I want to buy a MacBook to develop iOS apps. What are the minimum requirements?

  • 1
    I'm not 100% sure but if you're thinking of getting a second hand one, you need to have Snow Leopard installed for the iOS SDK, and therefore you need a Intel Mac.
    – ingh.am
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 12:32
  • @ing0 gotcha, I was planning on that one.
    – chromedude
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 0:22
  • ^^ Just checking :) Have you seen the new MacBook Airs? The 11" model looks nice, and has similar specs to my MacBook now! I just got myself a SSD drive for that, where the Air has custom flash - but it is so worth it!
    – ingh.am
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 8:44
  • @ing0 I haven't personally seen them but I have seen pics and I am definitely thinking about buying one. So you think an 11" with 2GB and 128GB would be enough?
    – chromedude
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 10:06
  • At the moment I have a MacBook with 128 SSD and 4GB Ram and that's plenty. It wouldn't be as nice with less ram and you might want to get a monitor hooked up to it! More than enough to dev with though. One thing I'm not sure on is the speed of Apples custom flash memory, but it must be fast still!
    – ingh.am
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


Today, I'd go with either a 15" or 17" MacBook Pro. They would allow you to work with the iPad simulator at its native resolution. It's a bit too big to run full-size on the 13" models, so I always end up running it at half size, which is less than ideal. Even if you're not planning to develop for the iPad right now, I'd still plan the hardware purchase around that possibility. The likelihood that you'll do iOS development and never build for the iPad is pretty low.

Beyond the simulator issues, I like to have the largest screen possible when I'm programming. I have a 13" MacBook Pro, but I connect it to a 24" monitor when I'm at my desk. If you're like me, the 17" would be ideal, if you don't want to have a second screen.

However, Apple is holding a Mac-focused special event tomorrow, and it's never a good idea to buy a Mac this close to one of those events. The entire laptop line is due for updates, and there has been (unconfirmed) speculation that any new models may run at higher screen resolutions, especially on the smaller end of the range.

  • 2
    +1 for the 15" MBP recommendation. The screen size of the 17" is nice, but it's not a very portable laptop, as far as I'm concerned. It can be tough going from my 21" Cinema Display to the 15" MBP, but not so much that I can't work while on the road. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 13:03
  • thanks, so you would say a 15" or 17". I have a pc thats 15.6" and I like the screen size but it really is not that portable. I am leaning toward getting a 13" and getting a 27" monitor because I think most the time I will be developing it will be at my desk. How much RAM and HD do you think it should have? Do you think a 4GB/256GB 13" 2010 Macbook Air would work for at least when I am away from my desk?
    – chromedude
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 0:26
  • See, this is why I said not to buy until after the event. :) The 13" MBA looks great. Let's see if Philip wants to chime in on this one again now that we have new hardware to evaluate.
    – Ben Wyatt
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 1:08
  • Yeah, I had heard about the event and was waiting... glad I waited, though now I have to figure out how to come up with that amount of money (a little much for a highschooler).
    – chromedude
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 1:20

MacBook Pro 13" with an external display (22 or 24 inches), keyboard and mouse.

Later you can upgrade it with 8 GB of memory and change its disk to a SSD or Hybrid disk if you need more performances.

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