What Does An iOS Developer Do?


An iOS Developer is a programmer who is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of iOS applications commonly used by Apple devices like iPhones, iPads or iPods. iOS app developers create, test, and tune apps according to their customer’s specifications. What does an iOS developer do?

What is iOS and iOS development?

In 2007, Apple’s launch of the first iPhone revolutionised the world, not only because of its hardware, which made the Blackberry obsolete but also because of its software, iOS (or iPhone Operating System), that transformed the iPhone into a mini-Mac.

The launch of the iPhone and its iOS operating system was one of the most significant milestones in the history of computing.

By 2008, when the world witnessed the introduction of iPhone OS 1 and iOS 2, the operating system began to include development tools among its functions to allow third parties to design and sell software. iOS 2 offered an application programming interface (API) and software development packages (SDK), with which third parties could create applications, from which Apple took a third of the profits. 

Later versions of iOS have further opened up access to developers by creating a safe environment for third-party extensions, integrating third-party solutions into their functions, more APIs, and other plugins.

iOS is an operating system that can only be used on Apple devices and the company is responsible for ensuring its security. In fact, Apple regularly and vigorously monitors every app that is developed for its App Store. 

Role overview of a ios developer with tasks, skills, education and salary
Role Overview – iOS Developer

iOS Development is the process of creating mobile applications for Apple devices that run on iOS, i.e. iPhone, iPad, AppleWatch, and Mac.

Said software is written using Swift, an open-source programming language created by Apple and which also features interoperability that allows you to easily incorporate Objective-C code into your environment.

Swift was designed as a fast and efficient language using the high-performance technology of the LLVM compiler. This optimises the Swift code to take full advantage of the device’s hardware potential.

On the other hand, Swift’s syntax, as well as its standard libraries, have been calibrated so that even the most obvious way of writing scripts works correctly regardless of the simplicity or complexity of the project.

This programming language includes low-level primitive values ​​such as types, flow control, and operators. It also provides object-oriented functions, among which are classes, protocols, and generics.

Once an iOS app developer defines their action plan and accesses the Swift libraries, the next step would be to connect to the cloud service.

This is because the job of iOS Development is one that is very resource-intensive, so it is necessary to dump some of that burden on the cloud, which provides storage, database management, and even app cache.

Responsibilities of an iOS Developer

An iOS Developer is a specialist who is responsible for the design, implementation and testing of mobile applications for Apple devices. They are in charge of supervising all stages of software development – from conceptualization and design to implementation and testing.

iOS app developers carefully examine the market as well as conduct an exhaustive analysis of the projects done previously. This is in order to conceptualise the product to be developed.

Responsibilities Of An iOS Developer
Responsibilities Of An iOS Developer

An iOS Developer also plays an essential role in the UX and UI design process. These software programmers coordinate with other specialists in order to establish the architecture of the software, as well as guarantee the performance, quality, and responsiveness of applications.

An Apple app developer focuses on the back-end and front-end of the apps, fulfilling a role similar to that of the Full Stack Developer – the only difference being that this role deals with programs based on Apple software, iOS.

These developers also focus on the API to connect account authentication services with user requests, and then implement a prebuilt interface.

Responsabilities listed on iOS developers' job descriptions
Responsibilities of an iOS developer

What are iOS app developers responsible for?

  • Designing and implementing mobile applications for Apple and iOS devices
  • Supervising all stages of software development
  • Ensuring quality and performance of the application to specifications
  • Overseeing the UX/UI development of a project
  • Coordinating with other specialists to define app features
  • Contributing to the construction of the software architecture
  • Ensuring application performance, quality, and responsiveness
  • Detecting and solving any problems or failures
  • Constantly evaluating new technologies or functions that can be added to the application
  • Publishing application on App Store
  • Working on bug fixing and improving application performance

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What skills are required for an iOS Developer?

iOS developers must have a solid understanding of the programming language Swift. They must also have basic knowledge of the following programming languages:

  • Objective-C
  • C#
  • C++
  • Python and,
  • HTML5 and CSS

These programmers must also have a good understanding of Apple’s operating system and the knowledge of the complete cycle of developing a mobile app within that system.

iOS app developers should be familiar with XCode, Apple’s integrated development environment or framework with which native iOS applications can be developed and designed.

Another important skill for this job profile is the ability to integrate APIs and RESTful web services.

For the back end, an iOS Developer should know tools like Firebase, Helios, and Parse. Design-wise, these developers should be familiar with Dribbble and Haiku. 

List of skills and experience needed to work as iOS app developer
Skills required for a iOS developer

iOS developers should have experience working with error detection tools such as Hyperion and Raygun. They must also be familiar with tools such as AppCode, an integrated development environment (IDE) that analyses code to highlight errors and is compatible with Swift, Objective C, C++, JavaScript, etc.; TestFlight, useful for testing applications; RxSwift, or Mockingbird, with which you can create a prototype with the initial structure of the app.  

These professionals must also be proficient in code versioning tools such as Mercurial, Git, and SVN.

In terms of soft skills, iOS app developers should have strong communication and teamwork skills and be good at critical thinking. They must also possess strong analytical and logical reasoning skills, and have the ability to adopt a problem-solving approach to any problems that may arise.

Skills of an iOS developer:

  • Solid knowledge of programming languages ​​like Swift, Objective C, C#, etc.
  • Experience in software and app development
  • Knowledge of the full cycle of applications in iOS
  • Experience with XCode
  • Ability to integrate API and RESTful services
  • Experience with Apple operating system environments such as Core Animation, Core Data, Core Graphics, and Core Text
  • Knowledge of back-end tools such as Firebase, Helios, and Parse
  • Proficiency in code versioning tools such as Mercurial, Git, and SVN
  • Familiarity with design tools such as Dribbble and Haiku
  • Experience with error detection tools such as Hyperion
  • Good verbal and written communication
  • Good teamwork skills
  • Strong analytical thinking 
  • Logical reasoning
  • Strong problem-solving approach

How do I work as an iOS developer?

As in other areas of programming, it is common to find iOS developers who have specialised in the development of Apple products, once they have finished earning their Bachelor’s degrees in IT, computer science or a related field.

In general, companies that hire iOS developers look to see if the professional has experience or some certification in data structure, web and appp development, tagging systems, and networking.

Keep in mind that it is increasingly common to find self-taught iOS app developers.

An iOS Developer candidate is expected to have a solid foundation in developing mobile apps for iOS platforms through programming languages ​​such as Swift and Objective C.

And these skills can be acquired by taking online courses. Apple itself offers iOS developer courses that can help you start designing and programming.

You can start with the 14-hour “Develop Apps for iOS” tutorial course, which will teach you the basics of Xcode, SwiftUI and UIKit for building iOS apps.

They also offer a free Swift development course to help you prepare for the Certipot’s Swift app dev certifications:

The certifications recognise basic knowledge of Swift, Xcode and the app development tools covered in the free courses “Develop in Swift Explorations” and “Develop in Swift Fundamentals”.

In addition to all the content and support offered by Apple. There are other online iOS development courses that you could check out:

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iOS Developer salary

Is iOS development a good career? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment rates for iOS Developers will rise 25% between 2021-2031. It is therefore safe to say that iOS development is a good career with a lot of potential for earning.

Currently, iOS app developers make an average of $109,000 per year. Senior iOS developers with years of experience and skills can earn as high as $138,000 per year whereas junior iOS developers who are just starting out can earn around $87,000 per year.

Mobile developers are generally well-paid. However, salaries for app developers vary greatly depending on location, experience and the industry in which they work.

In Germany, these professionals can earn anywhere between €42,000-€74,000 whereas in the UK, they can earn between £40,000- £96,000 per year.

In Spain, the salary range for iOS developers is €20,000-€56,000.

Do iOS developers get paid well?

UK£40,000- £96,000

Freelance iOS developers

Mobile app development is booming, and so are iPhone sales. A look at Statista‘s forecast for total iPhone sales between 2015 and 2022 shows the potential: 72.3 million units will be sold in the last four months of 2023.

As in other tech industries, there is a shortage of talent in iOS development.

The US Department of Labour predicts a growth of 24% in the development of mobile phones over the next three years (until 2026). This makes freelancing an interesting option.

How much do freelance iOS developers make?

iOS Developers on freelancermap charge on average:


Rates in iOS development range between $40 and $96/hour for most freelancers.

The daily rate for iOS Developers (8 working hours) would be around:

Stand 27/01/2023

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Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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