Mobile apps have become vital for businesses looking to keep clients and consumers engaged — apps account for 80% of smartphone user interactions. With over 1 billion active iPhone users, it’s no surprise the Apple Store has over 2.22 million applications available and almost 25,000 new iOS apps released monthly as businesses try to capitalize on iPhone’s global reach.
As of 2022, the global app market was worth over $189 billion and is projected to grow by 13.4% until 2030. To get a piece of this ever-growing and competitive market, it is fundamental for developers and businesses to create iOS applications that easily capture the users’ attention to increase their customer base, expand brand reach and drive profitability.
Today, you can engage an experienced application developing agency, Diversido, to help build your iOS application and launch it to the market, hire an in-house team, or utilize iOS app development tools to do it yourself. This piece lists the 7 best iOS app development tools you can use.
7 iOS App Development Tools to Use in 2023
XCode is the to-go-to iOS app development tool for writing Swift code; it is also Apple’s original IDE built for software development for all Apple’s devices. The XCode tool manages the entire app development process — from creation (coding and testing) and optimization (debugging and user interface design) to submission of the apps to the App Store.
The Xcode tool is free to use. However, to upload your apps to the App Store, you must be a member of Apple’s developer program, which costs $99 per year.
The features of XCode include:
- Command and build plug-in Swift integration that allows you to design a graphical interface without writing code.
- Build logs assistant editor that shows the build timeline, helping developers track and identify performance issues.
- Asset Catalog that groups assets by resolution and aids in image management.
- Static Analysis that finds bugs in the code before the app runs.
- Regex support highlights syntax and playgrounds inline results for quick and easy iteration.
Also read: 10 Best Tools for Android Development
AppCode is one of the most comprehensive integrated development environments for code management tasks. The tool is primarily used to analyze code extensively and highlight errors quickly, which helps to streamline the coding. It supports Swift, Objective-C, and other languages, and easily integrates with 3rd-party plugins and tools like Jira and Git.
As of December 2022, App Code doesn’t exist as a commercial product. They stopped providing paid subscriptions and have no plans to update the tool. You can use this tool for free as long as it’s a relevant, comfortable-to-use, and up-to-date option for your project.
Features of AppCode include:
- A wide array of languages is supported in the integrated development environment.
- Intelligent code assistance to ensure the writing of clean code.
- Built-in tools and integrations for testing and debugging apps developed.
Simulator helps developers test apps before sending them out to pass App Store compliance. With it, you can run the app you’ve written within various environments and test it on devices you don’t have. The Simulator tool is available within Xcode and, thus, free to use.
The features of the Simulator include:
- Efficient debugging of iOS apps pre-submission to Apple for review and approval.
- Easy to use in modification of mobile application graphics.
- Pointer and keyboard support for smooth interactions with iOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps.
CocoaPods is a popular dependency manager used by developers working on Apple software projects. CocoaPods is being used by over 83,000 active developers, has over 78,000 libraries employed to scale projects, and has been integrated into more than 3 million apps. The tool seamlessly integrates third-party libraries into Xcode projects.
To use CocoaPods, developers create a Podfile, a file that recounts all dependencies/third-party libraries connected to the app that’s being developed. CocoaPods will then resolve the dependencies, retrieve the library source code, and place it in the Xcode workspace for it to be linked with your application to create an iOS app.
However, one of the major drawbacks of CocoaPods is that it takes control of the entire Xcode file. Therefore, your entire project will stop working if something goes wrong in the Pods.
CocoaPods will cost you only $4.99 for a one-time, forever-valid purchase.
Features of CocoaPods include:
- Easy incorporation of third-party libraries.
- Supports access to code from any source.
- Seamless integration into projects and distribution of third-party codes from sources other than the owner of a project.
- Elimination of dependency conflicts between libraries.
Applyzer is one of the best-ranked iOS utilities and has been providing reliable data to developers since 2009. The tool allows app developers, content creators, publishers, marketers, and investors to gain app market insights.
Applyzer offers a free and paid package starting from $11.00 per month — the final cost depends on the features included in the subscription.
Some of the key Applyzer features include:
- Daily and hourly ranking performance of your app for all global app stores.
- Email and Slack-Alerts on significant ranking changes.
- Extraction of keywords for your apps’ global search results on iOS, AppleTV, and macOS.
- Auto-translation of app reviews from over 100 languages.
Transporter helps you upload any multimedia content to Apple’s resources. For granted access to distribute content, you must set up either an iTunes Connect account, an App Store Connect account, or have valid encoding home credentials. It’s immensely relevant for developers because, with Transporter, they can share apps on the App Store even without using XCode.
Transporter is free to download from the Mac App Store.
Some of its features are:
- Quick deployment of apps that aren’t developed in XCode (e.g., apps created via cross-platform frameworks like Flutter or React Native.)
- Easy drag and drop to move content into the Transporter.
- Data about past deployments.
Design+Code is the ultimate knowledge-based platform for iOS app developers. The tool helps developers improve their coding and application design skills through educational training videos. The videos cover all themes and techniques necessary for designing and developing iOS apps, including tutorials on using Xcode, Framer, and Sketch.
A monthly subscription for the Design+Code platform costs $19 if you pay monthly or $10 if you pay annually.
Features of Design+Code include:
- Numerous courses, are available on industry-leading platforms and tools.
- Video tutorials for easy learning.
- Enhanced capacity to build apps with Swift and React.
- Content Bookmark tool for easy reference and use for practices.
This article doesn’t include all tools that can improve iOS development, but those listed above are some of the best ones.
With today’s leading technology and freely-available knowledge on iOS app development, the availability of such tools in the public domain or for a nominal fee can significantly reduce the time for application development without sacrificing its quality.