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I am planning to buy a 2017 MacBook Pro base model (8 GB RAM/128 GB SSD) for iOS app development and I am on a budget.

I would appreciate if I get answer to the following questions before I decide to purchase:

  1. Does current version of Xcode (10.1) and iOS Simulator run smoothly without lag on this Mac? or do I need more RAM and SSD and more powerful CPU?

  2. How fast the 128 GB SSD fills with Xcode project files if I use the machine only for app development purpose?

  3. Can I move old Xcode project files to an external disk in order to free up space on internal drive (and copy old Xcode project files back to internal drive as needed)?

  4. Can I directly save and run Xcode project files from external disk without using the internal drive?

closed as too broad by nohillside Jan 26 at 6:09

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2017 MacBook Pro is a fairly recent model and supports running the current iOS development tooling (recent version of macOS, current version of Xcode + iOS SDK + iOS Simulator) pretty decently.

However, how smoothly does Xcode run is a subjective question. As mentioned, the MacBook is pretty recent and can handle the iOS development environment fairly well. The actual performance is dependent not on the hardware alone, but also on the optimization level of the software (macOS + Xcode), which are fairly well optiized in general.

While the machine configuration (Memory, CPU, disk space) required for optimal performance is highly dependent on the actual workflow i.e., the kind of project you'll be working on, it's generally a good idea to go with as much RAM as you can budget for as it's not upgradable at a later stage.

  1. Does current version of Xcode (10.1) and iOS Simulator run smoothly without lag on this Mac? or do I need more RAM and SSD and more powerful CPU?

This is subjective and dependant on the complexity of the project. In general Xcode will run decently on this configuration.

  1. How fast the 128 GB SSD fills with Xcode project files if I use the machine only for app development purpose?

This is again subjective as it's dependent on the size of project.

  1. Can I move old Xcode project files to an external disk in order to free up space on internal drive (and copy old Xcode project files back to internal drive as needed)?

Yes. Xcode project is a entirely contained in a single directory. As long as you keep all the project referenced files in the same location (generally inside the project directory), you can freely move around the directory between internal and external drive.

  1. Can I directly save and run Xcode project files from external disk without using the internal drive?

Yes, you can save/run Xcode project from an external drive. However, the drive needs to remain connected for the duration of work.

  • Thanks for your reply. Can I install latest xcode 10.1 on above device running macos 10.12 instead of macos 10.14? (I read on documentation of macbook pro 13 inch 2017 version that it comes with macos 10.12 and i don't want to upgrade to macos 10.14 on my first start. )Or itune will allow me to download older version of xcode for macos 10.12? Furthermore, if i purchase the macbook pro 13 inch 2017 version on first start does it load macos 10.12 or it will force me to upgrade to macos 10.14? – user1788736 Jan 26 at 18:25
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    @user1788736 If you are going for a brand new MacBook Pro, it may come preinstalled with a more recent version of macOS instead of originally shipped macOS 10.12. You can however downgrade to it using Internet recovery if you have specific reasons to use it. You may likely won’t be able to install Xcode 10.1 in macOS 10.13 as it’s not supported. However you can still download the last supporter version of Xcode from the Mac App Store. Older versions of Xcode can be downloaded from the downloads section of Apple Developer website. – Nimesh Neema Jan 26 at 19:18
  • Many thanks for details you provided. May I know how offen ios developer should update the xcode?does apple force us to update xcode in order to continue developing apps or we can use a particular version of xcode for a long time?Furthermore, can we upgrade and downgrade macos any time or there is a period to downgrade or upgrade just like iphone ios downgrade and update? – user1788736 Jan 27 at 12:27
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    @user1788736 Ideally one should be use the most update to date development tooling as soon as they are released. However, depending on your project requirements, changes in the version of Swift language and your usage of particular Swift version, you may need to stick with an older version by either skipping Xcode update or keeping a copy of the older version in parallel. A particular version of Xcode can be used for developing and uploading apps for quite some time until Apple stops accepting App Store submissions from that version. – Nimesh Neema Jan 27 at 12:40
  • @user1788736 Unlike iOS, macOS can be upgraded/downgraded at will. However, you can only downgrade till the original macOS shipped with your machine. However, older version of macOS may not support the supported version of Xcode (as discussed in the comment above) for iOS development and more importantly App Store deployment. – Nimesh Neema Jan 27 at 12:41

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