Creating Your First IOS App




About: Drafter by trade, but roboticist, designer, programmer, and reverse engineer by hobby

Looking around this site, it occurred to me that there weren't many 'ibles on programming the iOS platform, so I thought I'd fix that deficit. This is a simple "hello, world!" app for iPhone (or iPod Touch, or iPad). This 'ible will also serve the purpose of helping others become familiar with the IDE known as Xcode, which is what you need if you want to program for the iOS platforms.

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Step 1: Get Xcode

If you already have Xcode, you can skip this step.

If you want to develop apps for iOS, you need the SDK, which is provided with Xcode. Xcode only runs on Mac OS X (yes, Apple is doing that on purpose), so if you are running a windows (or linux, or pretty much any non-Mac OS X) operating system, you have a couple options:

1. Get a mac, by far the easiest, but it can be rather expensive.

2. Find a friend with a mac, if they are nice, they'll let you use it for programming, you should warn them, however, that programming takes a long time.

3. Give up, Those are your legal options, there are some other options that are either illegal, or are in the gray area (meaning it's debatable whether or not it is illegal), so I am not mentioning them, you want to know them, find them yourself, I won't be responsible.

Now that's settled, onto the IDE. Go to the mac app store (available in mac os x 10.6.8 and later) and search Xcode. It's the first option, click on it. Download it, it's a lengthy download, ~4 Gb, so if you have a slow internet connection you may want to consider doing something else while it is downloading.

Step 2: Open Xcode & Set Up the Project

1. Open Xcode.
2. Go to File>New>Project.
3. Click on Single View Application and click next.
4. Name it Hello World!
5. Decide whether you want it to be an iPhone app, an iPad app, or universal (I will be doing iPhone)
6. Make sure use storyboards and Use Automatic Reference Counting are checked
7. Click Next
8. Navigate to where you want to save the file and click Create

Step 3: Write the Code

You will be doing the programming in the ViewController.m file, but it doesn't hurt to look at the other files. The MainStoryboard.Storyboard file is the UI, we'll deal with that later. The appDelegate is what is called on startup, in this tutorial, we will be leaving that alone.

Ok, time to start programming.

1. Open up ViewController.h

2. Between @interface ViewController : UIViewController and @end add the following code: 
@property (strong, nonatomic)IBOutlet UILabel *label;
This is the label that will show the Hello World text. If an empty circle appeared next to the line of code, then you wrote it right

3. Go to ViewController.m

4.  Under @implementation ViewController add @synthesize label; and in the viewDidUnload function add [self setLabel:nil];

5. In viewDidLoad, add the following code: self.label.text = @"Hello World!";

6. That completes the programming for now

Step 4: Connect the UI

Next We'll deal with the UI.

1. Open MainStoryboard.Storyboard

2. Find a label and drag it onto the view (if this sounds confusing, refer to the picture)

3. Resize the Label to your liking by clicking and dragging on the squares in the corners of the label

4. Go to the Attributes inspector (if you are not already there, refer to the picture)

5. Make sure it is centered, and choose the font and size you want. I will stay with the system font, but scale it up to size 25

6. Open the Assistant Editor, it should open ViewController.h, if not, you need to change it to ViewController.h (again, refer to the picture)

7. Remember that circle I told you about earlier? Click and drag from it to the label you just added. If you did it right, the circle should be filled

Step 5: Run the App

That's it! Hit the Run Button and if you did everything correctly, your app will say Hello World!
Pat yourself on the back, you just wrote your first app.

Step 6: Have Some Fun by Adding Things Programmatically

To make it a little more advanced, we are going to add everything programmatically.

1. Delete the label we added to the UI as well as all the code we wrote up to this point.

2. Open ViewController.h and add the Following code between the @interface ViewController: UIViewController and @end:
@property (strong, nonatomic)UILabel *label;
Notice how a circle did not appear this time? That's an indication that you did it correctly

3. In ViewController.m add @synthesize label; right beneath @implementation ViewController and add [self setLabel:nil]; in the viewDidUnload function.

4. In the viewDidLoad function add the following lines of code:
//Define where the label will be displayed
self.label = [[UILabel alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0, 0, 320, 100)];
//Define the text to be displayed
self.label.text = @"Hello World";
//Center the Text
self.label.textAlignment = UITextAlignmentCenter;
//Programmatically add the label to the view
[self.view addSubview:self.label];

5. Hit run and admire your handiwork, you've completed your first iOS application

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70 Discussions

Louise Hudson

1 year ago

Some of the best language are now a days are swift for iOS, But instead of coding an app or game from scratch you can always buy a source code or template and reskin it according to your needs, you can get many templates of different types from or any other marketplace like this.


2 years ago

Hi Guys, before starting with the development it's important to spend a good amount of time in defining the concept of the app, to avoid it to fail.

For help you can download this free ebook :


3 years ago

It's good news for all developers.

Grep Scott

3 years ago

Good for new developers but It is very easy to develop iOS apps by using new language by Apple called "Swift". It have many builtin features that you can use in your application.

Domain Age Checker

3 years ago

I am a beginner in iOS app development.This article is very helpful to me.Thanks for sharing this.


3 years ago

So you cant get the program on anything but a mac... u cant even get it on a ipad...etc


3 years ago

This was the best step by step tutorial for learning of how to start building iOS apps. I hope it makes more easy for developing first iOS app.


3 years ago

Wow this is amazing tutorial for learners like me. I also found another website to create your own app. They have different options to create your own app. Click here to see in action.


7 years ago on Step 6

Would be great if you could include how to get the app onto your device. Thanks for the instructable.

5 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

guys, the reason they don't allow you to put apps on your phone is because, then you could put them on any iPhone. this would circumvent the app store. the whole point of the app store is that the only way to get an app on an iPhone is after it has been tested by apple to make sure it works and does what it says it will. it's quality control. ultimately, it's about making sure everything on an iOS device "just works". i for one fully support a business model that allows them to make money while ensuring a quality product. it's the one thing that sets apple products apart. it makes them more expensive, yes, but it's worth it to many people.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Unfortunately (and I learned this the hard way), you need to be a part of the paid developer program (US $100/year) in order to put the app on your device.


Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

For your own device, connected with your iTunes, you don't need to be in the developer program - just connect the device for sync.
But if you want your app in the AppStore, you need to be in the program.
best regards


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I had to join the program to put it on my device, but if you'd post an 'ible on how to do that, I'd love to be proven wrong.


4 years ago on Introduction

As an iOS app developer, I suggest you to develop apps with mobile app development platforms. It will save your lots of time as well as you will get plenty of handy features.

I generally use Configure.IT because it provides good features compared to other platforms such as automatic coding, App preview facility, .PSD file export for UI design and many more. You can view the detailed list here:


5 years ago on Introduction

we are ready to help to create your first iOS app. if you need any help, please visit & learn more.