So... prior to Xcode 4, Xcode was always free. Then 4.0 cost $5 for non-developers. Now 4.1 is free. I'm just a little confused with this situation.

4.1 is Lion only (no SL support). Is 4.1 free and 4.0 is still $5? Are the price tags removed for both versions? I just need someone to clear up the situation a little for me.

  • Isn't kind of illegal for Apple to sell xcode considering it's bundled with GCC and g++?
    – user10142
    Aug 20, 2011 at 18:43
  • @RyChannel Why should it? You are allowed to sell GPL Software if you abide the GPL license.
    – XQYZ
    Aug 20, 2011 at 20:41

4 Answers 4


Here's what we know:

  1. When Xcode 4.0 hit the store - it was $4.99 and ran on Snow Leopard
  2. Xcode 4.1 hit the store July 20 (Lion launch day) for free but requires Lion. It replaces the prior version so that's effectively not for sale any longer.

Unless you feel someone that has a hand in pricing decisions from Apple will answer here, the rest is speculation.

  • 3
    But if 4.1 requires Lion, what do developers still using Snow Leopard do? Or is it effectively "if you didn't get 4.0 when you had the chance you're either stuck with 3 or get Lion."? Jul 20, 2011 at 17:22
  • You can't be a developer on Snow Leopard. That's what happens. I know, it sucks, it happened to me with Leopard vs Snow Leopard.
    – Odinulf
    Jul 20, 2011 at 17:37
  • Developers pay for access to many versions of tools, past, present and future at developer.apple.com - you can even buy all apple software as a periodical subscription for development purposes as a select developer. You can see that developers have access to Xcode 3 as well as Xcode 4.2 on publicly viewable pages like developer.apple.com/xcode/index.php
    – bmike
    Jul 20, 2011 at 17:40

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The act which was passed after the Enron scandel prohibits companies from adding new unadvertised features to a product after the sale. Apple has done this with iPod Touch software upgrades, FaceTime, and now Xcode. So in a sense Xcode 4.1 is included in price of Lion.

  • There is a lot of speculation that the decision to charge for Xcode 4 was to avoid restating past earnings / expenses was due to SOX compliance. SOX doesn't force anything to be free or paid - it just establishes rules for accounting. That 4.1 could be offered for free might mean that the effort to create Xcode 4.1 was adequately accounted for in Lion's "development bucket" so it's not a new feature or require past earnings/expenses to be restated. Only someone that audits Apple or is a professional accountant for a similar software firm would knows what current practice is.
    – bmike
    Jul 20, 2011 at 17:47
  • Apple is quite conservative when it comes to their accounting practices. Anyone who listens to Apple’s quarterly conference calls will hear this issue come up regularly.
    – alwillis
    Aug 21, 2011 at 2:08

It appears that 4.1 is has been made free; and 4.0 is no longer available in the App Store as it has been replaced with 4.1.


You paid for the optional 4.1 dev tools as part of paying for Lion. Snow Leopard buyers didn't pay for Xcode 4.0, so it wasn't downloadable for free for them (except to enrolled developers who did pay $99.)

Before Snow Leopard, Xcode or Project Builder came on an optional CD/DVD disk that was part of what the customer paid for. So now it's back to the same (in digital download form) with Lion.

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