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iOS App Development: How to Make an iOS App

iOS App Development: How to Make an iOS App

Making iOS apps can be both exciting and profitable. This guide will walk you through iOS app development from start to finish. If you’re an experienced developer or new, you can make an iOS app. We’ll share tips for making your own successful iOS app easily. Now you can make the app you dreamed about real. Why the wait? Let’s build that app!

What is iOS App Development?

iOS app development means creating apps that work on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. These devices use the iOS operating system. To build iOS apps, you need to know programming languages like Swift and Objective-C. You also need to use Xcode, Apple’s app development program, and the iOS software development kit.

The goal of iOS app development is to make fun, easy-to-use apps. Developers have to think about things like screen size, resolution, and touch capability when designing iOS apps. You can use Xcode to make prototypes of app interfaces. Simulators can test how the app looks on real devices.

To put iOS apps in the App Store, developers must join the Apple Developer Program. Overall, iPhone app development lets you make apps for millions of iPhone and iPad users. Whether you’re building games, tools, or business apps, there is a big potential market. With good coding and design, you can make successful iOS apps that people find valuable. Well-optimized iOS apps can rank highly in the App Store’s search results.

Popular iOS Development Frameworks and Tools

There are many tools and frameworks out there to help you make iOS apps. Here, we have listed 5 of the best ones that make building awesome apps a breeze.


ZEGOCLOUD SDK helps you add live video and audio chat features to your iOS apps. Think of it like adding Skype or Zoom-like features directly into your app. Developers love using ZEGOCLOUD because it allows them to create high-quality video chat sessions, live streams, and even online education platforms specifically for iOS devices.

Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Multi-Party Video Calls: You can have video calls with many people at the same time, and the connection is so fast that you won’t notice any delays.
  • Screen Sharing: Share your screen with others during a call, which is perfect for presentations or collaborative work.
  • Beauty Filters: These filters can enhance video quality or add fun effects during video calls.
  • Cloud Recording: Save recordings of your video sessions directly to the cloud, which means you can access them from anywhere.
  • Security and Analytics: Keep your content safe and get detailed reports on user engagement and other analytics.

2. Xcode

Xcode is a one-stop shop provided by Apple for people who want to create apps for iOS devices. Even if you’re not a pro at coding, Xcode makes it easier with tools that help you with each step of the creation process — from writing code to testing how well the app works. It even allows you to design your app visually, which means you can drag and drop elements to create your app’s interface. You can use it to write code in Swift and Objective-C languages, and it comes with features like:

  • Testing Tools: To make sure your app works without any glitches.
  • Debugging Tools: To find and fix any issues in your code.
  • Optimization Tools: To make sure your app runs smoothly and quickly.
  • Simulator: This helps you test your app as if it were running on an actual iOS device.
xcode ios app development

3. CocoaPods

CocoaPods is a helper tool for people making iOS apps. It helps you easily add and manage third-party libraries and frameworks, which are basically pre-made chunks of code that can add features to your app without you having to write the code from scratch. With CocoaPods, you have access to a massive library of over 200,000 open-source ‘pods’ or code packages, saving you a lot of time and effort in the development process.

cocoapods offers iphone app development

4. React Native

React Native is a framework that lets you create iOS apps using the React and JavaScript languages. The best part? You write the code once, and it can work on both iOS and Android platforms, meaning you can create apps for both types of devices faster and more efficiently. It also offers near-native performance, which means your app will work almost as smoothly as if it were built with native tools.

how to make an app for iphone in react native

5. SwiftUI

SwiftUI is another tool from Apple that helps you create beautiful user interfaces for your iOS apps. It’s known for its simple and readable code, which means you can easily see and understand how the visual elements of your app are built. Compared to its predecessor, UIKit, SwiftUI speeds up the process of creating prototypes and reduces the amount of code you need to write, making the whole process less complicated and more streamlined.

how to make an iphone app in swiftui

How to Develop an iOS App with ZEGOCLOUD SDK

In this part, we’re going to find out how to create an iPhone app. We’ll use a video call app example and the ZEGOCLOUD Express SDK to add video call functionality. Let’s dive in!


  • ZEGOCLOUD developer account – Sign up
  • Xcode 13.0 or newer
  • An iOS device or simulator (iOS 11.0 or newer) with audio and video capabilities (using a real device is recommended)
  • Internet connection
  • Basic knowledge of iOS app development

If you’ve met the requirements above, you can then proceed with the steps below.

1. Create a new project

If you don’t already have a project set up, here’s how to get started creating one:

  1. Launch Xcode. In the welcome window, either click on “Create a new Xcode project” or go to “File” > “New” > “Project“. A popup will appear. Navigate to the “iOS” tab and choose “App” under the Application section.
how to make an ios app
  1. Now, you’ll need to provide details for your new project. Fill in the necessary fields, including the “Product Name” and “Organization Identifier” – these are crucial as they help in forming the App UID – Bundle Identifier.
 ios app development
  1. Lastly, select a directory where you want to save your new project, and hit the “Create” button to establish your project.
iphone app development

2. Import the SDK

Follow the steps below to integrate the ZEGOCLOUD Express SDK using Swift’s Package Manager:

  1. First, launch Xcode and select “File > Add Packages…” from the menu bar. In the ensuing “Apple Swift Packages” dialog box, utilize the “Search or Enter Package URL” field to input the following address:
  2. Next, choose the appropriate SDK version to merge under the “Dependency Rule” section. We advise sticking with the preset rule, “Up to Next Major Version“. Afterward, click “Add Package” to incorporate the SDK into your project.

For further guidance, you may consult the Apple Documentation.

3. Add permissions

You can configure permissions according to your requirements by following these steps:

  1. Launch Xcode and choose the target object, then navigate to Info >Custom iOS Target Properties.
how to make an app for iphone
  1. Press the Add button (+) to incorporate camera and microphone permissions.
  • Privacy: Description for Camera Usage
  • Privacy: Description for Microphone Usage
how to make an iphone app

4. Initialize the SDK

4.1 Create the UI

Make a user interface for video calls in your project that matches what you need it to do. We suggest adding these parts to your project’s user interface:

  • A view that shows your own video
  • A view that shows the video from the person you are calling
  • A button labeled “Stop” that ends the call

4.2 Import the header file

// Import the `ZegoExpressEngine.h` header file.
#import <ZegoExpressEngine/ZegoExpressEngine.h>

@interface ViewController ()<ZegoEventHandler>
// View for playing the audio and video streams of other users.
@property (strong, nonatomic) UIView *remoteUserView;
// Button for starting a video call.
@property (strong, nonatomic) UIButton *startVideoTalkButton;
// Button for stopping a video call.
@property (strong, nonatomic) UIButton *stopVideoTalkButton;

- (void)viewDidLoad {
    [super viewDidLoad];
    [self setupUI];

- (void)setupUI {
    self.remoteUserView = [[UIView alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(100, 100, 180, 250)];
    self.remoteUserView.backgroundColor = [UIColor lightGrayColor];
    [self.view addSubview:self.remoteUserView];

    self.startVideoTalkButton = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeSystem];
    [self.view addSubview:self.startVideoTalkButton];
    self.startVideoTalkButton.frame = CGRectMake(100, self.view.bounds.size.height - 280, 150, 50);
    [self.startVideoTalkButton.titleLabel setFont:[UIFont systemFontOfSize:32]];
    [self.startVideoTalkButton setTitle:@"Start" forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    [self.startVideoTalkButton addTarget:self action:@selector(startVideoTalk:) forControlEvents:UIControlEventTouchUpInside];

    self.stopVideoTalkButton = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeSystem];
    [self.view addSubview:self.stopVideoTalkButton];
    self.stopVideoTalkButton.frame = CGRectMake(100, self.view.bounds.size.height - 200, 150, 50);
    [self.stopVideoTalkButton.titleLabel setFont:[UIFont systemFontOfSize:32]];
    [self.stopVideoTalkButton setTitle:@"Stop" forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    [self.stopVideoTalkButton setTitleColor:[UIColor redColor] forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    [self.stopVideoTalkButton addTarget:self action:@selector(stopVideoTalk:) forControlEvents:UIControlEventTouchUpInside];

- (void)startVideoTalk:(UIButton *)button {
    [self createEngine];
    [self loginRoom];
    [self startPublish];

4.3 Create a ZegoExpressEngine instance

Call the createEngineWithProfile method. Fill in the appID and appSign parameters with the AppID and AppSign you were given.

Furthermore, use the scenario parameter to choose what kind of audio and video you need for your app. Look at the “Scenario-based audio and video configuration” section for help picking one.

Lastly, register a callback function. Set eventHandler to an object (like self) that uses the ZegoEventHandler protocol. The callback will get told when events happen.

- (void)createEngine {
    ZegoEngineProfile *profile = [[ZegoEngineProfile alloc] init];
    // Sign up on the official website to get a number like 1234567890.
    profile.appID = <#appID#>;
    // Get a 64-character string from the official website, similar to @"0123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123".
    profile.appSign = <#appSign#>; 
    // Choose a scenario that fits your app's needs.
    profile.scenario = ZegoScenarioBroadcast;
    // Initialize the engine and assign `self` to `eventHandler`. If you don't need to register a callback, set `eventHandler` to `nil`. You can use the `-setEventHandler:` method to set up the callback at a later time.
    [ZegoExpressEngine createEngineWithProfile:profile eventHandler:self];

5. Log in to a room

Use the loginRoom method to enter a room. If the room isn’t already there, using this method will make a new room and sign you in. The roomID and user details are made on your device, but you need to keep these rules in mind:

  • The roomID needs to be unique, as long as it’s under the same AppID.
  • Similarly, the userID should also be unique under the same AppID. It’s recommended to link the userID with your service’s account system.
- (void)loginRoom {
    // The `roomID` is created locally and should be unique worldwide. To communicate, users need to log into the same room.
    NSString *roomID = @"room1";

    // Generate a user entity. Using `userWithUserID` to construct a `ZegoUser` will automatically assign the `userID` value to `userName`.
    // The `userID` value is locally generated and needs to be universally unique.
    ZegoUser *user = [ZegoUser userWithUserID:@"user1"];

    // The `onRoomUserUpdate` notification is only received if the `isUserStatusNotify` attribute in `ZegoRoomConfig` is enabled (set to `true`).
    ZegoRoomConfig *roomConfig = [[ZegoRoomConfig alloc] init];
    // Using the AppSign for verification means you don't have to define the `token` attribute. If opting for token-based authentication (a more secure option), refer to the [Guide for transitioning from AppSign to token authentication](

    // roomConfig.token = @"<#token#>";

    roomConfig.isUserStatusNotify = YES;
    // Proceed to log into a room.
    [[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] loginRoom:roomID user:user config:roomConfig callback:^(int errorCode, NSDictionary * _Nullable extendedData) {
        // (Optional callback) Acknowledgement of room login status. This notification is adequate if verifying the login outcome is all that's required.
        if (errorCode == 0) {
            NSLog(@"Successfully logged into the room.");
        } else {
            // Login attempt was not successful. Consult the [Error codes\|_blank](/404) for further information.
            NSLog(@"Failed to log into the room.");

Once the loginRoom method has been activated, you have the ability to utilize the onRoomStateChanged callback to continuously monitor the room’s connection status.

6. Start local video preview and publish audio/video streams to ZEGOCLOUD.

6.1 Start the local video preview

To watch the local videos, initiate the startPreview method to configure the preview screen and begin displaying the local preview.

6.2 Publish audio and video streams to ZEGOCLOUD

To start live streaming, first call the loginRoom function to connect to the room. Then call the startPublishingStream function to begin transmitting your audio and video. You need to give startPublishingStream a unique streamID to identify your stream. The streamID must be different from all other streamIDs in your app. If you reuse a streamID, only the first stream will work.

After starting the stream, use onPublisherStateUpdate to check if it is working. This will tell you if your audio and video is being sent to the ZEGOCLOUD platform.

- (void)startPublish {
    // Initialize the local preview screen and begin previewing. The SDK's default view mode is utilized, filling the entire screen with proportionally scaled content.
    [[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] startPreview:[ZegoCanvas canvasWithView:self.view]];

    // Following the invocation of the 'loginRoom' function, use this function to initiate stream transmission.
    // It's vital to assign a 'streamID' that is distinct globally under the corresponding AppID to avoid transmission failure in case of duplicate 'streamID' usage.
    [[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] startPublishingStream:@"stream1"];

6.3 Play streams

To play other users’ audio and video streams in a video call:

  1. When a new stream starts, you will get a onRoomStreamUpdate callback. This tells you the streamID of the new stream.
  2. In onRoomStreamUpdate, call startPlayingStream and pass it the new stream’s streamID. This will start playing the stream.
  3. You can check if the stream is playing successfully using the onPlayerStateUpdate callback.
// This method notifies you when another user in the same room starts or stops streaming, indicating a change in the user's stream status.
- (void)onRoomStreamUpdate:(ZegoUpdateType)updateType streamList:(NSArray<ZegoStream *> *)streamList extendedData:(NSDictionary *)extendedData roomID:(NSString *)roomID {
    // If `updateType` is assigned as `ZegoUpdateTypeAdd`, it signifies the addition of a new audio-video stream. You can then initiate the `startPlayingStream` method to view this stream.
    if (updateType == ZegoUpdateTypeAdd) {
        // Begin playing the streams. Assign a view to display the incoming streams, utilizing the SDK's default viewing mode to proportionally scale and fill the entire view.
        // Here, the `remoteUserView` is synonymous with the UI's `View`. This sample code illustrates playing only the first new stream for simplicity. However, in a live environment, it's advisable to cycle through the stream list and initiate playback for each stream.
        NSString *streamID = streamList[0].streamID;
        [[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] startPlayingStream:streamID canvas:[ZegoCanvas canvasWithView:self.remoteUserView]];

7. Stop a video call

7.1 Stop stream publishing and preview

To stop sending your audio and video to other users, call the stopPublishingStream method.

// Stop publishing streams.
[[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] stopPublishingStream];

If you have started a local preview, call the stopPreview method to turn it off.

// Stop the local preview.
[[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] stopPreview];

7.2 Stop playing streams

To stop playing other users’ audio and video streams, call the stopPlayingStream method.

// Stop playing streams.
[[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] stopPlayingStream:@"stream1"];

8. Log out of a room

To disconnect from the room, call the logoutRoom method. This will log you out of the room you had connected to.

// Log out of a room.
[[ZegoExpressEngine sharedEngine] logoutRoom];

9. Destroy ZegoExpressEngine instance

When you are completely done with audio/video calls, call destroyEngine. This frees up the resources that were being used like the microphone, camera, memory and CPU.

You can pass a callback function to destroyEngine. The callback will be executed after the engine is fully destroyed, to confirm everything has been cleaned up. If you don’t need a callback, just pass nil to destroyEngine instead.

So remember to call destroyEngine when you’re finished with audio/video. This makes sure all resources are freed up. Use a callback if you want confirmation, or nil if you don’t need it.

[ZegoExpressEngine destroyEngine:nil];

The Common Challenges for Developing iOS Apps

When learning how to make an iOS app, you can run into some challenges. Here are some usual problems that people who make these apps often run into:

1. Getting the green light from the App Store

Apple checks apps very carefully before they allow them on their App Store. People who make apps need to follow Apple’s rules about what’s in the app, how safe it is, how fast it runs, and more. If an app doesn’t pass the check, it can take longer to get it out to the public.

2. Making the app work with many iOS versions

Every year, new iOS versions come out. People who make apps need to design them to work well with the new features and also with the old versions that are still being used. This can make making and checking the app take longer.

3. Adjusting to various screen sizes

There are lots of different iPhone and iPad models now, so people who make apps need to make sure the apps work well on both big and small screens. It takes a lot of work to check the apps on all these devices.

4. Using special iOS tools

To make the apps feel real and work well, creators have to use special tools that are only for iOS. Learning how to use these tools can take some time, especially when compared to making apps that work on many platforms.

5. Handling big app sizes

Apps with lots of features and media can become very big. Creators need to make sure the size of the app doesn’t get too big, especially for people who don’t have a lot of data to spare.

Knowing about these usual problems helps creators plan their time better and make good-quality apps for iOS more quickly. With careful planning and hard work, they can get past the tough parts of making iOS apps.

Run a Demo

To try the live audio and video functions, go to the ZEGO Express Web Demo. Use the same AppID, Server, and RoomID to join the same room. If everything works, you’ll see and hear video and audio from both sides.


Making an iPhone app may seem hard at first, but with the right tools and learning, anyone can do it. This guide teaches you how to make an iOS app using Xcode and Swift. By following along, you have started your journey to creating your own iPhone app. With the ZEGOCLOUD SDK, you can also add real-time communication features. Learning how to make an iPhone app opens up many possibilities. Keep practicing and you’ll be able to publish your app to the App Store soon.

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