What Does An iOS Developer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

iOS Developers

iOS Developers specialize in the development of mobile applications for the iOS operating system, which is used on the iPhone and iPad. The apps are typically built to achieve specific objectives, such as profit, customer satisfaction, or increased brand awareness.

Bachelor's degree

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you have likely used mobile apps created by iOS Developers. Unlike other App Developers, iOS Developers focus on the creation of apps for the iOS platform. They are responsible for developing the mobile apps found on the Apple Store.

The projects they work on may include educational, social media, lifestyle, productivity, entertainment, or game apps. They may also port apps from other platforms, such as converting an Android app or video game for use on iOS devices. However, there is more to this job than coding.

What they do

iOS Developers specialize in the development of mobile applications for the iOS operating system, which is used on the iPhone and iPad. The apps are typically built to achieve specific objectives, such as profit, customer satisfaction, or increased brand awareness.

Design the Framework for iOS Mobile Apps

Depending on the size of the development team, iOS Developers may be involved in the initial planning and design of a mobile app. Project Managers, Analysts, and Data Scientists may perform market research to learn more about the needs of the target customers for the app. UX Specialists, Software Engineers, and iOS Developers use market research to begin planning the framework for the mobile app.

The framework includes the back-end processes that run in the background and support the features of the app. This may include verifying login credentials, uploading documents to a server, or retrieving data from a server.

A basic framework includes an outline of all the screens needed for the app and how they connect or interact with each other. Graphic Designers and iOS Developers may then collaborate in the visual design of the app.

After completing the framework and initial design ideas, the development team may present prototypes to a client for review. If the client accepts one of the designs, the iOS Developers begin coding the app.

Create the Source Code for iOS Mobile Apps

The main responsibility of an iOS Developer is to create the source code for iOS applications. iOS apps are built using XCode, which is a freeware development environment for coding. Swift is the coding language used for creating the source code for iOS apps.

iOS Developers create the code for the app based on the approved designs or prototypes developed during the earlier stages of development. While the earlier and later stages of development require constant collaboration, iOS Developers spend most of their time coding alone.

The coding stage is typically broken into smaller segments or milestones. For example, an iOS Developer may focus on coding a single screen of the app at a time.

Test and Debug Mobile Applications

Before launching an iOS app, the development team performs extensive testing. The testing process may involve volunteers to test the functionality and user experience of the app. iOS Developers may modify the design or features of the app based on feedback from user testing.

Along with user testing, the testing process requires iOS Developers to test for bugs and glitches. They need to identify, categorize, and isolate problems before deploying the app. After identifying the problems, iOS Developers begin debugging, which is the process of eliminating bugs.

Manage the Application Deployment Lifecycle

iOS Developers require an understanding of the deployment lifecycle, including the deadlines and requirements for each phase. iOS Developers need to meet deadlines for each phase to ensure that the product is launched on schedule.  

The development of an app includes multiple phases, starting with initial planning and design. Most iOS Developers become involved during the development phase but must also contribute to testing, deployment, and support.

What is the job like


You Get to Work on a Variety of Projects

The diversity of projects helps keep the job interesting and intellectually stimulating.

You Get to Help Transform Ideas Into Apps

The process of taking a client’s idea or goal and transforming it into a functional mobile app is a rewarding experience and many iOS Developers take pride in the results of their hard work.

You May Get to Work From Home

An increasing number of tech companies now allow employees to work from home or adopt a hybrid schedule that includes remote work and time at the office.

Greater Career Flexibility and Benefits

Working in iOS development offers access to careers with the greatest job flexibility, vacation time, retirement matching, and other benefits.


Dealing with Unrealistic Client Expectations

Dealing with nontechnical clients can be frustrating, especially when they have unrealistic expectations related to the features or performance of the mobile app.

You Must Constantly Learn to Use New Tools and Technologies

Working as an iOS Developer requires continual learning to keep up with the latest tools and technologies for mobile app development.

Where they work

App Development Companies
Software Companies

iOS Developers mostly work at mobile app development companies that specialize in creating custom mobile apps for clients. Software developers who want to offer iOS apps may employ iOS Developers. The leading tech companies, including Apple and Facebook, also hire a larger number of iOS Developers. A growing number of companies in the telecommunications, finance, and healthcare industries hire in-house iOS Developers to develop customer service apps.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Computers and Coding in High School

Aspiring iOS Developers can begin practicing coding in high school to learn the basics of app development. Many app developers first learn Python, C++, and JavaScript before moving on to Swift or Objective-C to build iOS apps.

Step 2: Become Certified in Swift

Apple and Certiport offer App Development with Swift certification, which can be completed online by beginner developers.

Step 3: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Close to 60% of iOS Developers have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Software Development, or a related field.

Step 4: Begin Developing Custom Mobile Apps

When applying for iOS Developer positions, employers will want to see examples of previous mobile apps. This may include apps designed for clients as a freelancer or apps that you design for yourself.

Step 5: Start Applying for iOS Developer Positions

After learning to code, earning a degree, and creating custom mobile apps, begin applying for Junior- or Entry-Level iOS Developer positions at tech companies and software development companies.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

iOS Developers are often analytical and logical, which are useful traits for solving coding problems. Successful iOS Developers also tend to be naturally curious and investigative, as they need to ask questions to uncover potential issues before they arise. Creativity is also helpful in this field for creating visually appealing designs and innovative mobile features. Good communication skills are needed for collaborating on app development projects and understanding the needs of clients.

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