Best programming languages for iOS app development

Kirtan Thaker This post was written by Kirtan Thaker

It has been a decade now that the mobile app industry is growing in full force, generating billions of revenue. In 2023, Android and iOS collectively were responsible for accelerating consumer spending by up to $135 bn, of which iOS contributed 66%. These numbers are most likely to increase in the future. Such fierce and stable is the brand loyalty of Apple users. Hence, iOS app development and its usage is a big business. For all iOS developers, you must know some of the most known iOS programming languages. 
We have curated this information to help you remain ahead of knowing what iOS app development trends prevail in the iOS market. We also want you to get deep insights into these top iOS programming languages.
In the below article, we shall look at some of the best languages for iOS app development in 2024. Before that, let us first get a basic idea of what is iOS programming language.

What is the iOS Programming Language?

iOS programming languages are languages specifically used to build iOS applications for Apple mobile devices. It includes iPads, iWatch, Apple TV, iPhone, macOS, etc. Among all the programming languages, Swift is the most known and trusted programming language for iOS developers. Along with Swift, even Objective-C is also used for the majority of iOS projects or for interacting with legacy codebases.
Moreover, you can hire Swift and Objective-C experts for iOS projects as iOS programmers can harness the advantages of both languages into the same project. 

Best Programming Languages for iOS App Development

Here we shall understand the basics of the seven most popular iOS app development languages. As a developer, if you are a beginner, you must know about the choices for deciding the most suitable programming language for your upcoming iOS endeavour. In addition, we will also explain the key features and benefits of using these languages.

Swift

Swift is a very popular and multi-paradigm programming language, well-compiled and smartly developed for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS app development. Initially, it was released in 2014 and has rapidly become one of the choicest languages for iOS development.

Top Features of Swift

  • Easy syntax for learning and working
  • Provides rapid processing speed and provides an opportunity to make early improvements
  • It supports functional and pattern-oriented programming
  • Has steadfast capability of error-handling functionalities
  • Easily compatible with Objective-C programs

Key Benefits of Swift

  • Various Swift courses and playground apps are available for new programmers to learn the language easily.
  • Open-source programming language
  • It maximizes the features of iOS and iPhone hardware
  • Rapid and lightweight
  • Easy to learn syntax
  • In-built safety features for preventing errors
  • Very less memory usage
  • Easy scalability
  • Symmetrical codebase
  • Easily compatible with Mac, Apple Watch, iPad, and Apple TV.

When to use Swift?

  • For building a native iOS app
  • For leveraging the complete features of iPhone features
  • To expand the older iOS app
  • Easy interoperable with Apple legacy Objective-C files

Top Apps Developed Using Swift

Uber, Lyft, YouTube, Amazon Alexa, Google Pay, LinkedIn

C#

C# is one of the most dynamic and object-driven programming languages. It is created by Microsoft, mostly used to create cross-platform apps. However, it is also used for software, games, web APIs, websites, and much more.

Top Features of C#

  • Speedy execution code and strongly typed
  • Robust .NET ecosystem to access extensive libraries and runtime
  • An asynchronous programming model that is ideal for mobile apps
  • The compilation is done using Xamarin tools into native iOS app libraries
  • Well-integrated with Visual Studio and other developer tools
  • Available in different types such as ASP/ASP.NET, Xamarin, MonoDevelop, etc.
  • Used mostly to develop desktop apps for Windows

Key Benefits of C#

  • It can build a variety of technology projects
  • Can accommodate both iOS and Android apps
  • Comprehensive documentation and support
  • Open-source programming language
  • Can protect against errors and can handle mistakes in a structured manner
  • Can handle low-level memory management
  • Can manage to combine the use of multiple programming languages

When to use C#?

  • For code sharing with major app logic across mobile platforms
  • To harness Microsoft’s mature IDE and developer tools
  • To use existing c# codebase, team skills, and libraries
  • For showing better app performance with higher code execution and code efficiency

Top Apps built with C#

Microsoft Office Apps, Amazon Books, Storyo, and Sworkit Fitness

Objective-C

Developed by Objectives Computing Corporation in the 1980s, Objective-C is a programming language designed to make programming easier and seamless. Being one of the best iOS programming languages, Objective-C is equally popular among iOS developers just as Swift is. It has very less sets of extensions, yet they are powerful and belong to the ANSI language standard. 

Top Features of Objective-C

  • It has dynamic message passing with runtime allowing faster development processes
  • All are highly interoperable with Swift and C++ code
  • It is a matured language with extensive frameworks and developer tools
  • Apple fiercely supports Objective-C to date
  • Used for getting better performance through C code and libraries

Key Benefits of Objective-C

  • Backward compatibility is possible with C and C++
  • It has thorough documentation
  • Abundant support from the developer community
  • Wide range of third-party frameworks and libraries
  • Easy adjustable with older Apple operating systems

When to use Objective-C

  • For building legacy iOS apps that are originally written in Objective-C frameworks
  • To reuse mature Objective-C frameworks through libraries and dependencies
  • For algorithmic processing and to execute intensive tasks with efficiency
  • For apps that need compatibility such as older iOS versions

Top apps built with Objective-C

Facebook, Instagram, Apple Music, Apple Maps, Dropbox, and eBay

Flutter

Do you want a super fast language that fits so well in this rising digital era? Flutter is the perfect fit with no doubts. As a user and a developer, you can view all the latest modifications and avoid losing essential information. This is because Flutter provides a direct experience and an instant reloading facility. Based on the programming language named Dart, Flutter was developed in 2009 and has been refined over the years. You can hire Flutter developers to create dynamic iOS mobile apps for your startup.

Key features of Flutter

  • Hot reload system
  • Native performance and internationalization
  • Huge library of widgets
  • IDE and Firebase support
  • Abundant extensions, tools, and languages
  • It has its rendering language

Key benefits of Flutter

  • Provides rapid compilation without compromising on code quality
  • Consistency in rendering for iOS and Android devices
  • Creates apps in the fastest time possible
  • Easy code maintenance as it uses the same codebase for building cross-platform apps
  • Uses Google Dart programming language that is easy to use and understand
  • Has a high-performing compiler that will support hardware acceleration and other programming frameworks
  • Used for writing scripts with automated memory management functions like garbage collection that controls data types as well.

When to use Flutter