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I'm planing to develop an app with React Native for Android and iOS. I need to buy a Mac to run Xcode for iOS app development.

I do not have a high budget, which is why I would prefer to buy a (used) Mac with the minimum required specifications that is able to run the latest version of Xcode and iPhone simulator. The app I want to develop is mostly running in the background, so there will be no heavy graphics or computations.

I know this has been asked before, but it's been a few years since then, that's why I ask again.

I'm happy about any comments about RAM, Processor, manufacturing year or anything else.

Edit (November 2019): Just wanted to give future visitors an update: I spent a few hours to test macinacloud, however since it felt pretty slow and a bit overcomplicated, in the end I decided to get a used Mac Mini from late 2014 with 8 GB RAM. In general I am very happy with it, everything works fine (not super fast, but not too slow either). Sometimes I am hitting the limits (for example when running an iOS simulator and having too many other programs running at the same time), however I am always able to just close the ones I am not using right now and get everything to run fluently again.

Thanks for the advice everyone, I hope this can help some other iOS-developement-beginners :)

  • The minimal requirements needed to run Xcode are listed in the App Store, actually. – nohillside May 3 at 6:58
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Xcode 10 is available in the Mac App Store and includes SDKs for iOS 12, watchOS 5, macOS 10.14, and tvOS 12. Xcode 10 supports on-device debugging for iOS 8 and later, tvOS 9 and later, and watchOS 2 and later. Xcode 10 requires a Mac running macOS 10.13.6 or later.

Any 64-bit Mac with 8 GB of RAM and at least 200GB of disk space should do, if you don't care much about your time (compiles can be slow).

If I were scraping rock bottom, I would head over to https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac and wait for an 8 GB Mac Mini to show up. Check every morning around 8 AM PDT and again at 5 PM PDT. Be patient...which will prepare you for compiles that take 10 minutes each turn, but it'll work.

You'll still need a keyboard, mouse and monitor obviously, but you can get those at Best Buy refurbished. Also, consider Craigslist.org and any other site where you can buy used Macs.

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    Mac mini - specifically a 2012 or later, Xcode 10.2 requires 10.14.3 minimum, which the 2011 can't run. – Tetsujin May 3 at 6:36
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    To make this answer still relevant in a year or two, you could include the steps required to figure out the minimal OS/hardware needs at the top of the answer. This would allow us to close all future questions on this topic as duplicate of this one here. – nohillside May 3 at 7:00
  • Thanks a lot for your answer and comments! Now I at least have an overview of what specs the mac needs to have. One alternative solution I found is macincloud.com. Do you think this will be feasible? – markuscosinus May 3 at 13:14
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    @markuscosinus Doing your development in the cloud seems like a great idea. My primary worry would be storing my source code on somebody else's computer, but if you need to get started for cheap, paying $1/hour seems like a great way to go. I've never used their services, but I've used macstadium.com and been happy. Macincloud seems a LOT cheaper. Good luck! – Wilfred Smith May 3 at 16:51
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What I can definitely say is that a 2012 Mac Mini with 4 GB of RAM and a mechanical hard disk is not up to the task at all. Xcode 11 needs several minutes alone to launch, and launching a single simulator takes anywhere from 20 minutes to half an hour. Not recommended!

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