iOS application development is the process of creating mobile applications for Apple hardware such as the iPhone and iPad. The programming is done in Swift or Objective-C and then published and made available to download on their native App Store. Businesses or individuals can get started with their iOS mobile apps either by hiring an iOS developer or consulting an iOS app development company.
A mobile app developer getting started with iOS development requires a high initial investment and should possess sufficient knowledge of the underlying technologies utilized during the development process. The initial investment is high mainly because their apps necessitate a macOS environment meaning it can only be done on a Mac computer. However, they are more expensive than standard Windows computers.
To start coding, the following set is needed:
These three prerequisites are essential and only active Apple Developer Program members are permitted to submit apps to the App Store. The App Store only accepts apps that have been signed and published by Xcode. All of the requirements can be conveniently met if an established iOS developer is hired for the job.
There are two main programming languages used.
Objective-C is an object-oriented programming language that has been the principal coding language for Apple products since 1984. Based on C language, it focuses on sending messages between multiple processes in contrast to the usual C programming method of initiating a process.
Swift is considered the ‘official’ programming language for iOS and is a replacement for Objective-C. Swift is almost similar to Objective-C but it is more secure and has a simpler syntax. Legacy code can be easily merged into current apps since it shares a run time with Objective-C. Swift has an easier learning curve and usage for new programmers. Swift is the recommended language to develop iOS apps.
Xcode is a powerful tool and is the Apple IDE to develop apps for Mac and iOS. It consists of the iOS SDK, resources, compilers, and technology frameworks required to design, write and debug an iOS app. Xcode runs only on a Mac computer.
iOS SDK is a collection of resources including technologies, tools, and languages which facilitate app development. Apple distributes reliable and feature-rich native APIs and libraries as SDKs due to the standardization and uniformity of iOS app development. They support incorporating an app effortlessly into Apple's current infrastructure.
Many kits are available for various iOS apps such as Maps, Camera, Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, game development kits, and so forth. These comprehensive kits make it simple to reap the benefits of iOS's built-in capabilities and incorporate third-party apps. Hence, apps can be developed to utilize native apps such as the camera, messaging app, or calendar app.
Xcode includes an iOS simulator that can be used to develop and test the app. The simulator lets the developer manipulate and interact with the app and resemble a real device. The app can be tested on different iOS versions and hardware platforms for performance.
The written iOS app needs to be tested for bugs and errors and get feedback from testers before publishing it to the App Store. Apple iPhone is the only test device and can be tested in several generations of them to see how various factors affect performance.
The newly built iOS app is ready to be published after the testing phase. The Apple Developer membership is mandatory at this point. The app can be signed and published directly from Xcode. The review process is long and involves many iterations of resubmissions until the final approval is received. To make the process easier and hassle-free, hire iOS developers.
Monetization of the newly published app is possible although 30 percent of the sale goes to Apple in addition to the $99 annual fee.
The following steps can be followed to start developing iOS apps.