Flutter vs Swift: Best Choice For iOS App Development

In the world of mobile apps, several technologies are gaining popularity consistently among the developers’ community. And if we talk about native iOS app development then Flutter and Swift are worth comparing. Both the technologies are favorable for building iOS apps, however, choosing the best between them would be a little tricky.

Updated 18 September 2023

In the world of mobile apps, several technologies are gaining popularity consistently among the developers’ community. And if we talk about native iOS app development then Flutter and Swift are worth comparing. Both the technologies are favorable for building iOS apps, however, choosing the best between them would be a little tricky.

Swift has been utilized for many years as it is an upgrade of Obective-C, while Flutter is backed by Google developers. So, they both stand strong in the competition. But before we start Flutter vs Swift comparison and decide the best one for iOS app development, let’s first start with their introductions.

What Is Flutter?

In the introduction to Flutter, you should know that it is launched by tech giant Google, is an open-source and multi-platform SDK platform. Android and iOS developers depend upon this platform to develop an enhanced version of the app for both platforms in a single code. This helps the developers to develop for ios and android at the same time.

In simple words, it is a cross-platform app development platform that is used for both the operating frameworks – Android and iOS. This eliminates the need for a question “Can flutter be used for iOS?”

On top of that, Flutter is developed on Dart language that has a plus point for developers to learn along with a documentation option available in the market. The platform is similar to React Native with the extensive features to add up the support for developers.

Advantages Of Flutter

1- Hot Reload

Any progressions or modification made by developers will be quick in the application with this great advantage of Flutter. This will help fix bugs inside the space of seconds as the developer will actually want to see the change in a hurry. This element will likewise help the developer try different things with new highlights and ad-lib. 

2- Access to Native Features

Flutter’s native language code, outsider combination, and stage APIs make the developer work simple. As they can get to native element and SDK and even reuse languages like Kotlin and Swift in iOS development tools and Android platform. 

3- Dynamic Code Capabilities

Flutter utilizes Dart language which JIT (Just-In-Time) and AOT (Ahead of time) solution to improve the capacity and startup season of the application and even speed up it – which can all be finished with the insignificant contribution of code. And hence its one of the major advantages of Flutter.

4- Plenty of Widgets

Flutter gives you admittance to a wide scope of conventional widgets. It additionally gives you tools to make your widgets and customized features without any problem.

Disadvantages Of Flutter

1- Immature Framework

It hasn’t been around for long, which is the reason Flutter as yet not altogether steady. Various pretty much risky issues stay, alongside an absence of further developed highlights that influence the capacities of working frameworks. 

Read the complete on cost to develop an iOS app

2- Apps are Heavy & Large

Flutter apps consume a great deal of space and take more time to download or refresh. Presently for certain cases, these document sizes could be a critical issue and cause a developer to pick an alternate solution for iOS development. This might be benefit for large apps but a major disadvantage of Flutter for small app developers.

3- Absence of Third-party Libraries

Open source iOS libraries and bundles altogether affect app development as it empowers a few functions for developers. These libraries are typically free, open-source, pre-tried, and effectively accessible. You may not track down each and every element you need for the turn of events, as for now.

Flutter offers a lot of creativity in building mobile apps, but developers might also find some issues such as app size and framework’s flexibility. But it doesn’t mean that Swift takes all the points in this Flutter vs Swift guide.

Here are some popular apps which were built with Flutter framework

Top Apps Built With Flutter

apps built on flutter

Now that we know – what is Flutter! It’s time to start with its competition 

What Is Swift?

An open-source programming language created by Apple devoted to native iOS app development. It was delivered in 2014 and it turned out to be very famous, dismissing Objective-C as the main innovation for building native iOS apps. Swift is notable for its imaginative methodology, speed of coding, and intensive documentation.

It is bound to give security and superior rates for each piece of programming worked with it – as it isn’t devoted distinctly to mobile application development. Swift programming language can be used for web, work area, and worker applications, as well. Each piece of equipment with a working framework from Apple, like TVs, watches, and iPads, utilizes programming coded in Swift. 

Read the comparison between Swift vs Python

The essential climate used to construct native applications with this programming language is XCode. Building programming utilizing Swift is professed to be straightforward, quick, and dependent on designs that are known and cherished by the native area.

Advantages Of Swift

1- Time-Productive Arrangement

Swift is known for being a speedy language to code in, as it normally takes less effort to make a program with Swift when compared to other languages like Kotlin vs Swift. It is a lot less difficult to write in Swift and read the code. What’s more, this language is extensively more smaller, which implies that the assignments are more limited and don’t need as much coding; 

2- Improved Versatility

Its coding features permit adding new functionalities and welcoming more mobile app development teams without any problem. Besides, Apple is slowly giving increasingly more consideration to it, while Objective-C requires the subsequent spot.

Regardless of being a generally your language, Swift design patterns has effectively gone past a confined circle of Apple gadgets and began to run with Linux too. There is a brilliant future in front of this language, and numerous developers have effectively chosen to bounce in; 

3- Safe & Performance-Oriented

Being profoundly effective and furious, Swift has astounding security. With this new way to deal with coding, the software developers can find and dispose of bugs exceptionally quick and without inconvenience. This makes perfect and comprehensible codes. Its composing interface lessens the chance of bugs staying neglected. 

Disadvantages Of Swift

1- Still New

In all honesty, yet Apple’s Swift programming language is only six years of age. Contrasted and Objective-C that arose during the 1980s, it’s essentially a baby language. This implies it may experience the ill effects of regular developing torments. developers could profit by more explicitly focused on assets, devices, and native libraries to determine certain issues quicker. 

Get your choice clear between Cross-platform vs native app development

2- Compatibility Issues

Swift experiences in reverse compatibility issues. The language is drastically advancing and that makes it fairly unsteady. It’s critical to realize that each new form of Swift doesn’t uphold the prior variants, which implies that the undertakings that are done in 1.0 and 2.0 Swift can’t be additionally modified and kept up in Swift 3.0.

Now that we know about the Swift programming language and its excellent benefits, there are some contradictions as well with its overall usability. However, there are several companies that utilized it for their app development projects.

Top Apps Built With Swift

apps built on swift

Since we have come to a point in this Flutter vs Swift guide where we should start comparing them. Let’s conclude some essential factors and see who will dominate the other:

Comparison Factors: Flutter vs Swift

1- Integration & Development

This is a major aspect of Flutter vs Swift comparison that holds a vital part in the development phase. Flutter will be different than Swift when it includes the development process.

The Xcode server offers continuous integration for the development process to ensure that the iOS app can be delivered. However, this can limit the scalability of apps that is worked up by Apple. They deliver the solution for the apps in the form of BuddyBuild that is not the perfect solution. 

Flutter development tools have been added up with the new solution to detect, make, test, and package for any application. The catch is that it doesn’t require any type of configuration for the process. And that’s why this Flutter vs Swift comparison pointer takes Google tool as a winner.

2- Accessibility

Availability highlights in the application upgrade the UI-UX design of individuals with inabilities. With iOS app development, you ought to likewise add to their lives with little exertion by making applications accessible to everybody. 

Apple’s native tools have accessibility prepared in the UIKit framework so there is no compelling reason to import another structure to empower flexible support in native applications.

There is the Accessibility API given by Apple, however developers need to give the right availability data to each UI component in the iOS application utilizing the UIAccessibility convention. 

As far as accessibility support, Flutters needs development to make betters applications for individuals with handicaps. There should be something on the Flutter guide to improve the availability of Flutter apps. And this is where Swift gets higher in comparison to Flutter vs Swift.

3- Onboarding Process

While contrasting native iOS app development and iOS application development with Flutter, the onboarding interaction for native iOS development is by all accounts less agonizing and includes less arrangement.

It requires just Xcode and a macOS machine to begin. There are numerous assets and books accessible online for learning Swift iOS development. Flutter requires Xcode, besides, extra Flutter tools to begin with the development of iOS applications.

As Flutter is still new on the lookout, there are nearly fewer development assets accessible than for native iOS app development.

Also read the guide, React Native vs Flutter in cross platform development.

4- Performance

Once more, Swift being the native language for iOS apps has a genuine benefit. You can rely on better execution for errands requiring enormous calculation power (realistic impacts for instance). With regards to squeezing out the platform, Swift might be the better decision. And this is where you need to consider all the mobile app performance metrics.

Nonetheless, Flutter doesn’t fall behind. In the first place, Dart utilizes a trash specialist. Second, it’s arranged AOT (early) taking into consideration speedy correspondence with the gadget. Except if you truly need to take advantage of iOS platform, Flutter will perform for all intents and purposes just as native Swift.

5- App Size

Since we have thought about every one of the parts of native and Flutter applications, it’s an ideal opportunity to look at the size of both applications produced by the native Xcode and Flutter. 

For native iOS, you can get the application relic from the Xcode-inferred information. The size of the native application is around 25 MB. 

The document size of the application created natively is 52.4 MB. It’s somewhat greater than the native application yet the Flutter mobile app development has some icons and different resources installed. 

Subsequent to looking at the size of the native and the Flutter apps, they to be heavier in size. The Flutter community has recognized this reality might bring some alternate solutions in the near future.

6- Development Time

Since we have constructed an application for examination, we should jump into each application and measure the form time for both the native and the Flutter application. We will look at both the perfect form by erasing all the inferred information and steady forms. 

By contrasting the form time for the native application and the Flutter apps, they seem to take somewhat more for clean forms. Be that as it may, Flutter gets accelerated when assembling gradually. The form time for gradual forms in Xcode is superfast.

7- App Reloading

Developers make code changes all the more much of the time in iOS app development and test it on a framework or a device. This testing methodology is called app reloading that is significant in mobile app development. 

In the event that you need to change the button name, you require renaming the interface component from the storyboard which conceivably needs changes in information and availability. It comes with the functionality of mobile app usability to assure its flexible access.

In the wake of renaming the component, you need to remake the application for checking whether the progressions are seen on the test framework or the device. In Xcode, this technique takes 7 to 12 seconds. 

Flutter accompanies an extraordinary Hot Reload include which helps make changes in apps as per your practicality and reload it. You will discover these progressions on the test framework inside a couple of moments.

8- Community Support

Swift programming language community assembles around referenced Swift.org. On GitHub, there are more than 830 supporters of Swift, and around 2600 watch the string. You can likewise experience more than 284 thousand inquiries labeled with ‘Swift’ on Stack Overflow. 

The figures for Flutter appear to be comparative. Watched by 3400 on GitHub with 770 benefactors. Notwithstanding, the quantity of inquiries labeled Flutter on Stack Overflow is under 70 thousand. Perhaps there are less issues with Flutter however? 

Flutter app development community assembles around Google communities and different discussions (like Slack people group for Flutter). Also, being an open-source framework, Flutter is a greater native area agreeable.

9- Testing & Documentation

Testing and documentation are an important part of the mobile app development world. When it comes to the apps built with swift development then it alters the whole process. It includes the native testing process that includes performance testing, UI testing, and integration testing.

The iOS app package and testing tools are updated regularly in the form of a testing suite along with Swift and Native iOS development. The Snapshot tests, the grouping of a test, and data-driven testing are mainly not added up in the Swift testing tool. 

Read the complete mobile app testing guide to have the clarity with process.

Flutter framework depends upon the robust testing framework that is an invaluable and key factor for testing. The developers add up all the test cases at the UI level that includes unit testing and functional testing. This includes the Widget testing that works as the standalone app element it is a great framework when it comes to the documentation. Along with this, it can run the test successfully.

Which One Is Better: Flutter vs Swift?

Comparing Flutter vs Swift is not an easy task, but you need to conclude several factors that get you the right outcomes. From development ethics to documentation, this guide will help you compare these technologies and get the right winner.

However, if we conclude everything, Flutter still needs some time to reach the maturity and popularity level like Swift programming language. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be considered for dynamically vast applications. Make your choice according to your project and objectives of the end-product.

Ashish Chauhan
Ashish Chauhan

Global Delivery Head at Appventurez

Ashish governs the process of software delivery operations. He ensures the end product attains the highest remarks in qualitative analysis and is streamlined to the clientele’s objectives. He has over a decade of experience as an iOS developer and teams mentorship.

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