Mobile App Development

Marketer-friendly Guide to iOS Mobile Application Development

Mobile app development isn’t an all-encompassing practice. Especially not when there are stark differences between Android and iOS mobile application development.

Add to that, iOS mobile application development has different requirements, in that; it’s a closed operating system. Meaning non-Apple devices can’t run nor even access iOS apps.

It’s for this reason that iOS app development has become a specialized practice on its own, and mobile app development companies offer it as a separate service, entirely.

So if your organization is looking into developing an iOS app to help service your clients better, then this guide should help you gain a simple understanding of what and how much goes into iOS mobile application development. Study it and plan your approaches to endeavoring into mobile app marketing.

Guide to iOS mobile application development

Developer Requirements

Despite the sophisticated and unique features of an iOS app, it only needs four basic requirements. Aside from writing user stories for your mobile apps, make sure you have all all these items checked off so you can deploy and market meaningful apps.

1. A Mac computer with the latest OS X

The first thing you will need in iOS mobile application development is a Mac that’s operating on the latest OS X.

As iOS apps function within its confined system, your app developers can only build them on an Apple device. The XCode iOS app tool is solely available on OS X – the primary operating system of Mac computers.

Note the caveat on updateing to the latest OS X, because major updates on Apple devices are rolled out annually. Using the latest operating system during your app development better meet future or current upgrades while reducing errors and bugs that need to be fixed.

2. An iPhone or iPad

Since you’e developing iOS apps, it is recommended that you also own an iPhone or iPad for testing purposes.

While iOS apps also have other available testing options, downloading your built app and having a firsthand experience of it is still the best way to test and see if it works properly. Note that you don’t have to buy the latest device to test iPad or iPhone apps to do this.

You can just go for secondhand phones or a few versions lower than the new edition of Apple devices.

3. Downloaded XCode tool

To build your iOS mobile application, you need to download the XCode tool. It’s a comprehensive software development kit and integrated development environment (IDE).

What that simply means is that it houses tools and simulators, that your developer needs and allows them to do so in a real environment. It’s available on the Apple App Store for free. 

Remember to provide ample time to design your user interface and experience according to your branding and your customer’s needs. XCode serves as your temporary environment before you can deploy your finished application on the App Store.

4. A registered Apple Developer account

You would eventually want to make your brand’s app available to users and, hence, publish on the App Store. To do that, you would need an Apple Developer Account (however, it’s not required to initiate a development project).

When registering your Apple Developer account, you have the option to choose between the regular or enterprise account. The key differences between the two are that:

  • with the regular account, you can launch your app to any iOS device user, while; 
  • an enterprise allows you to deploy private, propriety apps to your internal stakeholders.

Programming Languages

Using the best mobile application development software and programming languages that work well with iOS is definitely a must. With them, you can save resources in building brand app that is device compatible and meets your needs.

Below are some of the best programming languages for iOS mobile application development.

  1. Swift. Is made specifically for Apple devices. This programming language covers all Apple operating systems, such as iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS. Swift is mostly preferred for its stable and safe programming environment, as well as its fast development processing. This programming language is a great option if you want to prioritize scalability, ease of use, and interoperability. 
  2. Objective-C. This is an object-oriented programming language counted as one of the official programming languages for iOS, apart from Swift. It is often pitted against Swift because, though they are equally useful, they do have key differences that you should consider.
  3. C#. An advanced programming language that can be used for native app development. It is said to be created as Microsoft’s response to Java. This open source programming language is scalable and certainly updatable, and also has a robust library and high-performing features. C# is also known for its fast processing properties and also offers cross-platform support. 
  4. Flutter. This is a free and open source programming language that provides widgets. This programming language enables an app developer to create a cross-platform iOS app that not only targets functionality but also visual appeal. Flutter also has fast development processes, including quick rendering and full customization features. In addition, it only uses one codebase that works for two applications. 
  5. Dart. Is a productive and multi-platform programming language that serves as the foundation of Flutter. However, Dart mainly supports core tasks such as code testing and analysis. This programming language develops quick and optimized apps that prioritizes both iOS mobile application development itself and providing quality productions for compilation targets like mobile and desktop.
  6. HTML5. While HTML is mostly a term associated with website development, its current version can be used in iOS mobile application development. While HTML5 is a programming language for creating iOS apps, it still needs additional tools such as Visual Studio for Mac. Still, it’s worth a try because HTML5 has many reliable and worthwhile features. For one, it allows an app developer to make offline apps and also provides great app store optimization capabilities. 

Testing and Deployment

Congratulations on having your iOS app ready by this point! Now what’s next? Testing and deployment.

Beta Testing

In this testing stage, businesses seek the opinion of external participants to try out your app in real-world scenarios.

Conducting this phase will help you assess app usability, catch minor bugs and errors, that you can subsequently correct and improve upon. Ultimately, the outcome of this phase is to polish your project and guaranteeing a satisfying user experience prior to publishing it.

Here are some survey formats you can use to structure the assessment of your testing audience:

  • Negative feedback. Here, your testers note all the bad points of the app are crucial that need fixing or termination, if needed.
  • Numerical answers. These make use of numbered scales that help your testers give you an estimate of how well various features of your app work.
  • Specific or categorical details. Through categorical assessment, your goal is to identify different ways you can improve specific aspects of your app.

Something to consider: Apple’s XCode Cloud Beta Testing

In 2021, Apple launched its XCode Cloud service. This service allows an app developer to use their XCode Cloud platforms for testing, under their Apple Developer accounts. With this service, developers can now build, test, and deliver an iOS app. 

The XCode Cloud service lets developers fix issues faster than before. Since it is stored in the cloud, teams can easily see any changes, such as modifications to codes, parallel and automated tests, and automatic distributions to external beta testers. In the age where data privacy is also crucial, Apple also assures that the service is data-safe and kept with utmost care. 

Deployment

You’re finally ready to launch your iOS app and publish it in the App Store. But you don’t just drop by the store, publish, and expect your app to be catalogued in an instant.

You will still need to wait for Apple’s approval. Study the quick guide in submitting iOS apps, below:

  1. Make an iTunes Connect App Record. This record is essential for accessing necessary information for app management and distribution.
  2. Set up your XCode Project for App Distribution. Using the project editor, configure your bundle ID, provisioning profile, version number, and release string.
  3. Create an archive of your iOS app. Use XCode archives to store and bundle vital debugging data.
  4. Fix validation issues through ITunes Connect Validation Tests. Review the app issues to validate your archive before finally uploading it to iTunes Connect.
  5. Upload your app. Once you are done with the validation tests, click on the Upload to App Store button on the Archives organizer.
  6. Choose between Manual or Automatic app release. For Manual release, you need to click on the Release button when your app is ready. Then, you need to wait for the Ready for Sale status.

Take note that app reviews usually take two to three days. If your app was not approved, review the app notes and make the necessary changes before resubmitting. 

Key takeaways

To successfully create an iOS mobile application, one must adopt a test-and-learn approach. iOS applications are not easily made, for you have a lot to consider before making one. Take note of these important tidbits when you venture into it:

  • iOS mobile application development can be expensive, but definitely worth it. A Mac computer and an additional Apple device is costly. But if you’re after creating an iOS app experience that definitely functions the way you expect it to be, then it’s worth the price! You’ll have a higher chance of providing an app that actually works and is compatible with your customer’s iOS devices. 
  • Use iOS-specific tools to save time, money, and effort. Keep in mind that iOS is a closed system; therefore, iOS devices require only iOS apps. Do not even think of going for cheap alternatives that are not compatible with iOS mobile application development, even if they claim to be. Just stick to the ones that are truly made for creating iOS apps.
  • Have your apps tested in the best way possible. Beta and cloud testing are available for iOS apps. While these are reliable iOS testing options, you can always get a firsthand experience of your app. Keep an Apple device in handy to check how your app works in real time. 

What are your best practices in developing mobile apps for iOS? Let us know in the comments, or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. We’d love to get into a discussion about it.

Make sure to subscribe to the Propelrr newsletter for more helpful guides on anything and everything concerning digital marketing.

Never miss a beat.
Get regular updates in your inbox
on what's new on digital.