Which Programming Language Is Best For iOS App Development?

best programming language for ios app development
April 20, 2022 | 6 min read

The app economy is built on two platforms – Android and iOS. These platforms have expanded their offerings to include apps for every type of business. iOS is the second most-used operating system in the world after Android. As of 2021, there were roughly 3.6 million apps available for iOS. That’s huge, right!

This is encouraging news for app developers, publishers, and anyone who plans to develop an iOS app. But in order to be successful in this space, you need to know which programming language is the best for iOS apps development. Not all programming languages are the same and not all languages will suit your project. The results you get are determined largely by the framework you choose to use. To help you with that challenging task, we have prepared a list of the most popular ios development programming languages with their use, advantages, and disadvantages. Let’s checkout!

Growth of iOS Apps – iOS Market

Every year millions of apps are being published on Apple App Store. iOS has gained a remarkable reputation for providing exceptional user experience and excellent performance. As per StatCounter’s 2021 report, the number of iOS users worldwide accounted for 27.47% of all users of mobile devices. 

Besides these advantages, iPhone is incredibly famous across the world highly popular in developed countries like the USA and Europe. In 2021, Apple offered more than one million gaming apps accounting for almost 21.8% of the App Store. After games, business and education are the second and third most popular categories in Apple App Store. 

The figures are staggering and there’s no doubt an efficiently developed iOS mobile app can help you increase the growth and sales of your business. 

Top 7 Programming Languages For iOS App Development

Developing a good, comprehensive iOS app is a big deal that needs to be well analyzed and planned. Selecting the right coding language for iOS apps can make it easy for you. Let’s have a look at the options for iOS development programming languages.

1. Objective-C

Objective-C is a programming language created as an extension of the C language with object-oriented programming capabilities. It was the primary iOS coding language even before Swift came around. Objective-C was mainly used to support macOS and iOS app development. 

Objective-C being a C family language is highly compatible with C and C++ libraries. Since it is one of the initial programming languages for iOS, the community offers extensive and instant support for your queries. Today, Swift has taken over Objective-C in popularity and usefulness.

When to use Objective-C – Its simplicity and run time make it the right programming language for iOS development. If you intend to build an iOS app on old versions that other programming languages don’t support, Objective-C will be a decent option.

Products built with Objective-C – Slack, Instagram, Pinterest.

2. Swift

Swift replaced Objective-C and has become the language of choice for iOS application development. It is a free, open-source programming language that is ideal to develop apps for Apple products (i.e. iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Mac TV, and Apple Watch). Swift is easy to learn, understand, and code and catches most novice errors during compile time. Its strong side is compatibility (especially with Objective-C). Swift is still young and has a huge development community

When to use Swift – Swift is a perfect choice for building iOS native apps. Also, Swift is more advisable when you need fast and reliable development.

Products built with Swift – Apple, Facebook, Uber.

3. C#

C# is a multi-paradigm, high-level programming language designed by Microsoft. Although it’s primarily applied for Windows-based app development, it can be used to build software for Linux and Mac because it is integrated with the .Net framework. C# is one of the most versatile programming languages in the world, supports cross-platform app development, and offers a rich library. However, it consists of a poor platform GUI and is difficult to learn for beginners.

When to use C# – If you have experienced C# developers and when you want to develop apps for older iOS versions.

Products built with  C# – Slack, Pinterest, Tableau.

4. Java

Java is an object-oriented and general-purpose programming language. It is still the most popular programming language among developers as it is easy to learn and offers extensive community support. Java allows programmers to reuse code, build better-organized software and simplify maintenance. It can better handle the complexity of real-world applications. Java is the most preferred language for Android app development but it can be used for iOS app development due to its cross-platform functionality. 

When to use Java – If you already have an Android app developed in Java, you should consider using the same programming language to create the iOS version.

Products built with Java – LinkedIn, Netflix, Uber.

5. Python

Python is an object-oriented and high-level programming that is easy to learn, use, and deploy. Python is the fastest-growing programming language and because of its advanced features, it is very popular among developers. Python is portable which means you can use the same code for different devices. It also offers expensive support to libraries. Python works well with data science and big data and can be integrated with other programming languages. With all the benefits, there are some drawbacks too. Python is not native to either iOS or Android, so the deployment process can be slow and difficult. This may also lead to some inconsistencies between different app versions.

When to use Python – Python is a universal programming language that is appropriate for solving a wide range of tasks. If you have enough time and experienced Python developers, you can choose the language to develop your iOS app. 

Products built with  Python – Reddit, Quora, Spotify.

6. React Native

React Native is a popular JavaScript-based mobile app framework that allows you to build natively rendered mobile apps for iOS and Android. React Native is currently the trendiest development framework among developers allowing them to build versatile apps. It offers cross-platform compatibility features enabling app developers to build cross-platform apps without compromising the quality. Owing to features such as hot reload, code reusability, ease of third-party plugin integration, and many more React Native is a choice for many companies. See why startups are choosing React Native for cross-platform app development!

When to use React Native – React Native is an excellent choice when you want to develop iOS and Android apps simultaneously. Also, if you have JavaScript specialists on board in the web development team you can definitely choose React Native.

Products built with  React Native – Walmart, Airbnb, UberEats.

7. Flutter

Flutter was developed by Google as an open-source and comprehensive app Software Development Kit (SDK). It uses the Dart programming language and allows you to create cross-platform, enabling Flutter developers an easy way to make visually attractive, natively-compiled mobile and web applications using only one codebase.  Flutter has the best performance similar to native apps and has a wide range of ready-to-go widgets. There are some drawbacks of Flutter. Flutter has a small number of libraries, the talent pool is limited, and apps are relatively larger.

When to use Flutter – Flutter can be a great choice when you want to develop Android and iOS apps at the same time, eventually saving time and effort.

Products built with  Flutter – Google Ads, Tencent, The New York Times.

So which language you should choose?

Choosing the best programming language for iOS app development is an important decision that can have a crucial impact on your business’s success. We have discussed each language along with its advantages and disadvantages. Now, it is easier for you to choose the best programming language for your iOS application. You should clearly define your requirements and on this basis, choose the best language suited for your project. 

If you are still in doubt and looking for the right technology for your iOS app and experienced mobile developers, get in touch with Scalex. We will help you build engaging and consistent apps, regardless of complexity. 

About the Author

A Digital Marketer at Scalex, Nikita is devoted to her motto - to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with 6+ years of experience in marketing, she creates informative but exciting articles on technologies.

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