Apple officially opened its App store in 2008, initially featuring 500 apps. Since then, people have been busy learning how to create iOS apps, bringing to life their app idea. As of 2017, there was a recorded 2.1 million+ apps available in the App store. And, app creation doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Whether you have an app idea, are wanting to start a career in iOS app building, or simply want to know how to create an app, this blog post lists five simple steps every beginner must know when thinking about learning how to create an iOS app:
- Download Xcode
- Learn Swift
- Access Online Resources
- Find a Mentor
- Enroll in Coding Bootcamp
Step #1: Download Xcode
Before creating an iOS app, you will need the proper tools. In app building, the tool you need is called Xcode. You can download it directly to your computer from the App Store. Once it’s downloaded, you will use it to build your user interface and for writing code to respond to user interaction. And, good news: It’s free.
Step #2: Learn Swift
Swift is the coding language you’ll need to learn for writing iOS apps. After downloading Xcode, you will be writing Swift into Xcode. To get a better idea of what we mean, Code with Chris explains it with this analogy: Swift would the English language and Xcode would be your pen and paper. You’ll be writing Swift programming language directly into Xcode.
After downloading Xcode and learning Swift, you’re going to be able to not only build iOS apps for an iPhone, but also apps for other Apple products such as iPads, Apple watch apps, Apple TV apps, etc.
Now, downloading Xcode and learning Swift isn’t as simple as it sounds. Or, maybe it doesn’t sound that simple. Either way, you will need to learn how to navigate Xcode, and LEARN a new language, aka Swift. Lucky for you, there are a lot of resources out there that will help you do these things.
Step #3: Access Online Resources
Just like most trades now, you can find endless amounts of free, online resources that will walk you through the process of navigating Xcode, and learning Swift. Here are the benefits to learning how to build an app this way: 1) it’s free, and 2) you can work on your own timeline. With this type of learning, you will have to be very disciplined. Practicing what the internet teaches you will also be essential to your success.
Depending on what kind of learner you are, this could be a negative experience. If using online resources and working on your own timeline, it will take a while before you get to a place where you feel comfortable building your own apps.
Step #4: Find a Mentor
Along with using online resources, finding a mentor, or someone who knows Xcode and Swift and has time to teach you, will be one of the most effective ways to learn how to create an iOS app. A mentor can teach you the correct way to set up Xcode, and teach you tips and tricks they’ve learned in their years of experience. And, even after you start building your app, you can lean on your mentor to make your app better.
Finding a mentor will take some work. Here are some recommendations for how to find one:
- Search for iOS developers in your area on LinkedIn, connect with them, ask them about their work, and ask them if they would be interested in teaching you how they do what they do.
- Ask your family and friends if they know anyone involved in app development. Even if they don’t work specifically with Mac/iPhones, they may be able to help you find others who do. Get their number, and make the call.
- Go to a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps typically have mentors that not only help you through the coding bootcamp course, but will stay connected with you even after you’ve finished the course.
Step #5: Enroll in Coding Bootcamp
A 13-week coding bootcamp fully immerses you into iOS app building and the iOS app network—meaning, finding connections with the right people who can teach you what you need to know. At bootcamp, you will be instructed by seasoned professionals and mentored by others how have gone through the course themselves. Bootcamp is effective, but typically costs $11,400 depending on where you go. Another added benefit to going to coding bootcamp—if you’re hoping to make a career out of building iOS apps—is certification. This shows prospective employers that you know how to code an app (iOS certification looks nice on resumes).
Other Things to Consider
How much does it cost to build an app? There’s really no specific price range. It’s not unheard of for large, enterprise-level businesses to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on proprietary apps with dozens of features, and even smaller businesses can sometimes expect to invest upwards of $10,000 on developing a single app. Does that mean that you’ll need to empty out your savings to turn your app dream into iOS-based reality?
Not necessarily. Really, what it all depends on a variety of factors, including what additional tools you use, what features you plan to include, and how quickly you want to finish the app. The fact is that if you can develop a proficiency with the code and you have the time, building your own iOS app doesn’t have to be costly at all.
- Platform compatibility
Can you make an iOS app using the Windows operating system? The short (and official) answer is no. However, the longer, more accurate answer is yes… you’ll just need to use a work around. That’s because Xcode is only compatible with Mac operating systems—making windows strictly off limits.
It is possible, however, to use virtual machines to run the Mac OS on a windows computer. Just be aware that using macOS on non-Apple hardware violates Apple’s End User License Agreement. So don’t do it (wink).
Using online resources, finding a mentor, AND going to a coding bootcamp is the quickest, and most effective, pathway to learning how to create an iOS app. Getting started with any of these recommendations will surely put you in the right path to adding your app to Apple’s App Store.