Behind The Code: The Bright & Dark Sides Of Swift In iOS App Development

Dark Sides Of Swift In iOS App Development

When the world is moving towards cross-platform app development languages, the need for native apps still doesn’t lag much behind. Moreover, as the programming language forms the base of development, choosing the best one takes center stage.

In that case, Swift and Objective C are two of the best options for native iOS app development; otherwise, you have to work around language to make them match your requirements. Though Apple, the parent company for both the programming languages, launched Swift to replace the Objective-C in 2014, both are in use by developers.

Swift has the upper hand over the Old one due to approximately 2.6 times faster development, better memory management, dynamic libraries, user experience, and more. However, does Swift have only advantages for iOS development? To find out, read this blog discussing the pros and cons of using Swift and much more in detail.

What Is Swift For iOS App Development?

Despite being a novel programming language, Swift has achieved significant advancements, gaining popularity swiftly. Companies like Coursera, Vimeo, Groupon, LinkedIn, and other notable organizations are showing interest in Swift.

Swift, illustrious for its fast development process and impressive performance, is a central player for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tVOS, and Linux apps. It was launched in 2014. The languages have improved with versions 1.0 to 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.9.2, released on December 11, 2023. JavaScripts, Java, C, C++, MATLAB, SAS Base, Ada, and F# are a few of the alternatives to Swift.

This open-source language for iOS app development is a general purpose, object-oriented, offers lazy initialization, interoperability with Objective- C, and much more. Swift offers seamless compatibility with Objective-C at both the language and system level, allowing developers to incorporate Objective-C code into Swift.

Advantages Of Swift For iOS App Development

As one might expect, Swift boasts numerous advantages, making it an appealing choice for different development scenarios.

Ensuring Security and Performance

Organizations can expect up to 40% better performance with Swift than Objective-C. Developers can better optimize the code for higher security and performance. The language supports a robust typing system and error handling to prevent code crashes and errors in iOS app development.

The flexibility for developers to instantly see errors with Swift programming language is phenomenal. Developers can effortlessly fix the errors to make the app perfect.

Swift’s language syntax encourages developers to write cleaner, more secure code. It includes numerous features designed to detect and eliminate errors before they become problems, ensuring robust app performance and reducing the potential for crashes and security vulnerabilities.

Fast Development Process

One of Swift’s most immediate and apparent benefits is its fast development process. With a clean syntax that’s easy to read and write, developers can dramatically reduce the lines of code needed to perform specific tasks, resulting in expedited development times.

It comes with Automatic Reference Counting (ARC), making it more concise than Objective-C. ARC tracks and manages the app’s memory usage, relieving the developer from this tedious task.

Interoperability with Objective-C

Despite being a relatively new language for iOS app development, Swift was built with compatibility in mind. It allows developers to work within both languages simultaneously. As a result, developers can integrate Swift into existing Objective-C applications more seamlessly, potentially easing the transition from the older language.

Developers can use the benefits of Objective-C and Swift in iOS app development through the porting process safely and hassle-free.

Complete Open-Source

One of the advantages of an open-source programming language is the prospect it offers for increased developer-friendly adjustments.

Developers who work on iPhone applications can take this opportunity to advance and refine the Swift language. Due to its open-source nature, developers can participate in troubleshooting, include new features and platforms, and much more. Its open-source characteristics allow Swift to evolve with the help of a robust development community.

Simplified Code Maintenance

Previously, developers using the C programming language had the disadvantage of maintaining two separate files (.h header file and .m implementation file).

The iOS app development team does so to enhance the build time and code efficiency. They also have to undertake the same steps with the Objective C language. Swift merges both the files into a single file (.swift).

So, application developers don’t need to maintain separate code files in Swift and can focus more on functional aspects such as app logic.

Automatic Memory Management

Swift’s automatic memory management prevents memory leaks and keeps performance high by automatically clearing unused memory. This feature allows developers to focus more on their application logic than on manual memory allocation and deallocation. ARC works like a garbage collector in iOS app development.

Dynamic Libraries Support

In the past, updating your current operating system without uninstalling it from your device was an ordeal.

Swift has dynamic library support. Dynamic libraries are executable codes that effectively link different versions of a Swift app. That means the initial size of the app is reduced, further increasing the performance.

In Swift for iOS app development, dynamic libraries aid in updating apps by uploading the new version code to the memory, thereby decreasing the initial size of the Swift app and enhancing its performance.

Compatible with Various Devices

Each year, we’re witnessing the launch of more devices, where compatibility is always an issue for programmers. Swift is a versatile programming language that supports devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac.

In addition to supporting Apple devices, including iOS app development, Swift also extends support to Linux and Windows devices. Google, the parent company of Android, has also announced plans to integrate Swift into its forthcoming operating system, Fuschia.

Afterward, Swift will no longer be limited to Apple products and will function across multiple devices in the tech world.

Powered by “Playgrounds”

Playgrounds is a Swift application that makes learning iOS app development easy and enjoyable.

Beginners can start learning Swift with data visualizations without extensive knowledge of the Swift language. Conversely, experts can use Swift Playgrounds to write and test code without creating a whole app.

This convenience makes the iOS app development process faster and simpler for iOS app developers and enables them to create highly functional apps.

Reduced Possibility Of Errors

Objective- C returns nothing while invoking a nil pointer through the method. Moreover, ‘nil’ (null) pointers require separate execution. This situation can lead to many undetected bugs, drastically reducing the developer’s productivity.

But, with Swift, this problem is sorted. Swift has an option for defining values as optional types or value types. The iPhone app developer can quickly establish whether a value is present or nil (null) while defining the method.

Disadvantages Of Swift For iOS App Development

Even the most reliable programming languages have shortcomings, and Swift is no exception.

Not So Popular

Though quickly gaining traction, Swift is relatively new compared to longer-established languages. This language has negligible support and resources for iOS app development.

Restricted Talent Pool In Swift Community

While the Swift programming community is experiencing accelerated expansion, it remains considerably smaller than other open-source languages. Surprisingly, according to a survey, only 8.1 percent of StackOverflow development uses Swift. Moreover,, a freelancing platform, reported that demand for Swift developers is rapidly increasing, potentially leading to a talent shortage.

Poor Interoperability With Third-party Tools And IDEs

Swift’s support for third-party tools and integrated development environments (IDEs) is not as extensive as other languages for iOS app development. Developers may thus face challenges when integrating Swift applications with third-party tools or coding within specific IDEs.

Incompatibility With Older iOS Versions

Swift needs to be more supportive of the earlier iOS versions. Developers aiming to build apps compatible with older versions of iOS may need to consider an alternative programming language that promises better compatibility.

Additionally, Swift code only applies to applications supporting iOS7 or subsequent versions. So, Swift is incompatible with projects operating on older versions of the iOS operating system.

Swift As An ‘Unstable Moving Target’

Swift’s stability has been a concern for iOS app development teams due to its need for more backward compatibility with each update.

Upon releasing a new version, developers must rewrite their projects to remain current. Though Xcode has mitigated this issue by assisting individuals in updating their Swift code, it fails to resolve all compatibility concerns.

Final Remark

No Doubt, Swift, with its new features, brings a modern touch to iOS app development. The advantages mentioned above, including faster development, secure performance, interoperability, and automatic memory management, make it an alluring choice for iOS developers.

However, its downfalls, such as less popularity, poor interoperability with third-party tools, and lack of support for previous iOS versions, should be considered. Hence, it is up to the developer to judge and select the best tool for their project, considering these factors.

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Co-Founder & Director, Business Management
HybridAppBuilders help you find the best app developer for your needs. We believe in sharing knowledge and increasing awareness, and to contribute to this cause, we try to include all the latest changes, news, and fresh content from the mobile app development world in our blogs.