What are the must-have tools for an iOS and XCode programmer?

Updated on Apr 20th, 2021

What are the must-have tools for an iOS and Code X programmer?

iOS App development is now easier than ever. With so much study material available online and not to forget the stupendous number of video tutorials and lectures uploaded on YouTube and other such platforms, there is a lot of support available for aspiring iOS app developers.
Before Swift was released, Objective-C was the language of choice for iOS app development. Though it is now considered by some a bit outdated, some take it as a more seasoned language. Because it has been in the game for so long, it is stable, refined and the quality of the tutorials available online is excellent as well. On the other hand, though it is new on the scene, Swift is being received with open arms by most of the community because it has just a plethora of tools and plugins which are relevant for native iOS coding.
And today we will take a look at some of the tools you need to have in your toolbox as an iOS developer to lift your coding skills to a new height.
Let’s get rolling then!

Top IDEs for iOS App Development

An Integrated Development Environment is a biome of tools and other resources which a programmer requires in order to develop software. A basic IDE consists of source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger as well.
Some of the top IDEs for native iOS programming are as follows:

  • XCode

    The first one in the list is Apple’s official IDE offering XCode for Swift programming. Apple’s perfectionism reflects in this IDE as well, and it is their sheer will to make iOS programming a pleasure which makes XCode such a robust programming tool for Apple’s various hardware products.

  • AppCode

Developed by JetBrains, AppCode is an IDE which lets you code for iOS and OS X both. It supports Objective C and Swift both and comes with a 30-day free trial.

  • CodeRunner

CodeRunner claims that it can run any language including Swift and comes at a minimal cost of $14.99. It has a demo version as well which you can download, and CodeRunner contains a large number of code templates too, which further adds to its allure.

Top Language Tutorials

Now that we have taken a look at some of the top IDEs for iOS development, let us move on to various language tutorials which will help you elevate your programming skills.

  • Swiftlang.eu

This is Apple’s official tutorial for Swift programming. As you might expect, it is thorough and incredibly simplified to get you up to speed quickly. The majority of this guide is directed towards Swift-related resources.

  • Stanford

This is a free tutorial created by Stanford, which is known throughout the internet for its quality and in-depth knowledge sharing. Their videos run almost for an hour, but they give you a comprehensive glance, too. So the developer in your will not mind the long run-time.

  • Thinkster.io

This tutorial site has many courses which teach you how to build an app using multiple platforms. For iOS, its tutorial on Swift is vast and well-structured. It starts from the very basics and gradually raises its level as your knowledge and skills mature.

  • Design+Code

These courses, ranging from Swift to React, are thorough but can be considered somewhat costly. But this site keeps slashing its prices on a regular basis so you might want to look out for their deals.

  • We Love Swift

It is a dual-edged sword, so to speak. It has an app which teaches you programming via 100 different exercises and a book to improve your knowledge. You can buy them both for $40.


Though the above two resources provide you with a lot of libraries, we have taken the time to put together a list of some of the most useful and frequently downloaded libraries in iOS development.

  • SwiftToolbox

It is a vast collection of iOS and OS X libraries with easy to use browsing function. It is also community maintained, so there is always something new to look forward to.

  • CocoaPods

It offers a collection of eighteen thousand libraries, relevant to both Swift and Objective C.

  • RxSwift

It is a highly recommended library for asynchronous programming.

  • The Foundation Framework

If you’re programming in Objective-C, then The Foundation Framework is recommended by both- online community and the Apple itself- as a base library.

  • Swift Standard Library

And on the other hand, if you’re a Swift coder,  then this is the recommended library.

  • Trending Cocoa Pods

These are the most used libraries used on Cocoa, and the directory is updated daily.

Top Plugins

Though a platform is sufficient and works just fine, it can always be improved with the help of plugins. In the case of iOS development, following are some of the most exciting plugins-

  • AlcatrazAlcatraz

It is an open-source plugin and package manager which comes with its own browsing engine for plugins, color schemes and templates. It is available for XCode 7 and higher versions.

  • CocoaPods

It is a plugin of the famous iOS and OS X dependency manager and makes the use of CocoaPods from inside XCode much more streamlined and hassle-free.

  • Injection for Xcode

With this plugin, you can alter the implementation of an Objective-C class and still have it work, without having to restart the app.

  • XCode Colors

This plugin adds colors to the debugging console to provide visual help during debugging.

  • SCXCode Minimap

This plugin creates a small map of your code so that you can locate yourself in a lengthy codebase.

  • Dash

It is a code snippet manager and an API documentation browser with over 150 offline documentation.

  • RTImageAssets

This plugin is handy for times when you’re missing an asset-image. It checks the size of the image and creates a dummy image for that code.

  • GitDiff

This plugin adds visual intel to git inside XCode to make revisions hassle-free.

  • HKSnippet

This plugin enters code snippets by using basic triggers.

  • CoPilot

This plugin comes in very handy when you want to work on a codebase with someone. This plugin makes these collaborative projects incredibly streamlined using Bonjour

  • AllTargets

This plugin Auto-selects all the targets while adding a new file to the Xcode.

  • KPRunEverywhereXcodePlugin

This plugin runs a project on multiple iOS devices at the same time.

  • VWInstantRun

Using this plugin, you can select a portion of the code base and run it exclusively, all the while remaining in the XCode.

  • CATWeaker

I don’t think anyone can describe what this plugin does more beautifully than its creators- “a helper tool and an Xcode plugin for creating a beautiful CAMediaTimingFunction curve.”

  • ACCodeSnippetRepository

This is a snippet manager which syncs your code snippet with the git repository.

  • XCFui

Using this plugin, you can identify unused import statements.

  • XCodeBoost

This plugin makes your codebase easier to examine and edit.

  • Code Pilot

It adds search by keywords functionality.

Top Advertisement platforms

While making an iOS app is an accomplishment in itself, it is only half battle won. Once you’re done with your app, you need to think of increasing brand awareness and get to more users via various medium. Let’s have a look at a couple of them.

  • Facebook

No one can deny Facebook’s reach and power. It is one of the most widely used social media platforms, and because of its massive user base, it is one of the most prominent advertising tools as well. So make sure that even if you choose to skip all of the below-mentioned platforms, you advertise your apps on Facebook properly.

  • Google AdWords
    Google AdWords

While Facebook might have the power to localize your ads, Google has the ability to study its users’ behavior and show them ads based on that. So to have more focused exposure to the app lovers, Google AdWords is a must have advertisement platform.

  • Twitter

While Twitter might be suffering in the market on the grounds of userbase and scale, it has a very high user retention quotient. Furthermore, it only bills you once you’ve completed certain actions, thus providing you the full control to decide when and how much you pay.

  • Chartboost

Gaming-focused Chartboost gives you targeted ads to loyal customers, for a retention quotient of 60% more than any other networks. It covers various spaces like videos, GIFs, etc.

  • Applovin

It is one of the highest ROI providing ad-campaigners. It focuses mostly on data and programmatic in-app repository and video ads.


While these are some of the must-have tools for any iOS and Code X programmer, there are some other tools which you might want to try out. Vungle, Unity, TapJoy, Showingithub, PromiseKit are only some of them. Furthermore, to extend your knowledge base, there are many YouTube channels that you can consider following. Some of them are- A Casual Programmer, Stanford, Brain Advent, and App Shocker.

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