xcode Server
Image: Apple

Not many would disagree that creating an Apple application is easier without Xcode. That’s why Xcode is one of the most used integrated development environments (IDEs) for developing apps across Apple platforms, especially among developers who are more conversant with the Swift programming language.

However, you shouldn’t write off other IDEs until you’ve explored our list of Xcode alternatives. We shall use some important features found in the top IDEs as a guide to this list. Some of the features we considered include the ability to produce clean syntax, seamless integrations with other tools, auto-completion, debugging and cloud support.

What is Xcode?

Xcode is a platform that enables developers to easily write code, build user interfaces (UIs), and test and debug code for Apple applications. It can also be used to create source code for other projects in various languages such as C, C++, Objective-C, Objective-C++, Java, AppleScript, Python, and Ruby.

SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Xcode comes with almost every feature developers need to create, test and distribute their applications on Apple platforms. The IDE also allows users to deploy apps from Xcode Cloud.

Top alternatives to Xcode

The following are the best Xcode alternatives developers can rely on for their app development without missing many of the features in Xcode.

Visual Studio

Visual Studio is a free Microsoft-powered IDE for app development. The IDE platform features a code editor that supports code refactoring and IntelliSense. With the IntelliSense tool, developers can enjoy a code completion feature that supports parameter info, quick info and list members.

Furthermore, Visual Studio features other important Microsoft platforms like Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Store, Microsofts Silverlight and Windows Forms.


JetBrain’s AppCode is a paid integrated development environment for macOS and iOS programming. It guarantees quick code execution with a smart development environment. It also handles recurring programming tasks and prevents further code typing. With precise and secure refactoring, it changes and enhances the code whenever necessary.

AppCode offers project navigation, so users can quickly access any file, class or image within a project and navigate through its hierarchy and structure using hierarchal and structural views. Both basic and more powerful SmartType completion are available in AppCode. In addition, AppCode supports several programming languages like Objective-C, C, Swift and C++ among others.

Android Studio

Google’s Android Studio is one of the best cross-platform IDEs that can serve as a free alternative to Xcode. The tool works seamlessly on the Windows, Linux and macOS operating systems.

Several programming languages, such as Java, C++, Go, etc., are supported by this platform. The main goal is to enable users to create top-notch apps for all Android devices.

Its features include a strong framework for static analysis, dependency management, build automation and customizable build configurations.

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA can also serve as a paid alternative to Apple’s Xcode with its excellent features. Although widely seen as a Java Virtual Machine (JVM)-focused platform, the IDE supports other programming languages like Ruby, Python, Markdown, HTML, Dart, XML and more. In addition, IntelliJ IDEA can predict users’ programming needs and provide the requisite automation to overcome boring, repetitive tasks, making it easy for developers to focus more on more relevant development issues.

IntelliJ IDEA provides some other vital features like version control system support, code completion by analyzing the context and frame-work-specific assistance.


Xamarin is a free, open-source IDE for developing innovative native iOS and Android applications. With its interoperation with programming languages, Xamarin can serve as an excellent Xcode alternative. The tool can help users invoke libraries written in C, C++, Java and Objective-C, significantly expanding code-writing opportunities. Also, there is back-end integration support for developers using Azure, Parse and SAP.


Flutter is a free application tool designed by Google to assist developers in creating cross-platform applications for Android, Linux, macOS, Windows and web forms using a single code base.

On the Flutter IDE, developers can enjoy an enhanced workflow with automated testing and other tools needed to develop high-quality apps with great performance.

React Native

React Native is a free platform for creating native apps for iOS and Android using React. React is written in Javascript but can be rendered in native code, ensuring that an app uses its native platform’s application programming interfaces (APIs). With React Native, developers can create native applications without compromising user experience.

One of the benefits of using React Native is that users do not have to be experts in other programming languages. Another is that developers can quickly see the changes they make to their code as soon as they save instead of waiting for native builds.

Apache Netbeans

Apache Netbeans is another free Xcode alternative that supports cross-platform development for Linux, Windows and macOS. Although widely regarded as an IDE for Java programmers, Apache Netbeans has extensions for other languages such as HTML5, C++, C, JavaScript and PHP.

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