Learn Macos App Development

  1. Mac Os Must Have Apps
  2. Learn Macos App Development Settings
  3. Mac Os Development
  4. Learn Macos Development
  5. Learn Mac Os Sierra
  • Rent a Mac in the cloud (starting at $20/mo)
  • Run and compile Swift directly on Windows/Linux
  • Learning to code with a Swift Sandbox
  • Build your own “Hackintosh” by installing macOS on a PC
  • Run Xcode on Windows by installing macOS on a virtual machine
  • Develop iOS apps on Windows with cross-platform tools
  • Get your hands on a second-hand Mac (starting at $300)

Xcode for Windows: What & Why

Xcode is the macOS-only software program, called an IDE, that you use to design, develop and publish iOS apps. The Xcode IDE includes Swift, a code editor, Interface Builder, a debugger, documentation, version control, tools to publish your app in the App Store, and much more.

Rent a Mac in the Cloud

An even easier way to get your hands on macOS, albeit more expensive, is to rent a Mac “in the Cloud”. You can work with Xcode on Windows with this approach, because you’re essentially connected to a Mac that’s elsewhere.

  • Someone connects a bunch of Mac’s to the internet
  • You sign in on one of those Macs via a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP)
  • Done! You can use this Mac from Windows/Linux and build iOS apps
  • A dedicated Mac, which means you get access to a physical Mac located in a data center, as if you bought a Mac in the Apple Store and put it on your desk.
  • A virtual Mac, which means you get access to a virtual Mac in a data center, much like the VirtualBox solution mentioned earlier. Your Mac won’t run on Apple hardware, but it will run macOS.
  • A Mac Build Server, which is a specialized kind of Mac that can be used to compile iOS apps. You’ll create those apps on your Mac, and then instruct the Build Server to compile the app for you.
  • A simple approach is to run your app on iPhone Simulator, right from within Xcode. You can launch iPhone Simulator in Xcode, and debug your app with it. This is perfect for the development phase of your project.
  • An alternative solution are tools like Flexihub, NoMachine and USB Network Gate. They only work with dedicated Mac hardware, and you need to have a dedicated IP address.
  • Install your iOS app on your iPhone via TestFlight, and debug it with a tool like Bugsnag. You can monitor and debug live crashes in your app.

Learn how to code iOS apps

Get started with Xcode and Swift

Install macOS on Your Windows PC via VirtualBox

The easiest way to run Xcode on Windows is by using a virtual machine (VM).

  1. A copy of macOS, as an installer or virtual disk image file
  2. A virtual machine tool, like VirtualBox (free) or VMware (paid)
  1. Install VirtualBox or VMware
  2. Mount the macOS installer or disk image
  3. Start the VM to launch macOS
  4. Launch Xcode!

Build Your Own “Hackintosh” to Run Xcode

The most obvious choice to run Xcode on a Windows PC is perhaps to literally install macOS on a Windows PC…

Swift for Windows & Linux

Developers who want to learn Swift have 2 alternative approaches to code Swift, next to working with Xcode on Windows. Swift is open source, which means you can essentially run it on any system.

Mac Os Must Have Apps

  1. Swift 5 on Ubuntu Linux 16.04 and 18.04 via the official images
  2. Swift 4.1 on Windows 10 via the unofficial swiftforwindows.github.io
  1. Download the latest release from swift.org/download
  2. Unzip the .zip in a convenient location
  3. Locate the swift executable in the usr/bin directory
  4. Compile and run a Swift file with swift [filename.swift]
  1. Download the latest release of Swift for Windows from this page
  2. Start the program and point it to your .swift file
  3. Click Run in the program

Develop iOS Apps on Windows With Cross-Platform Tools

Cross-platform tools are awesome: you code your app once, and export it to iOS and Android. That could potentially cut your app development time and cost in half. Several cross-platform tools allow you to develop iOS apps on a Windows PC, or allow you to compile the app if there’s a Mac in your local network.

  • If you’re familiar with Windows-based development tools and IDEs, and if you already know how to code, it’s worthwhile to check out Xamarin. With Xamarin you code apps in C#, for multiple platforms, using the Mono and MonoTouch frameworks.
  • If you’re familiar with web-based development, check out PhoneGap or Ionic. You’ll feel right at home with HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript. Don’t forget: a native app works different than a website…
  • If you’re familiar with JavaScript, or if you’d rather learn to code JavaScript than Swift, check out React Native. With React Native you can code native apps for iOS and Android using a “wrapper”.

Get a Second-Hand Mac

You gotta ask yourself: Why not get a Mac? Perhaps the simplest option to build iOS apps with Xcode, in this tutorial, is purchasing a Mac for iOS development.

Code Swift with a Swift Sandbox

Do you really need Xcode to code apps? Ultimately, yes. But you can definitely learn Swift and code Swift without a Mac or Xcode!

Learn how to code iOS apps

Get started with Xcode and Swift

Further Reading

You can’t build iOS apps without Xcode, and you need macOS to run Xcode, and a Mac to use macOS. There’s no getting around it, except for these alternatives to run Xcode on Windows:

  • Rent a Mac in the cloud (starting at $20/mo)
  • Run Xcode on Windows by installing macOS on a virtual machine
  • Build your own “Hackintosh” by installing macOS on a PC
  • Develop iOS apps on Windows with cross-platform tools
  • Get your hands on a second-hand Mac (starting at $300)
  • Learning to code with a Swift Sandbox
  • Run and compile Swift directly on Windows/Linux
  • What iOS development topics you need to learn and skills to master
  • The general focus areas of learning iOS development, such as Xcode
  • Common pitfalls for beginner iOS developers
  • Why it’s worth it to get through “the dip”
  • How to keep momentum by coding 1 hour every day
  • A step-by-step plan for starting your own app project

Getting Started With iOS Development

Let’s first talk about what skills you need to build your own apps.

  • Master Xcode: Xcode is the Mac app you use to create apps. It has a code editor, project organizer, compiler, debugger, and many more important tools to build great apps.
  • Swift Programming: Swift is the powerful programming language that you use to code iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS apps. It’s easier to learn than Objective-C, and Swift packs a ton of features that help you code productively. It’s also a lot of fun!
  • Build UIs: Every app needs a User Interface (UI). UIs are made up of buttons, views, navigation, labels, images, controls, etcetera. It’s important that you know how to build UIs and design them. You can use view controllers or SwiftUI.
  • Coding Logic: Your Swift code governs what happens in your app, and when. If this then that. This is called logic, and it’s crucial to any app. Most of learning iOS app development is focused on understanding code and logic, and being able to code from scratch.
  • App Architecture: Writing clear, extensible and maintainable code is as important as writing code that works. App architecture is like the foundation you build a house on. It’s a challenging topic, and it takes time to learn what solution works best in different scenarios.

Learn how to build iOS apps

Get started with iOS 14 and Swift 5

Practice One Hour Per Day

One hour a day…

  • Learn iOS app development for one hour a day, every day, for one year
  • Focus exclusively on iOS development in this hour, without distractions
  • Set a timer for an hour, and stop when the timer goes off
  • Get back to learning iOS app development for one hour the next day
  • When you miss a day, don’t worry, and pick it up again the next day

Recommended iOS App Development Topics

Let’s take a look at the topics you’ll need to learn to master iOS app development. And get my open source Swift cheatsheet while you’re at it!

  • Working with view controllers and SwiftUI
  • Working with UI elements such as UILabel , UIButton and UIImage
  • Working with table views and tab bars
  • Working with navigation and UINavigationController
  • Sending and receiving notifications with NotificationCenter
  • Learn how to find and fix bugs effectively and efficiently (with zero frustrations!)
  • Get to know Xcode, Interface Builder and iPhone Simulator
  • Get started with Model-View-Controller
  • Learn why app architecture matters
  • How to pass data between view controllers
  • Learn about SOLID, DRY and the Single Responsibility Principle
  • Focus on testable code and Dependency Injection
  • Learn about algorithms
  • How do you keep up with Swift changes?
  • Learn to find what you need in Apple’s documentation
  • How to transition from tutorials to writing code from scratch

Get Through “The Dip”

I’ve learned plenty of new things in my life. Every time I learned a new skill, I would encounter something known as “the dip”. The concept of this “dip” was originally introduced to me by Seth Godin.

  • You can write more code, with fewer errors, without running your app in between, to check your results
  • When you encounter bugs or errors, you have an intuitive workflow that you follow automatically
  • You get better at reading someone else’s code, and understand what they’re doing
  • You understand what tools and components you need to build an app feature, and you can create a break-down of steps you need to take to build it
  • They don’t give up before the dip, and lose valuable time
  • They slack off, and stay in the dip forever
  • Give up before you start, and if you start, don’t give up
  • Commit, build momentum, and keep the pressure on

How To Start Your Own App Project

The best way to learn iOS app development is to start your own app project. You can try out newly learned things in your own app, and gradually build towards a complete app.

  1. Learning Phase: Start with tutorials, and let them teach you individual topics and skills
  2. Practice Phase: Apply what you learn in tutorials in mini “sketch” projects to practice
  3. Experience Phase: Focus on incorporating newly learned topics and skills in your big project

Learn Macos App Development Settings

The last step is called the Experience Phase because real-world experience is important. If you stay in the learning and practicing phases, you never incorporate what you learn in real-world projects.

  1. Start with a simple, basic app idea
  2. Design and map out your app’s features
  3. Work out your app’s data structure
  4. Investigate frameworks and libraries
  5. Set up your app project and build the 1st feature
  6. Build the next feature when you’re ready
  7. Backtrack, keep going, and don’t stop
  • Don’t try to build the next Facebook, and don’t make your app idea too complex
  • Keep a notebook of best practices, summaries and tips and tricks
  • Gradually upgrade your goals when you feel you can handle more challenging projects
  • Learn to approach a problem from several angles, and learn different solutions for one problem — this one skill has kept me in business for 10+ years
  • When you use a framework or library, find out how it works internally
  • Go back to code you’ve written before, and features you’ve build, and improve them with what you know now

Learn how to build iOS apps

Get started with iOS 14 and Swift 5

Further Reading

Are you ready to take on your app project, and learn iOS app development? So far, we’ve looked at:

Mac Os Development

  • What topics you need to learn and skills you need to master
  • The general focus areas of learning iOS app development
  • Two common pitfalls for beginner iOS development
  • Why it’s worth it to get through “the dip”
  • How to keep momentum with coding 1 hour every day
  • A step-by-step plan for starting your own app project

Learn Macos Development

Want to learn more?

Learn Mac Os Sierra

  • Check out my free iOS basics course, which guides you through the basics of iOS development in 7 days
  • Sign up for my flagship iOS development course to master iOS development and much, much more

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