Best IDE Alternatives to Xcode (Paid and Free)

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Few people would disagree that building an Apple app is easier without Xcode. This is why Xcode is one of the most widely used integrated development environments (IDEs) for developing applications on Apple platforms, especially among developers who are more familiar with the Swift programming language.

However, you shouldn’t remove other IDEs until you’ve explored our list of Xcode alternatives. We’ll use some important features found in the best IDEs as a guide for 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 makes it easy for developers to write code, create user interfaces (UI), 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.

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Xcode comes with almost all the features developers need to build, test, and distribute their apps on Apple platforms. The IDE also allows users to deploy applications from Xcode Cloud.

Best alternatives to Xcode

Here are the best Xcode alternatives that developers can rely on for their app development without missing most of the features of Xcode.


Visual Studio is a Microsoft-powered free IDE for application development. The IDE platform includes a code editor that supports code refactoring and IntelliSense. With the IntelliSense tool, developers can take advantage of a code completion feature that supports parameter information, quick information, and list members.

Besides, Visual Studio offers other important Microsoft platforms such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Store, Microsofts Silverlight and Windows Forms.

App code

JetBrain’s AppCode is a paid integrated development environment for macOS and iOS programming. It ensures fast code execution with an intelligent development environment. It also handles recurring programming tasks and prevents additional code entry. With precise and secure refactoring, it modifies and improves the code whenever necessary.

AppCode offers project navigation, so users can quickly navigate to any file, class, or image in a project and navigate its hierarchy and structure using hierarchical and structural views. Basic and more powerful SmartType completion is available in AppCode. Moreover, AppCode supports multiple 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 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 build top-notch apps for all Android devices.

Its features include a solid 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 considered a Java Virtual Machine (JVM)-focused platform, the IDE supports other programming languages ​​such as Ruby, Python, Markdown, HTML, Dart, XML, and more. Additionally, IntelliJ IDEA can predict users’ programming needs and provide the automation required to overcome boring and repetitive tasks, allowing developers to focus more on more relevant development issues.

IntelliJ IDEA provides other essential features such as version control system support, code completion by analyzing context, and framework-specific assistance.


Xamarin is a free and open source IDE for developing innovative native iOS and Android applications. Thanks to its interoperability with programming languages, Xamarin can be a great alternative to Xcode. The tool can help users invoke libraries written in C, C++, Java, and Objective-C, greatly expanding the possibilities for writing code. Additionally, there is back-end integration support for developers using Azure, Parse, and SAP.


Flutter is a free app tool designed by Google to help developers build cross-platform apps 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 building native apps for iOS and Android using React. React is written in JavaScript but can be rendered in native code, ensuring that an application uses the application programming interfaces (APIs) of its native platform. With React Native, developers can build native applications without compromising user experience.

One of the benefits of using React Native is that users don’t need 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 releases.

Apache Netbeans

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

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