is totally free now.
- split panes;
- hotkey windows;
- copy mode;
- 24-bit color;
- captured output, and so on.
What is another great iOS development tool? It is a terminal emulator called iTerm2. First of all, the terminal emulator helps to access another computer with the help of a command-line interface. iTerm2 supports the iOS operating system. By the way, iTerm2 is entirely free to download on their official website.
Price: from $0 to $18.95
- convenient Git client;
- both for advanced devs and beginners;
- a branch structure with all history;
- intuitive user interface.
Although some developers prefer using the command line, sometimes it is hard to handle. And here is the alternative for those who have little practice with commands – the Git clients. One of them is called GitKraken, and it is a great iOS development tool for both advanced devs and beginners.
With the intuitive user interface, GitKraken makes Git accessible and visual. This software program has a visualized branched structure with all history that easily helps reveal where the bug was done. Besides, GitKraken keeps an eye on teamwork and notifies if somebody is working on the same project. The pricing for GitKraken differs from $0 to $18.95.
- reactive programming library;
- provides wide support;
- helps to write multiple-use code;
- fast and functional.
To develop more dynamic and user-experienced applications, devs should use libraries. They basically help developers to perform their job efficiently. Overall, libraries contain a huge amount of prewritten codes that are used in an app building.
RxSwift itself helps to tie complex asynchronous chains. Besides, it is not just a simple programming library but a reactive one. This iOS development tool allows software programmers to write multiple-use code and furthermore provides wide support, fast development, readability, and rational management of application resources. So, RxSwift is fast, functional, and truly helpful. You can install RxSwift directly into the XCode dependency manager for free.
- fast and easy testing process;
- availability of two testing groups;
- perfect testing process before app publication.
When the apps are almost ready, what is the essential part of work before publishing those finished apps on the AppStore? The answer is the testing. Software testing is the process of assessing and reviewing the apps and their functionality. This process is definitely going easier with special testing software.
TestFlight is one of the best testers for iOS operating system apps and is an important iOS development tool. It is an app that can be downloaded from the AppStore for free. The tester allows devs to install their almost-made applications and get reviews. By the way, there are two test groups available in this app: external and internal ones. Invited beta-testers can easily upload the developed iOS app and use it before the final app publication.
- testing the app on devices without even having them;
- helps solve troubleshooting problems;
- easy and free tool installation.
Actually, a Simulator is another great iOS development tool that comes with the XCode utility. It also allows testing the app on different devices without even having those particular devices. So, in fact, it is some testing software utility.
In general, the Simulator app can help get an idea of how the developed application will look and feel on different screens and aid the troubleshooting problems. The Simulator can be installed for free from the XCode run destination. You can check out the instructions on installing a Simulator on the Apple Developer official website.
- automatic file transfer;
- easy file sharing with team members;
- entirely fast and efficient.
Another iOS development tool is a Transporter. It is a fast and reliable file transfer tool. So, in general, Transfer is a great option when the devs need to move or share files between different machines or other team members. By the way, there is an opportunity to set the Transporter in a way it will transfer files automatically, so there is no reason to worry.
Moreover, the Transporter app can be downloaded free from the AppStore on phone or Mac devices. And overall, the app is an entirely fast, efficient, and effective iOS development utility.
Speaking of app development, it is quite a long, detailed, and accurate process. Becoming an iOS app developer is more challenging than it may seem. But going through a long way in learning the basics of software development and getting into iOS development gives you unexpected success results. As it says, no pain – no gain.
To master iOS development, there is no need for expensive courses or long-term coaching. You can do it all yourself with the help of useful books, internet sources, and development tools. Let's summarize what development tools are good for both beginner and advanced dev.
If we talk about the Integrated Development Environment, the best utilities are XCode and AppCode. They can replace or complement each other in some cases. Besides, with AppCode, it is good to use a package manager called CocoaPods that helps to manage different libraries. And speaking of libraries, it is important to mention that RxSwift is a reactive programming library.
Moreover, good iOS applications need perfect design solutions. Design+Code and Sketch undoubtedly are amazing design programs for software development that are easy to use. And the best alternatives for testing are the Testflight and the Simulator apps. Other great tools are Transporter for fast file transfer, GitKraken as the Git client, AppFigures and APPLyzer for app analytics, PAW as an API, and iTerm 2 for a terminal emulator.
So, check these development tools and find out what is good for you!