iOS Dev Tools

The greatest iOS development tools, including websites, desktop and mobile apps, and back-end services.
Updated daily by Adam Swinden.

If you have any suggestions for tools that you would like to see added to the list, please let me know by email, Twitter or Facebook.

Sponsor

Most developers debug their apps from logs generated by the application. If you've ever received bug or issue reports from users, you'll know they can be hard to replicate.

Bugfender is the simplest way to collect your app's usage data from real users on real devices. It's easy-to-use SDK can be setup in under 60 seconds, which sends logs to our online storage service. You can filter through logs, devices and even individual users to help identify issues, fix bugs and provide even better customer support.

Sponsor iOS Dev Tools.

The Perfect Assistant

A companion Mac application for the Perfect server-side Swift framework. The Perfect Assistant is a set of convenience tools designed to help Server Side Swift developers start, manage, compile, test, and prepare for deployment more easily. You can set up new projects and get access to ready-to-roll project templates; manage dependencies; create simultaneous macOS and Ubuntu builds on your local machine; push projects up to EC2 servers; and it can integrate the Linux build process directly into Xcode.

Other Similar Tools

AppSight

A online service that lets you search for SDKs and third party code used by popular apps on the App Store. AppSight lets you pick an app and view all the SDKs used to create it, along with some additional details such as device requirements, requested permissions, URL schemes, and version history. You can also view the data the other way by picking an SDK and viewing a list of the apps that currently use it, along with related SDKs and quick links to the code on Cocoapods, GitHub, Twitter, etc.

IBM Cloud Tools for Swift

A set of tools for macOS that simplify the management and deployment of server-side Swift on IBM's Bluemix. IBM Cloud Tools for Swift includes a sample app to get started using Kitura. You'll get a local development environment and tools to easily deploy and manage the status of your IBM Cloud runtimes, including unified credentials management, centralised control and monitoring of deployed assets, and local notifications of remote actions. You can also add your client side code to a project to link it to cloud services.

Realm Mobile Platform

A new complete backend solution for the popular Realm database. The Realm Object Server is a self-hosted solution that enables realtime data sync and powerful event handling between the server and devices running the Realm Mobile Database. Features include user authentication; two-way data sync with conflict resolution; server-side events triggered by data changes; access control; and loads more.Realm Mobile Platform is free to use in production for commercial use with paid options for an enterprise SLA.

SwiftyBeaver

A logging platform for Swift that lets you access app logs in development & release with end-to-end encryption. SwiftyBeaver includes a drop-in framework that lets you easily log to the Xcode console, a file and the SwiftyBeaver Crypto Cloud, as well as providing user analytics, release logging and Swift 3 compatibility. The Crypto Cloud securely stores your logs in the cloud and includes and API and unlimited data. The platform also includes a Mac App that lets you instantly search and filter your logs with zero latency. All data is stored in an SQLite database and can be easily exported.

Hund

A hosted, automated, customisable status page service. Hund offers several infrastructure integrations including Amazon Web Services, Pingdom, New Relic, and more, to constantly monitor the availability of your web service. Unlike other status pages that require manual changes, Hund updates automatically and can be configured to notify your audience of any issues by email, RSS and Twitter. You also get detailed performance metrics and historical uptime charts, and the status page styling can be customised to match your brand.

Vapor

A modular web framework written in pure Swift that works on iOS, OS X, and Ubuntu. Vapor provides request routing using pattern matching with full Swift type safety for the request details and parameters. You could use it to create a full web service with JSON responses, or a complete website with pure HTML views or templated views rendering using Mustache or Stencil. It also includes support for custom cookies and there's some clever validation features to validate the data coming into your application. Vapor is open source and accepting pull requests.

Runstatus

A free hosted status page for your backend service. Runstatus is hosted separately from your app, so continues informing your users even if you have an infrastructure issue. The status pages include detailed status information for each component of your service including timelines of uptime history and scheduled maintenance windows, and are fully responsive and customisable with your branding. There's also Twitter integration to tweet your status changes and API and finger terminal support.

Swift Express

An asynchronous, simple, powerful, yet unopinionated web application server written in Swift inspired by Play Framework and Express.js. Swift Express runs on OS X and Linux with and without Dispatch, is 100% asynchronous and compatible with Swift 2.1 and 2.2. It currently offers a simple routing mechanism, request handlers chaining, response templating with Stencil and Mustache, built-in JSON support, and static file serving. It also includes a command line tool for managing dependencies, building the project and running the app.

SendBird

A drop-in SDK and backend service that makes it easy to add realtime in-app messaging and chat. SendBird provides all the features you need to enable one-to-one messaging, group messages, or public chat rooms, including customisable white-label UI elements, and a powerful realtime chat API. You get complete control over your chat platform with profanity filtering, user blocking, multi-platform SDKs and an analytics dashboard. Your users get messages syncing across all their devices, typing indicators, read receipts, and delivery status. It's free to get started with additional paid plans.

Tapglue

A drop-in SDK and backend service that makes it really simple to add complete social features to your add to create a social network. Tapglue offers fully customisable plug & play tools for all the social network features you need, including new feeds with likes, comments and shares, user profiles with friends and followers, social activity notifications, Facebook and Twitter integration, and more. It's free to get started up to 1,000 users with paid plans beyond that.

Elasticode

A drop-in SDK and backend service that aims to improve mobile engagement in your app with customisable user on-boarding, feature walkthroughs, product tours, update suggestions, permission requests and more. Elasticode lets you design your user interactions online using over 10,000 different elements and animations before pushing to your app remotely without having to go through app review. The latest feature, BackView, even lets you utilise how your app appears in the multi-tasking app-switcher to encourage users to come back to your app.

Statuspage

A status page generator that lets you host your status page for free on GitHub. Statuspage uses issues to automate displaying incidents and labels for severity. When you create your page you'll be prompted to enter the systems you want to display on your status page (e.g. your apps website or backend). Once your page is up and running, you can create an issue in GitHub to display a new incident and select labels to identify the system and severity. When the incident is resolved, just close the issue to remove it from the status page. Statuspage also comes with a fully customisable template and CSS.

Kitura

A new lightweight web framework from IBM that lets you build end-to-end web services with complex routes in Swift and quickly deploy them on both OSX and Linux. Kitura's design is inspired by popular Node.js framework, Express.js, in particular its URL routing and pluggable middleware. It currently includes URL routing for GET, POST, PUT and DELETE requests, support for URL parameters, static file serving, JSON parsing and pluggable middleware. Kitura is an exciting project that promises to let you build both mobile front-end and back-end portions of an app in the same language.

Saber

An iOS app that lets you manage your apps on Heroku while on the go from your iPhone or iPad. Saber offers complete Heroku management including an interactive console for connecting to Dynos. You can also scale dynos, view realtime logs, instantly restart your apps, rollback releases and toggle maintenance mode. Saber is currently optimised for iPhone, iPad and iPad Pro, but a Mac version is coming soon as well.

Let’s Encrypt

A new certificate authority that's free, automated, and open. Let’s Encrypt aims to allow anyone who owns a domain (including this site) to use a trusted certificate to secure their server at zero cost unlike other CAs that may charge over $100 per year to do the same. It also includes a command line tool that runs on your web server that makes it painless to obtain a certificate, securely configure it for use, and automatically take care of renewal. Let's Encrypt is backed by some big sponsors, including Cisco, Mozilla and Facebook, and has just entered public beta so can now be used by everyone.

Perfect

A framework for developing web and other REST services in Swift. Perfect's primary focus is on facilitating mobile apps which require backend server software, allowing you to use one language for both client-side and server-side development. It consists of: PerfectLib, a module components and utilities for client and server including JSON encoding/decoding, cURL support, byte stream management, and more; Perfect Server, a backend server supporting FastCGI or stand-alone HTTP; and a set of connectors to add server side support for technologies such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.

Otto

A new devops tool that automates the way application environments are created for both development and production use. Created by HashiCorp, Otto aims to be the successor to Vagrant by abstracting away the complexity of learning all the tooling required to develop locally, provision infrastructure, deploy applications, and secure applications, into one tool to handle all the aspects of development and deployment to any cloud platform. A great tool for iOS developers that need to build a backend service but don't have to time to learn all the tooling required to develop and deploy.

Bit6

A service that provides realtime communication capabilities for your app. Bit6 provides a drop-in SDK that lets you add app-to-app voice and video calling, text, photo, location and video messaging. It can even provide integration with PSTN lines and SMS so you can make calls and send messages to landlines and feature phones from your app. The Bit6 SDK also handles all the identity management and user authentication and discovery through phone number, email, Google or Facebook. The SDK is available for iOS, Android and Javascript for web apps.

StackShare

A site where you can discover the tech stacks behind some of the world's best software companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Dropbox. StackShare lets you see which tools and services they use, and how they're using them. If you need to set up a backend service to support your iOS app but don't know what tools to use, StackShare is the best place to start. Once you're happy with the tools and services you've chosen, you can share your stack for other developers to discuss and vote on.

Fabric

A new suite of cross-platform mobile development tools from Twitter that helps developers solve several common challenges. Fabric is comprised of all seven of Twitter's SDKs organised into three distinct 'Kits': the Crashlytics Kit, the Twitter Kit, and the MoPub Kit, covering crash reporting, testing before going live, driving downloads, onboarding new users, social features, understanding your apps’s growth and monetisation. It's also really easy to incorporate the tools using a Mac app that integrates with Xcode to walk you through the steps required.

Apiary

A tool for helping you design the best API before having to write any code. Apiary lets you design and test your API with an API Blueprint written in a open sourced, Markdown-like language that defines your API endpoints and how they should work including a mock server, tests, validations, code samples and your language bindings. Apiary will also convert your API Blueprint into interactive, comprehensive documentation for your API that you can share with other developers. It also offers a Traffic Inspector that will show exact data for requests made on your API, down to HTTP level, and outline differences from API documentation, or even perform validations against your schema.

Firebase

A backend as a service that provides an API to both store and sync data in realtime across all your clients. When data changes, apps built with Firebase update instantly across every device - web or mobile. Firebase-powered apps also work offline, data is automatically synchronized when your app regains connectivity. With Firebase you don't need to write any backend code - or worry about scaling that backend.

PingPal

A cross platform app communication service that can provide a persistent connection for server-to-user or user-to-user WebSocket style communication. PingPal is currently in beta but they have drop-in iOS and Javascript SDKs for you to try now, with Android coming soon. The service also includes "UniPush" which provides a single fully transparent push mechanism that automatically selects the right push service for the user's platform.

Helios

An extensible open-source backend framework for iOS apps from Mattt Thompson. Helios is built on the Rack webserver interface and is comprised of a collection of backend components that you can mix and match to provide features including data synchronisation, push notifications, in-app purchases, Passbook, Newstand, logging and analytics.

Objective-Cloud

Not exactly an iOS development tool, but it is an idea that is mad enough to get a mention. As the name suggests, Objective-Cloud allows you to run Objective-C in the cloud. You can develop your custom web applications in Xcode, deploy straight to the cloud and they handle all the scaling. They also provide an SDK that includes a custom HTTP handler for creating RESTful web services. Price tiers are very reasonable as well.

StackMob

A very comprehensive backend-as-a-service provider. Like most providers, StackMob offers a datastore API, social login, push notifications, file storage and custom business logic code, but it also adds some other unique features such as a geolocation API, analytics and deployment management. They do offer a free tier but you have request pricing if you need more.

Kinvey

An alternative backend-as-a-service provider very similar to Parse. Like Parse, it offers cloud storage, push notifications and custom business logic, but also provides an out-of-the-box implementation of Facebook Open Graph for apps that don't have websites.

Parse

Parse makes building the backend for your app easy. They provide a complete backend-as-a-service through their many SDKs that allow you to save objects in the cloud with just a few lines of code. You can also add custom business logic using their "Cloud Code". They were recently bought by Facebook so they should know a thing or two about scaling.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship used to just provide the backend for push notifications but has now expanded into other services such as analytics, audience segmentation and Passbook support. The SDK is simple to implement and the free plan includes 1 million push messages per month!