You’re looking to start developing iOS apps, but you’re not sure if your computer will be able to do it.
Let’s talk about the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for Xcode, the most popular program used to develop iOS apps.
The minimum hardware requirements are:
The recommended hardware requirements are:
So what do these requirements translate to?
Here are some examples of computers that fit the minimum requirements for Xcode:
Now although you can use a computer that fits the minimum requirements, it may be slow at times.
Here are some examples of computers that fit the recommended requirements for Xcode:
Yes. Mac Minis are more than capable of developing iOS apps.
Be sure your Mac Mini has MacOS 10.14.4 or later and you should be fine. This typically means a Mac Mini that is at least late 2012 or later.
It is recommended you get a Mac Mini with 16 GB of RAM or greater. Ideally with 512 GB of flash storage or greater as well.
Yes - I’ve met some developers who exclusively code iOS apps on their MacBook Airs.
Be sure your MacBook Air is able to run MacOS 10.14.4 or later. This typically means a Macbook Air that is Mid 2012 or later.
It is also recommended you get a MacBook Air with 16 GB of ram or greater. Storage space of 512 GB or greater is recommended as well.
The cheapest computer you can purchase to develop iOS apps on is a used Mac Mini. Used Mac Minis offer some of the greatest value for developers, keep in mind you will have to own or purchase a monitor separately.
There are used Mac Minis fitting the recommend specifications for Xcode that go for under $400.
Here are some recommended websites to buy used Mac machines for iOS development:
Apple offers refurbished Mac machines themselves! These are great because they’re refurbished by Apple and Apple offers a warranty on them as well.
You can browser their refurbished shop here.
eBay is one of my favorite places to shop for used Mac machines. They have a great buyer protection policy that covers you for 60 days after the purchase.
You can find great deals on here, but be sure to read the reviews of the seller before making your purchase. Ideally, you would like to purchase from a store that sells a lot of machines.
Some eBay merchants even offer a 30-60 day warranty on their machines.
Craigslist is a great place to look for used computers as well, provided that you live in a large city.
There are often entire offices that are upgrading or closing, and they usually offer to sell all their machines at a deeply discounted rate.
Be sure to be careful though, usually there is no warranty on Craigslist. Make sure the computer you’re buying works and matches all the specs you wanted.
Facebook Marketplace is another great option similar to Craigslist. There are usually individuals selling to other individuals on this marketplace, as opposed to companies.
Just like Craigslist though, there are no warranties typically offered. So it’s important to make sure the computer you’re buying works and matches all the specs you desire.
The new MacBook Pro 16” is a great choice for most users. It’s been reported that Xcode compile and run times are a lot faster on this machine.
If you’re looking for a desktop, the 2019 iMac is a great option.
You could get the iMac Pro, but for most users this is not needed. The iMac Pro is more for professional creatives such as video editors. There will be a minimal increase in performance going from the maxed out 2019 iMac to the iMac Pro.
Yes, although it is recommended you use a MacOS machine. Read my full guide on developing iOS apps on Windows.