Which Apple Mac should you get to begin app development? With Xcode and Apple Swift, app development on iPhone and iPad has been simplified. Here’s our recommendation of the right Mac to get.
If you’re an app developer, or are considering trying your hand at creating your own app in the future, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we look at which Mac is best for developers.
Apple’s Swift programming language means that creating and building an app for MacOS or iOS is more accessible than ever, and it’s easy to get them onto the App Store in order to sell them too.
If you’re keen on learning app development, this article will also give you some pointers about what you’ll need to get started with app development once you’ve got the right Mac.
How much power does your Mac need?
Choosing the right Mac for development can be a challenge. Apple creates a whole range of Mac laptops and desktop computers. All Apple Macs are great computers but some are better suited to app development than others.
If all you want to do is start to learn development and get a regular app onto the app store then any of Apple’s current Mac line-up, including its laptops, should be powerful enough to do the job.
Unlike creating video or music; creating code doesn’t use up huge amounts of hard drive space, and if you’re creating iOS apps you don’t need a lightning-fast processor or a high-end graphics card.
Obviously, this doesn’t narrow the choice down much (or at all, for that matter). It now becomes a question of how much money you want to spend, and which will provide the best coding environment.
What screen size is best for app development?
What is useful for software development is screen estate. Coding is a complex task that sometimes requires intense focus, but more often it requires research and tracking.
Coders often need to have several programs and windows open at once: the Xcode developer environment, web browser, and perhaps a separate text editor, SQL Database editor, and much more. Development seems to be one of a task that requires everything MacOS has to offer.
So you need a Mac with a big screen, or you need to attach a big screen to your Mac.
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Let’s be clear: if you value a notebook and portability is important to you, then a MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro will do just fine for app development, and you can attach a monitor to these models for larger screen estate. (Find out more in our complete guide to buying a MacBook).
But with a MacBook you pay a lot extra for a small screen that will feel cramped when programming, so if portability is important we’d look to Apple’s Mac range instead.
What’s the best value Mac for app development?
The Mac Pro is overkill for most developers so the choice is between an iMac or Mac mini with a display.
At £479 the Mac mini is the best value Mac, and it offers more than enough power and storage for app development. What it doesn’t come with is a display, so you’ll need to source one separately.
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