I'm new to Mac's in general and iOS development. I've used an iPhone and iPad, and I'm looking to write apps for both. I'm a (newly) registered Apple developer and have Xcode downloaded and working my through it.

My question is this: Are there any third party tools that iOS developers with more experience than I (which is everyone) uses?

Example, in the Windows world I use

  • Notepad++ as a extra text editor.
  • Depends for dependency checks (yes, I realize there might not be a corollary to this)
  • Regex Buddy for building/debuggin regular expressions.
  • etc...

Being ignorant of the iOS landscape, any information anyone could supply on tools (and possibly why they are must haves or need to haves) would be great.

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  • 2
    I took the liberty to add some rules so that it won't be chaos. I also asked to make it CW. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 20:46
  • A great site to find a Mac counterparts to software you are used to on Windows is AlternativeTo.net - here is a list of Mac OS X alternatives to Regex Buddy - I have not tried any of them yet. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 21:58
  • 1
    I don't think there's anything wrong with including prices. If they change, anyone can edit the info. It's very useful to know the price beforehand.
    – nevan king
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 12:16
  • Wouldn't this be better on Stack Overflow where developer topics is more germane?
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 9:23

39 Answers 39



Not programming related, but invaluable for everything that doesn't go in source control. While Evernote is document centric, Dropbox is file centric. If you need files on multiple computers with revision control then you need Dropbox.

  • I should have mentioned this one, already have it. Excellent recommendation.
    – DevSolo
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 13:07
  • Dropbox + git is the ultimate (ok maybe just the easy ultimate) in backed-up version control.
    – alesplin
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 2:16


Indispensable for managing over-the-air beta testing.

  • Invaluable, and a complete game changer. Once you're testing you cannot beat the (still free) TestFlight service! Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 9:22


The terminal on your Mac is a very useful tool for managing repositories if you don't want to go the graphical route. Additionally, many useful Objective-C libraries are hosted on Google Code or GitHub. Having Terminal means being able to check out copies of these libraries.

  • 7
    Why Terminal when there is iTerm2?
    – mspasov
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 8:36


Another lightweight programmers text editor.



A great diff/merge tool. Can compare images. Integrates seamlessly with almost anything.



A less invasive way to get Unix/Linux utilities than Macports. Nothing necessarily wrong with Macports, but I don't like having 3 copies of Perl on my system, etc.



Not specifically development related, but I love it. This utility automatically adjusts the color temperature of your display based on sun rise & sun set in your specific location. Really makes working late at night more enjoyable. Try it for a few days and then disable it one night and you will not believe you used to be able to work without it.

It doesn't effect screen shots, etc. but you may need to disable it to get a true impression of the colors.

  • sounds like something to try, thanks for the link.
    – DevSolo
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 13:06


Accessorizer speeds up the creation of all the boilerplate code you need to get your Mac or iOS app running.
I guess the main use it to create @property and @synthesize lines. You simply select all your ivars press some keys and accessorizer will create a block of @property directives. Just paste that into your header and done.

Besides that you can create init, dealloc, viewDidUnload methods. It helps to create NSCoding compliant objects. And much more.

Every Objective-C developer should have it.

  • anything that automates is worth (at least) looking at.
    – DevSolo
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 16:58

Adobe Photoshop

Yes, it's expensive, but having a good graphics editing program is invaluable when making apps. Imagery is what makes an app stand out and even if you've hired that super expensive graphic designer, you're going to want to be able to make tweaks yourself.

You have several purchasing options, including a trial, or if you qualify, education pricing.



Not programming related, but invaluable for storing notes, etc. Anything that doesn't go in your source control. Automatically syncs between computers and has great search functionality. I use it to put notes on my iPad.



Good and promising GIT front-end.



More mac-like way to use vim/gVim on the mac.



Not really a Utility or often used tool by itself. But a great way to install all those unix command line tools that some of us need occasionally. For example imagemagick, pngcrush, mercurial, git, vim, wireshark and so on.

Fink is an alternative to Macports which basically does the same thing.



Great mind mapping utility. There is also an iPad version available ($7 or so)

  • This is an excellent App.
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:14


SvnX is an OS X open source GUI for most features of the svn client binary.

It allows you to browse your working copies, spot changes and operate on them but also to browse logs and revisions of your repositories.



Generates (and updates) Objective-C code for custom Core Data classes.



BBEdit is a great text editor that has been around for quite a while. The new version 10 not only added a ton of great new features (and continues to do so), but also saw a big reduction in price - about 50%.

BBEdit is very scriptable, including AppleScript and shell scripting. Also easy to create clippings to reduce time.

BBEdit is very similar to TextWrangler (TW is almost the 'lite' version of BBEdit), but includes many extra features that are well worth the money. Some examples are much better HTML tools, context aware auto complete in many different languages, clippings, SVN/CVS integration, and more.



A good image editor is essential for development. Pixelmator is more than that. It is fully functional, complete with content-aware fill, has a beautiful Mac feel to it, and to top it off is only $25 (I am aware of the rules but this is one of its major selling points) in the Mac App Store.



It's been in beta for ages and is very crashy on Lion, but Ingredients is a great alternative for browsing Xcode documentation. It's generally faster for searching the docs, and has Google and StackOverflow searches built in. I wish they'd update it so that it crashes less.



IMHO - The best SVN client for Mac OS, but a little pricey.



Sip is the best color picker you can have on OS X in my opinion. It's lightweight, always active, and outputs the color picked in a variety of formats, (Cocoa, iOS, Web Hex, etc). It's using just a small icon on your top bar, and by pressing that it let's you pick a color from anything in your screen and copies the result in your clipboards. And it's free.



CocoaPods is very useful to integrate 3th party libraries in your Xcode project. No more hassle and losing time with manual linking these libraries.


Find Any File

(Available in the App Store)

The Mac's content centric "Spotlight" feature will first drive you mad as you realize it cannot be set to default to file name searches. Its inability to return results from invisible folders, such as usr/bin will then make your life a living hell.

"Find Any File" looks for FILES on the disk or folder you point it at. It doesn't care if Steve Jobs, or anyone else, thinks a file should be hidden from mere mortals. It'll even look inside packages.



A different IDE for working with Mono applications for the Mac (or cross platform). Mono is based on the .NET Framework and you can use it with C#, VB.NET or Delphi Prism (requires 3rd party addition). Possibly other languages too.

Can be used with the MonoMac or MonoTouch frameworks to create native UI on Mac or iOS applications respectively.

  • I've heard of this, but haven't looked considering I'm interested in iPad/iPhone apps.
    – DevSolo
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 13:11
  • The main advantage of MonoDevelop is if you want to work with the Mono implementation of the .NET Framework with your iOS or Mac applications, or need to do cross platform development. If you just want to target Mac and iOS then Xcode will do it all for you. FYI, the MonoTouch framework is a commercial license for $300 I believe. Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 16:37


Secure source control hosting platform.



If you've taken the time to develop and application you're going to need a way to analyze the result of your hard work. The nice thing about this app is that it consolidates your iTunes Connect reports, tracks sales, rankings, reviews and also keeps an eye on the competition. I'm not much of a "business" person, so it's definitely helpful.


Quicklook Plugin for Mobile Provision files

MacMation (developers of the TimeBoxed app) just posted a handy Quicklook plugin for viewing the contents and validity of Xcode's mobile provision files.



Snippets is an application for Mac OS X that stores the most often-used pieces of your code you can reuse in different projects.



Amazing app to resize retina images. Very useful for iOS/MacOSX app development.

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