What Languages Are iOS Apps Written In?

If you’re wanting to make an iOS app but you’re not sure where to start, it might be helpful to be well-versed in the Apple ecosystem and with its development tools and guidelines. Apple is known to be selective and to restrict apps, so it can be worth your time to know what you can and can’t create and publish on the App Store. To that end, you can start by knowing the languages that are used to write iOS apps, and Devmountain can help you get started.

About XCode, Swift, and Objective-C

Apple’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for both Mac and iOS apps is XCode, available only to run on macOS. This is the only go-to graphical interface you’ll use to write iOS apps. It houses everything you’ll need to write code for iOS.

Included with XCode is support for Apple’s newer Swift programming language, made specifically for iOS and macOS. While Apple is pushing Swift, you can also program iOS in Objective-C.

There Are Two Main Languages That Power iOS: Objective-C and Swift

You can use other languages to code iOS apps, but they may require significant workarounds that require more effort than needed.

what languages are ios apps written in

Objective-C 

Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language based on the language C. Because it was developed in 1984, it has had the time to mature as a language and is considered more stable than Swift. Since it is the longtime programming language used by Apple up until 2014, it is still widely supported for both iOS and macOS development. One of the strengths of Objective-C being a C family language is its compatibility with C and C++ libraries.

Swift

Launched by Apple back in 2014, Swift is a fairly new and modern programming language. One of the advantages of Swift is that it is an open-source programming language. This makes it much easier to dive deeper and gain a better understanding of how the programming language actually works.

Another great feature of Swift is its syntax, particularly when compared to Objective-C. Because there are no semicolons, calls to self, or parentheses around if statements, the process of typing a lot of code can “flow” much easier. But, because it’s a younger language, it comes with large migrations between new versions that roll out from Apple.

One of the perks of Swift is that it was designed to be faster than Objective-C. It was also designed to improve the safety of iOS products. It was created as a type-safe and memory-safe language, meaning that the language itself prevents type errors that are the most common in development and difficult to find and debug.

Should I Learn Swift or Objective-C? 

Both are valuable skills in the iOS development toolkit. Because Swift is rapidly gaining popularity as the language of choice for iOS development, it will most likely continue to become more stable and mainstream for developers. If you’re looking to get a job as an iOS developer, Swift is a great language to learn due to most startups and mid-level companies having their iOS apps written in Swift instead of Objective-C.

If you’re at a mid-level company and looking to move to a larger company, the skills you would learn from picking up Objective-C may give you more specialized knowledge that may help set you apart from other candidates looking to fill a similar role. So, the answer is both. Good thing is, Devmountain teaches you both in just 13 weeks.

Ready to Learn More?

Devmountain offers an immersive iOS Development course with in-person experience for both Swift and Objective-C. Learn how to work with XCode and create iOS apps.

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