ios programming languages

Today, as mobile applications become integral parts of our everyday routines, it’s essential to have more highly skilled developers using appropriate tools.  

In 2024, the iOS app development environment looks vast with multiple programming languages with their strengths and applicability in varied projects.  

The objective of this guide is to navigate this complex landscape to assist you in picking the right language for your next iOS app which will eventually be rolled out. 

But before we jumped in. 

Here’s a fun fact: 

Did you know that 1 out of every 7 people in the entire world has an iPhone? And get this… According to a report by Demand Sage, there may be an estimated 1.56 billion iPhones floating around the world at the end of 2024. That’s a lot of pocket-sized powerhouses. 

iPhone users worldwide

What is a Programming Language? 

The way a programmer issues commands such that the computer comprehends is called a programming language. Instead of words and sentences, human beings use special codes which are just like lines in a play to tell the computer what it must do. 

Think of it this way: If you ask a friend to lend you a pen, then you are engaging in conversation by using language as well. Computer programming is a universal language, as well; it is a way of talking with computers! 

However, other computer “languages” like each with its own command syntax also exist, but they are usually used to run iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that are powered by Swift and Objective-C. 

Below are the needed specifications for the most popular languages for iOS app development. 

Key Considerations for Selecting a Language: 

Project Requirements: 

Consider the needs of your iOS app, from performance benchmarks to compatibility with present-day system architectures to inclusion with third-party APIs. 

Match that with the programming language perfect for the job, considering factors such as available resources and development speed. 

Team Expertise: 

What programming languages are your developers experienced with? or Familiar with?  

Use their skill sets as a guideline. Choosing a language familiar to the team will mean quicker development turnarounds with less of a learning curve. 

Community and Support: 

How big is the programming language community?  

How active are they when it comes to updating documentation and answering questions on community forums?  

What is available in terms of resources and documentation? 

In simple terms, having active communities means that you and your engineers will receive a lot of assistance.  

If you’re an iOS developer, using a language like Swift will let you leverage a vast library of code that has been written and maintained by others, and most of the tools support the Swift language. 

contact iOS Experts

Most Popular Languages for iOS App Development:-

1. Swift: Overview and Key Features: 

Swift is Apple’s modern programming language, introduced in 2014. It is powerful, expressive, and relatively easy to learn.  

Swift has managed to combine the best features of various programming languages such as C, C++, Objective-C, and many others, without the constraints of C compatibility.  

Swift is intended to be more approachable, which means easier to learn—especially for beginners—and safer to use.  

features of Swift

key features of Swift: 

Safety and Performance:  

  • Safety features minimize errors, making for cleaner and less error-prone code compared with Objective-C.  
  • Compiled with the powerful LLVM compiler, included in Xcode 7, and used with Objective-C.  
  • Shares the same Objective-C runtime, allowing for the creation of powerful and resource-intensive iOS and OS X apps.  

Expressive Syntax:  

  • Swift eliminates the verbosity of Objective-C, which is quickly replaced by a much cleaner syntax.  
  • Unnecessary semicolons (‘;’) are eliminated and ‘{‘and ‘}’ are replaced by a clean, simple, and straightforward structure.  
  • This equates to thousands of dollars in savings for iPhone app makers and potentially millions of fewer characters that don’t have to get typed across thousands of current iPhone project glyphs (aka files) across the iPhone app library.  


  • Swift can be used in your new projects, but you can also integrate it into your existing Objective-C apps.  
  • You can leverage existing Objective-C libraries and frameworks in new apps.  
  • Swift is loaded with modern features, such as type inference, optional, and closures, which makes for cleaner more efficient code. 

Modern Language Constructs:  

  • Swift introduces modern language constructs such as optional, closures, and generics, enabling you to write more expressive and efficient code. 

Advantages and Disadvantages: 

The advantages of using Swift for iOS app development are numerous. These include: 

Advantages of Swift Disadvantages of Swift 
Performance:    Optimized performance delivers faster execution and a smooth user experience.  Improved responsiveness of Apps, they quickly react to user input.  Safety and Reliability:    Built-in type safety and error handling, fewer crashes and bugs.  Delivers reliable and stable iOS apps.  
Performance:    Optimized performance delivers faster execution and smooth user experience.  Improved responsiveness of Apps, they quickly react to user input.  Less Mature Ecosystem:  Swift has fewer resources and libraries than the more mature Objective-C.   However, Swift is picking up steam with more resources being created and with a quickly growing community.   Lesser libraries and tools since Swift is still new. Some are still in their development.  
Ease of Learning:    Easy to learn because of clear syntax and modern features.  Start building now with Swift development tools, a Mac, and patience.   

Popularity of Swift: 

Since Swift’s release, it has received quite some appreciation, and it is now the preferred programming language for iOS app development.  

One can conclude that Swift’s popularity is mainly caused by its modern features accelerated code execution and being compatible with new Apple devices.  

Here are the top companies use Swift for apple app development: – 

  • Uber. 
  • Slack. 
  • Robinhood. 
  • CRED. 
  • Delivery Hero. 
  • Getir. 
  • Lyft. 
  • Glovo. 
companies use Swift for app

2. Objective-C: Overview and Key Features 

An essential tool for iOS app developers has always been Objective-C. The early 1980s saw the birth of Objective-C, which gained popularity in the 1990s when Apple started using it to construct macOS and iOS.  

Objective-C still has its own, even if Swift has recently taken over as the main language for iOS development. Maintaining legacy codebases and interfacing with earlier frameworks continue to be major responsibilities of the language. 

features of objective C

Key Features of Objective-C: 


  • Create code that revolves around “objects” that have qualities and actions, just like real-world objects.  
  • Make code blocks that may be reused in other areas of your application and that function on their own.  
  • Big projects are easier to manage when the code is well-organized and reusable.  

Variable Duration of Run:  

  • Dynamic: Decisions are made during runtime rather than compilation.  
  • Flexible: Adjusts to circumstances and decides when to resolve method calls.  
  • Strong: Allows late binding and dynamic types for flexible coding.  
  • Good for: Modifying behavior, responding to unforeseen circumstances, etc.  

C Compatibility:  

  • Superset of C: Easily incorporate pre-existing C code and libraries into your iOS applications.  
  • Low-level functionality: For more precise control, access low-level system resources.  
  • Large-scale resources: Use the extensive C library for more complex tasks.  
  • Third-party libraries: For maximum efficiency, incorporate pre-built C libraries.  

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Objective-C Programming Language: 

Advantages of Objective-C Disadvantages of Objective-C 
C Compatibility:  
 Easy transition for C developers: Transitioning from C to Objective-C is simple for developers who are experienced with C.  C library reuse: Objective-C libraries can be used with pre-existing C libraries.  Gradual integration of C code: By utilizing object-oriented capabilities, Objective-C may be integrated with C code.  Access to core: Access to legacy frameworks and the Core Foundation is made possible by C compatibility.   
Syntax Complexity:   The syntax of Objective-C is less intuitive than that of more recent languages, such as Swift, due to its complexity.  The readability of method calls is hampered by square brackets.  Pointer arithmetic increases confusion and complexity.  Overall, it is more difficult to understand and operate than contemporary frameworks.   
Mature Ecosystem:   Rich resource library: For quicker project development, years of development have produced an enormous array of both commercial and open-source libraries and frameworks.  Support for developers: Resources accelerate development and time-to-market by meeting every conceivable demand, including code sharing and community forums.  Effective development: Offers the appropriate resources and a quick-paced setting for the creation of iOS apps.   Memory Management:   Manual: Memory Allocation and Deallocation are managed manually by developers.  Reference counting: Monitors object use and deallocate when not in use.  Automatic Reference Counting (ARC): Refers to counting easier, however, memory leaks still happen.  Caution: Developers must still be careful, avoiding leaks and maintaining cycles.   
Dynamic Features:   Runtime decisions and flexibility: They are made possible by dynamic runtime, which adjusts to changes.  Message forwarding: Facilitates late binding and dynamic object interactions.  Introspection: At runtime, code is capable of self-analysis, which opens new functionality.   Learning Curve:   Objective-C’s unique syntax and dynamic runtime could be difficult for a beginner to understand when compared to more modern languages like Swift.   Swift is typically suggested for beginner developers due to its simpler syntax and friendliness to beginners, especially those without prior experience with iOS.   

Popularity and Compatibility: 

Objective-C is crucial for maintaining legacy apps and frameworks, bridges to older tech, and specific performance-critical tasks. Its C compatibility and dynamic nature keep it relevant for certain use cases.  

Apple and the community still support it, and it can even complement Swift on projects.  

Here are the top companies that use Objective-C for mobile app development: – 

1. Facebook 

2. Instagram 

3. Apple Maps 

4. Apple Music 

5. Dropbox 

6. eBay 

Objective-C use cases

3. C++: Overview and Key Features:  

C# is a high-quality programming language loved by developers, that was introduced by Microsoft.  

This language manages to combine the best aspects of Java’s user-friendliness and the speed and control of C++ to produce excellent programs.  

On the other hand, C# is not restricted only to mobile software; instead, one can imagine desktop apps, games, and websites.  

This language is used extensively in application development for various platforms due to its rich library of reusable tools and ability to design and implement reusable components.  

In addition, C# pushes forward the state of computer science each time it gets a new release. 

features of C++

Key Features of C++: –  

  1. Efficiency: Because C++ is so fast, it’s good for computer programs that need a lot of out of the computer, like games and system software. 
  1. Portability: Since it compiles to different platforms, you can write an application that runs on all different operating systems in C++. 
  1. Versatility: you use C++ on the one hand to access low-level control for performance and, on the other, for high-level abstractions, the freedom to let the computer do the work so you can spend more time creating. 
  1. Rich standard library: C++ comes with a rich standard library that offers many ready-to-use building blocks for common use cases, so you don’t need additional dependencies. 
  1. Object-Oriented Paradigm: coding in C++ allows programmers to implement object-oriented programming, which is more modular and has better reusability and regression tests. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using C++ Programming Language: 

Advantages of C++ Disadvantages of C++ 
C++ is well suited for tasks, like system programming and game development because it cuts out the details and lets you interact directly with hardware.   It’s not simple to utilize C++. It’s a challenging subject to get started, you need to have a firm grasp of programming ideas.  
When it comes to C++ using tools like Xamarin enables developers to create applications, for Windows, macOS, Linux, and even mobile devices.    With C++, you have control over memory, unlike with other languages. If you’re not careful, this can be dangerous and prone to errors.   
The object-oriented nature of C++ results in code that is cleaner, more reusable, and simpler to manage.  If you’re not watching out for issues, the intricate syntax and manual memory management may cause more. Verify your code again to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.    
The object-oriented nature of C++ results in code that is cleaner, more reusable and simpler to manage.  Entry-level programming is more difficult in C++ than in other languages. Perhaps something a little simpler to learn would be a better option if you’re just starting off. 

Popularity and Flexibility: 

When it comes to being flexible, strong, and developer-friendly language for creating apps, C# stands out.  

Building contemporary, high-performance applications is made easier by its support for object-oriented programming, cross-platform interoperability, asynchronous programming, LINQ, and a robust standard library. 

Here are the top popular apps built using C++ 

1. Microsoft Office Apps 

2. Amazon Books 

3. Olo Restaurant Ordering 

4. Storyo 

5. Sworkit Fitness 

 apps build using C++ 

Additional Languages to Consider:  

1. Kotlin (Multiplatform Development):  

Kotlin is the new hot language out there, and for good reason.  

Developed by JetBrains, the same people who created popular IDEs IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio, Kotlin has a slew of tricks up its sleeves that make it the perfect choice for modern app development.  

But one of its best features is its ability to let developers take multiplatform development from a pipe dream to reality. 

  • Kotlin offers interoperability with the Java and Android ecosystems. 
  • Kotlin Multiplatform enables sharing business logic across iOS, Android, and the web. 
  • Benefits include concise syntax, type safety, and efficient development with coroutines. 

2. JavaScript (React Native):  

JavaScript is king in the React Native world. This open-source framework developed by Facebook allows developers to craft full-on native mobile applications in JavaScript using the React.js framework. 

  • React Native allows building cross-platform mobile apps using JavaScript and React.js. 
  • Code sharing between iOS and Android platforms accelerates development cycles. 
  • A vibrant community and extensive ecosystem enhance the development experience. 

3. Python (Beware):  

Python has been a top-choice language for developers due to its elegance, simplicity, versatility, and readability.  

Beware solves this problem by allowing developers to create complex cross-platform desktop and now mobile applications directly in Python. 

  • Python’s simplicity and readability are harnessed for mobile app development. 
  • Beware enables building native user interfaces for desktop and mobile apps with Python. 
  • Python enthusiasts can leverage expressive syntax and library support for iOS app development. 
additional ios programming languages

Why does choosing the right language matter? 

Efficacy and Productivity 

Selecting the right programming language for iPhone app development can have a dramatic effect on development efficacy and productivity. 

Languages, such as Swift, feature modern syntax and powerful features that permit the rapid development and release of high-quality apps to market. 

Performance and Scalability 

The language that you choose for Apple app development can also directly affect the performance and scalability of your iOS application. 

Swift’s high-performance optimizations combined with advanced memory management make it possible to build apps that are not just more responsive, but that also take full advantage of multi-core processors and are just more prepared for whatever a user’s throws at them. 

Maintenance and Longevity 

Your language choice also needs to reflect your project’s long-term goals. 

Swift’s open-sourcing and Apple’s continued commitment to the language mean that you’re getting a Polaroid, likely for the long haul. 

You’re getting on a path that will be able to more easily adapt to the inevitable changes in both software and hardware requirements that are going to come as your app grows and develops. 

Wrapping Up 

Making the correct programming language choice sets the stage for your iOS app’s success.  

Your app’s functionality and user experience will be greatly impacted by the language you choose, regardless of whether you prioritize ease of maintenance, scalability, or performance.  

Because of our experience developing iOS apps, we know how important it is to choose the right language for every project.  

Our skilled development staff is proficient in both Objective-C and Swift, guaranteeing compatibility and smooth migrations. 

At BigOH Tech, we use our more than ten years of experience to provide customized iOS app development services that go above and beyond your needs.  

Our professionals ensure that your app stays at the forefront of innovation by having a thorough understanding of the iOS platform and being up to date with the newest trends and technology. 

Our iOS app development services are tailored to your unique requirements and goals.  

We have the knowledge and resources to realize your idea, whether you’re a startup trying to break through the market or an established company trying to improve your mobile presence.  

We support you in every step of the process, from concept conceptualization to app design, development, and implementation. 

Are you prepared to bring your iOS app concept to life? To begin your project and find out more about our iOS app development services, contact us right now. 

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