If you’ve always wanted to develop an app for iOS but don’t know where to start, this guide will put you on the right path. While Android has more users worldwide, iOS is making a strong comeback. And if you want to get paid for your development efforts, iOS users are far more willing to actually spend money on apps.
However, one thing you should know about developing iOS apps is that Apple is quite stringent on what it lets in its stores.
If you’re rather fluent in coding (if not, there are resources here) then you’ll need to get a good grasp on Apple’s developments tools and guidelines, especially because Apple is rather stringent and known to often restrict certain apps from their stores.
The aim of this guide is to give you enough resources to point you in the right direction, especially to familiarize you with Apple’s guidelines.
Xcode and Swift
To write iOS apps, you’ll need to use Xcode. It’s Apple’s IDE’s (integrated Development Environments, and it’s only available for Mac. You can freely download it from Apple’s site. It includes everything you need for iOS 8 and the new Swift programming language.
While Apple prefers Swift, you can also write your app with Objective-C. However, Swift is really helpful for beginners because it makes developing iOS apps much more accessible.
Jessica Skeete, an Education Product Manager at General Assembly says “Swift makes prototyping your ideas easier because of its forgiving syntax and intuitive class names. If you are a newbie, you definitely shouldn’t hesitate to check it out”.
Whichever you choose, here are a few resources to get you started.
- Start Developing iOS Apps Today: This is where you should start on your iOS app endeavors. Apple teaches you how to set up Xcode, structure your app, and even how to submit it to the App store.
- Introducing Swift: If you’re totally new to iOS app development, especially Swift, this is a good place to start.
- Apple’s API Capabilities: You’ll want to come here to learn about the many wonderful API’s Apple has. You’ll learn how to integrate more advanced features into your app such as Touch ID, HealthKit and more.
- Code School’s iOS App Development class: Code school offers free intro classes which covers the basics of iOSdevelopment – perfect for newbies.
After reading through these resources you’ll have a strong grasp on how to start developing your iOS app.
App Store Review Guidelines
Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines are incredibly specific, if not strict. In fact, it’s good to know their rules before you even begin to start developing your app, otherwise you may waste a lot of time on something you can’t even submit.
Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with Apple’s Review Guidelines page and then head here to see the most common reasons apps get rejected. Rejections usually occur because of crashes, advertisements or for having adult or political content.
Rejections usually occur because of crashes, advertisements or for having adult or political content.
Next, you’ll want to start finding relevant APIs to add to your app. Unfortunately, they have guidelines too. For instance, if you want to integrate HealthKit or Apple Pay, you’ll need to review what’s below:
Admittedly, Apple tends to be a lot more conservative with the review process than Google is with Android Apps. Even after you review Apple’s guidelines, you’ll also have to go through their set of design and interface guidelines too.
Apple likes consistency. That doesn’t mean you’ll need a great app to get it accepted. However, you will notice if you browse through the app store, that generally the apps use the same basic UI elements. To start with, check out Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines page to understand what’s passable regarding apps and icon design. Be warned: the guide is a titanic. For those that want to save themselves some time and trouble, read the Do’s and Don’ts of app design instead.
Below are some guides on how to design a great app:
- Designing Great Apps: This is a collection of talks centered on design and how to get started developing.
- Designing a User Interface: This guide is for designing interfaces in iOS 8 and how to properly use Xcode‘s built-in tools.
You can also find plenty of resources online to help improve your design skills.
TestFlight and GitHub
Whether you’re an experienced developer or entirely new, you’ll want to have people test your app, rather than doing it alone. The best place to go for software testing and collaborative work is GitHub. You’ll need to register, but after you do all the work you do will be saved and accessible by your team.
You also want to test your app. Beta testing with iOS 8 is incredibly easy. You can use TestFlight so everyone on your team can test your app.
While there’s a lot more to learn about designing an iOS app, the tools above will get you started. But for a little inspiration, you can check out the 100 best iOS apps so far in 2015.
Matt Gemmell, speaker and founder of Instinctive code says “Every app has been done a hundred times but there’s always room for better software”.
Following that advice, never lose sight of your audience and what’s already been done. The app ecosystem is always evolving, and so changes that bring innovation, better service, and customer satisfaction will always play a role.