iOS App Development – Basics, Trends and Best Practices
Mobile apps have become the essence of growth and success for businesses since Steve Jobs introduced them over the app store. The mobile app market has grown by many folds and doubled in size while creating more extensive opportunities.
The necessity of mobile apps increases due to the excessive use of mobile devices. Applications on the app stores of Google and Apple have already generated billions of dollars for various types of businesses. But, with so many applications currently live on the app stores, the software you're working on may go overlooked.
The type of app development depends on the target audience and location you're choosing to launch your app. For example, if your target audience is high-end management people living in the US, developing an iOS application would be best for your business.
Throughout this article, we will walk you through the basics of iOS app development services, what are the current trends and practices for creating an iOS app, and last but not least, the whole development process. But, before we dive deep into the ocean of iOS apps, first understand what perks you could get by partnering with an iOS app development company to develop an app?
Apple – is well-known for the secure and scalable digital solutions on the varied range of its products – iPhone, iPad, Mac, iWatch, and Apple TV. It provides the most suitable integrated development environments. Developing an app for iOS is a snap using Swift, an easy and powerful coding language.
Apart from the most institute language and development platforms, when we talk about the performance – the iOS devices perform better than any Android device—an iPhone or iPad functions similarly. This makes iOS devices more user-friendly, unified and exclusive. However, Android phones operate differently depending on the type of model produced by manufacturing companies.
Another compelling argument for selecting iOS is that the App Store generates almost as much revenue as Google's Android platform. On top of it, iOS apps blow out the company's ROI while maintaining a rich quality of the app. Almost all apps are compatible with any Mac OS, while it is not the case with Android apps.
iOS – a transformational wave to stay in future
iOS app development established a benchmark for releasing creative yet secure mobile applications. They say that ‘beauty fades away, but iOS applications' beauty stays, thanks to potent developers who build exceptional applications as per the paradigm and guidelines set by Apple.
As per Glassdoor, the starting income of a good iOS developer is $84000/year. Furthermore, iOS app developers earn more than those working on other development platforms. In a nutshell, they deserve all the money in the world as long as they produce apps that make a difference and solve user problems.
Basics you need to know
Technical information is crucial and significant for any iOS developer, but what if someone is new to the iOS development? So, let's look at the basics you need to keep in mind to kick off the development of iOS apps.
Research, Plan, Setup Goals, and Apple Account
Get ready to show off your new skill set with thorough research and creative strategy, set up goals, and gather the necessary resources to develop an app.
The foremost thing an iOS developer has to do is create an Apple ID and join the Apple developer program. Apple developer programs give you access to all the information related to tools and languages.
Get your skates on Xcode and Swift
In the Apple developer ecosystem, Xcode is a must-have. Here, your objective is to set up the installation and get familiar with the functionalities of the interface. You will find other tools in Xcode's Integrated Development Environment, which helps you develop the user interface and data connectivity for iOS apps edging with Swift Code.
Swift is an open-source, cross-platform language available for building applications across a range of Apple products, including iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
Other than Xcode IDE and Swift, there are other components of Apple's Developer Ecosystem which need equal attention if you need a successful creation.
- SwiftUI allows you to develop sophisticated interfaces quickly and simply without worrying about the underlying code.
- Testflight is a fantastic tool that allows iOS developers to deploy test versions to a small group of people. For example – we can introduce the beta version of an iOS app to a selected expert audience to get their pro-review.
- You can easily publish and maintain your apps on Appstore using AppStore Connect. You have to pay a $100 annual charge to access this site and several additional features.
- Lastly, the provisioning portal includes a signature function that allows you to sign your code. By now, when you're aware of Apple's programming language, tools, and frameworks, embark yourself on developing a cutting-edge iOS app.
Taking a closer look at the app that prompted you to go on this adventure can help you identify the abilities you'll need along the route. Planning is nothing but deciding on the app's functionalities you want to integrate.
GitHub may be a great source of inspiration and assistance.
Now that you have a clear understanding of development fundamentals, let's dig into the iceberg to learn more about iOS App Development.
iOS application development process
Let's take a look at the process of creating iOS-powered apps.
Get the ball rolling with the planning phase of app development. Does planning enlighten you with why you're developing an iOS app? What information structure do you need to run the app? What functionalities need to be integrated to give a seamless user experience?
You need to plan out the process to ensure that the product stands out. The planning step also involves gathering all the essentials required for the app development phases.
1 – Vibrant and crisp design
Start outlining the design parameters for the design team. It would help if you created a foundation for UX and UI at this stage since it determines how the app will look and what user experience it may deliver.
This step aims to build designs that are both aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate. You should follow Apple's rules regarding the app's UI and UX.
2 – Technical roadmap
Drafting well-organised documentation on requirements of back-end and front-end technologies to integrate into an app. Software architecture is the bridge between navigation and features of an app. Working on the best practices and latest trends to migrate into the front-end and back-end will ensure the product's soundness and adaptability to the application.
3 – Building features and data integration
During this phase, the development team focuses on three separate but equally important aspects of the project: the back end, API, and application front end.
Apple has established several developer guidelines. As a result, iOS app developers must include the necessary aspects and best practices to provide a securely encrypted user experience.
4 – Testing
As we have mentioned earlier, Testflight is a tool provided by the Apple Development Ecosystem to check the quality of an app.
After technical development, the Quality Analyst takes charge of testing the workability of an app. It is crucial and needs expert advice as it might be one of the causes of app rejections on Apple's App Store.
The developers must test the device for maximum speed; identify and remove errors; check for seamless user experience and privacy, and ensure that the app must follow all the guidelines provided in Apple Development Program.
5 – Implementation
After debugging errors and rewarding the best quality app, deploying the app into the system is the next step. Developers submit an app to the App Store for assessment, review, and approval. The tech giant may respond and accept your mobile application from a few days to a few weeks.
6 – App maintenance
A continual process of app maintenance begins with introducing an app. This includes using app analytics tools to analyse device usage, evaluating performance using KPIs, fixing any technical or security flaws, and changing app functionality in response to customer input and iOS requirements.
Best practices to follow
Now is the time to discuss the best practices and promising principles you should follow while developing an iOS app. It will not always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile.
1 – Planning and objectives
Planning the development process is crucial for a developer. Here, you need to identify the critical solutions to some common questions, such as which platform to use, the app's layout and structure, design parameters, technologies, frameworks, etc.
Whether you're a beginner or an expert in iOS app development, you need to follow the MVC model for better planning and setting individual goals. MVC (Model-View-Controller) divides the development elements into UI, Data, and Software. It would be best if you established different purposes for each component. It also offers the added benefit of prepping your app for future updates and scalability.
Also, you need to take a strategy call on developing a hybrid app or native app. This decision has an impact on the app's scalability and adaptability.
2 – Strong groundwork
Exploring the iOS market is always recommended before you begin with the development. Building an app is no different; thorough market research will assist you in comprehending distinct techniques employed by your competitors and their faults. You may learn from your mistakes and devise a better strategy. Make sure to include user feedback in your study.
Like every coin has two sides, even the app has its pros and cons, and by sifting through them, you can develop a gem.
3 – Documentation of the study
You'll need to create simple documentation that addresses the system's requirements. The purpose of the iOS app, descriptions, problems it solves, solutions, target audience, geographies you want to target, possible launch date or week, and expected results – everything you feel is necessary that should be on paper for future reference.
4 – Follow the guidelines carefully
Abide by the app store's guidelines. Because if you don't, there are chances that your app might get rejected by analysts at Apple when you submit it to the App Store.
It may appear that getting your app published is straightforward, but you have no idea how difficult it can be. It would be best to consider all aspects throughout the planning stage and begin the development process. To save time and avoid problems, read the app store's instructions thoroughly and ensure to follow them.
5 – Choose the right squad
It all comes down to whom you want on your squad. There are several app development agencies, companies, and freelancers. The most outstanding team will keep working on your software till you can make a sale more effectively.
Focus on what features you want and what features the app needs – a fantastic user interface is another best practice to consider when building apps for the iPhone or iPad.
The simplicity is that a user may place an order from the website and pay using the mobile app. Don't try to bombard an app with the functionalities you want to deploy in an app. Instead, consider the user perspective and integrate features as per their needs.
6 – Essential compatibility
Like for any successful relationship, compatibility between partners is critical; the same goes with the success of any iOS app. It is crucial to make it compatible with all the iOS versions.
Users use a varied range of Apple devices, and no matter what, they expect the app to run on their multiple devices, and if applications are incompatible, you may lose a large number of prospects.
7 – Pivot for extraordinary design
Apple sets good design standards. Developers should focus on matching those standards by planning purpose-driven minimalistic designs for an app. An urge to operate the basic and easy-to-navigate applications is one of the significant considerations for customers purchasing Apple devices.
Apple is a great mentor for developers, proving the statement by introducing Human Interface Guidelines – a significant source of iOS app UI design information. These guidelines remind us that excellent design is more than just a pretty layout. It includes motion objects, menu bars, action buttons, user interfaces, and structures.
8 – Security by default
All mobile applications access the saved data on smart mobile devices. Your app should not act as a conduit for fraudsters looking to steal data or gain control of the user's device. It would be best to create robust security walls against those threats by implementing security protection strategies.
The most important aspect is to concentrate on code quality. Examine your app's cache, logging process, and authorisation and authentication. It would be best if you also thought about implementing a second encryption layer.
9 – Quality coding
Coding standards are equally high and critical, like designing in iOS application development. The quality of the code impacts things like security measures, app size, loading speed, and how it navigates in general. Apple guidelines on programming language guide you through the code standards and the quality of an app.
Developers should follow the latest versions of Apple's Swift programming language and ensure its compatibility with all other Apple devices. Furthermore, beginners can get in touch with seasoned iOS developers of an iOS app development company specialising in performing research and implementing appropriate code bases.
If you create an iOS app in 2022, you must ensure it operates well on iOS 14, released in December 2020. It's worth mentioning that iPhones from the 6S to the 12 Pro are compatible with iOS 12.
10 – Begin with a prototype
This is the best practice to follow while developing an app for any platform in any language. We also call it Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to accelerate your project to build the copy of an app with basic features.
It is simpler to focus on fewer issues at first and create an app that excels in a few areas. The app should be average in a few places than a bucketful of complexities. Next, an MVP is delivered faster, and you receive feedback sooner based on which you can plan your future moves and strategies.
Choose the right price for the premium version
You have to choose reasonable pricing for your app. Have you noticed that there are hundreds of free and popular applications? Revenue becomes more essential than pricing at this point. Users' adaptability is more important than revenue. You can charge for premium services or features at affordable rates considering the competition and your app's value to the end-users.
Explore the top trends for iOS app development
So, what's new in the world of iOS app development? Every year, Apple enthusiasts anticipate something new and surprising. Let's look at the trends that will be prevalent this year.
1 – AI-enabled app
To power your iOS app, Apple introduced Siri as a personal assistant. Artificial Intelligence flurries the brilliant minds of prominent engineers. In this digital transformation, users want to operate hands-free smart devices; that's why Voice Search Optimisation became popular in app development.
Apple has released Sirikit for iOS developers to enable every iOS device with Artificial Intelligence technology. Apps for iOS and WatchOS now function with Siri only through voice commands. So now your Siri-integrated applications are available in a new shortcut app area.
2 – Safety walls
For iOS apps, considering strong security measures is the primary key to getting approval from Apple App Store. Apple is known for delivering specific products. However, security problems have come into close contact with the development of any technology.
Hackers power up their weapons equipped with advancements to steal end-users, personal information and encrypted data. Apple built App Transport Security for every newly released iOS app that helps keep hackers at bay.
3 – HomeKit and IoT
According to BI Intelligence, by 2022, there will be over 24 billion IoT devices. IoT has become a significant aspect of iOS app development, especially after the release of HomeKit. You must include it in the app trends list. As a result, creating apps that link to IoT devices is quite beneficial for iOS developers. To put it another way, IoT devices exchange data with mobile devices. With the aid of Siri, a user will be able to manage the home while being outside of it.
4 – Latest version of Swift (Swift 5)
It gives you insights into the basics of Swift – the most popular programming language for iOS app development, and Swift 5 is the more advanced version.
It is popular among iOS developers as it offers multiple features with simple terminologies. Apple released Swift 5 with more improvements and benefits for iOS developers.
5 – Digital payment gateway
Another big trend in iOS app development is integrating the Apple Pay system to enable your app with automatic transactions. Apple launched Apple Pay, intending to replace your heavily loaded wallet with easy digital transactions. Apple users can make any form of payment through this digital wallet.
Of course, security concerns arise when a user asks to fill in the card details. The security of Apple Pay is a plus: users don't have to save their card information for every transaction; this decreases the possibility of fraudulent transactions.
6 – ARkit
Apple launched ARkit 3 as a valuable tool for building unique augmented reality experiences. There are various changes in the latest version of ARkit, such as advanced scene processing, improved motion tracking, and increasing the device's capability.
ARKit 3 lets you use both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. This version is trendy as it comes with improved illusions, allowing for more natural placement of virtual objects. 3D items in a scene can also be detected. ARkit consumes much battery, so the developer can only integrate such apps that run on the iPhone XR, XS, and subsequent models.
7 – Core Machine Learning
Machine Learning is already a trend-setting in digital transformation. It is present in our daily life. Apple freezes the opportunity by releasing CoreML integrated into other features like Camera, Siri, and Quicktype.
iOS app developers quickly adopted the migration and are broadly working on integrating CoreML into iOS apps to enhance the user experience.
It is popularly used among gaming and image analysis applications, as it serves as a centre for natural language programming.
8 – Back-up with iCloud
iCloud was initially released in 2011. Since then, technology has become an essential component of all Apple gadgets. Nevertheless, given the number of iCloud users growing consistently, it is critical at the same time.
iCloud is a service by Apple that connects your device to the cloud and transfers data as and when required from the device to the cloud and vice-versa. For example, if you began working on a document on an iPhone, you may continue to manage it on an iPad using the same AppleID.
Many programs now use iCloud to boost their performance. This allows the program to be lighter while still protecting the essential information of users.
Estimating the cost of iOS app development
Many iOS developers and clients are unsure about the cost of developing an iOS app. Furthermore, people are sceptical about why one app charges more than another. So here's an attempt to explain these points in a better way.
The typical cost of developing an iOS app is estimated by integrating technology and its functionalities. On average, individual iOS developers charge $30-$50 per hour, and hiring an iOS development company may charge you between $3,000 and $10,000.
We have covered every essential element that necessitates the successful development of an iOS app. This informative piece is beneficial and straightforward for beginners if you follow them appropriately while developing an iOS app.
However, practice makes a man perfect, so keep yourself updated with the latest trends and regularly deploy the best practices for creating an iOS app. The best way to get easy approval is to follow the guidelines of coding and designing mentioned in the Apple Developer Program.
Apart from understanding the fundamentals of designing an iOS app, you need to work on planning, techniques, and resources.
Creating an iOS app from scratch demands patience, planning, knowledge, skills, and testing. To prevent faltering initially, you need to acknowledge more resources and do in-depth research into iOS app development.
FAQs for iOS app development
Many of us have similar concerns and misunderstandings regarding iOS app development. Here, we have prepared answers to users' often asked queries. The two most frequently asked questions concerning iOS app development are mentioned below.
Is it possible to create an iOS app on Windows?
On Windows, you may create an iOS app. However, we do know that iOS programming on Windows is not doable. There is a method to do it if you need to. You'll need Microsoft's Xamarin to deploy, run, and test the iPad app from Windows in that instance. Xamarin is a cross-platform framework that helps developers build platform-independent mobile apps. There are other tools for building hybrid or cross-platform apps that you can use, including PhoneGap, Flutter, Ionic, etc.
Author Bio: Julie Aplustill is a renowned content marketer from California, USA, associated with Closeloop Technologies – a trusted software and app development company. She loves to share her views on the latest digital technologies, web development trends, and augmented reality and prefers diverse niches.