Blog / iOS / Flutter vs Swift: Which One To Choose For iOS App Development

Flutter vs Swift: Which One To Choose For iOS App Development

Sitaram Sharma By Sitaram Sharma | November 25, 2019
swift vs flutter-ios-app-development

We are living in an era where mobile app is the basic necessity to evolve or digitalize the business. Imagine the time when targeting the potential customer was done through papers with no direct point of content. That bygone era has to be a part of many blunders for companies while losing so many customers.

However, mobile technology has made it a cakewalk for owners to be near their customers. It is an opportunity for business owners to interact with potential users and encash them. The owners can easily offer deals and products to the users with just a push notification.

Nevertheless, the profits and revenue are extremely attractive that has made companies opt for Android and iOS mobile app development. Many of the companies are actually targeting the iOS market for development due to its increase in growth and user preference.

This made them go for a hybrid app development process that is an ideal way to go for. But not everyone can go for such a platform due to limitations with the budget. The cost of iOS app development can go a bit higher with native development from scratch. It is not a practical choice that makes companies lookout for alternatives for development. 

Now the question arises “What language is used for iOS apps?”. There are several options in which companies can opt to reach new heights.

This makes developers blindly go for Flutter mobile app development for iOS and Android platforms. However, there is the option of Swift mobile app development that can confuse the companies while taking decisions.

To analyze all the aspects of Flutter Vs Swift to get the accurate answer for app development. So, know the right framework in the right way with the following difference structure. However, before starting with Swift Vs. Flutter, let us go through what Swift and Flutter actually are.

What is Swift?

One of the topmost programming languages that are famous in the iOS world is Swift. It is a language that iOS app developers prefer. Due to this, developers run for the native iOS development with the scope to grow.

It is modern, fast, type-safe, and great language that is adding up new features regularly to enhance the developer’s experience. The tech giant Apple offers several additions to the language such as documentation, exceptional tools, and frameworks to work with native tools easily.

What is Flutter?

Flutter, 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 mobile app development platform that is used for both the operating systems – 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.

Flutter Vs. Swift – Everything You Must Be Aware Of

Both the platform has its own sets of features, technologies, and frameworks that differs them from one another. In such a case, the complex applications must be built but we can’t compare them on the basis of apps.

Flutter Swift
Accessibility Xcode Accessibility inspector tool UIKit framework
App Size Around 52.4 MB Around 23.2 MB
Build Time 75% in 9 minutes A few minutes
Integration & Development No configuration for Continuous integration
Onboarding Process Flutter Binary Xcode Configuration
Reloading Hot Reload features Storyboard to rename
Testing & Documentation Unit, Functional, and Widget testing Data-driven, Snapshot, and Swift testing tool

#1 Accessibility

It is the major point that is all about the user experience for not only common man but disability as well. One must keep in mind that, the app must be accessible to everyone to give services to maximum people. In such a case, Flutter and Swift plays a vital role.

Swift is the UIKit framework-based app that doesn’t require any third-party framework importing. There is an Accessibility API offered by Apple that helps developers in the mobile app development process. However, the developers focus on accurate data sets for the components of UI. This can be achieved while using UIAccessibility Protocol. Through this, one can achieve identifiers, traits, and labels that use code. There are StoryBoard and Interface Builder options available to give information. 

Flutter is a bit different with no support to the accessibility. Instead, it depends upon Flutter documentation through which one can easily use the Accessibility inspector tool of Xcode to access iOS apps. However, it limits the addition of accessibility identifiers that are used in the testing process. 

#2 App Size

Swift and Flutter app development is an essential aspect that must be compared to get an accurate answer. 

Swift or Native iOS is a form of Xcode that work to add artifact from the CI server and data. The app uses the format or extension of the app to showcase the data directory. The binary size of the native apps made of swift is around 23.2 MB.

Flutter app development is a different form of app development platform. It usually generates the directory named build/ios/Debugiphonesimulator. Generally, the app size can go up to 52.4 MB that is bigger due to the assets and app icons.

#3 Built Time

The local machine configurations can be used for the development of iOS apps. This can impact the performance of the app due to which the continuous integration server is used. This includes the debug builds, testing, and other settings.

Swift app development is mainly about the demo app through which one can easily check on the documentation. This includes the testing phases that one must focus upon while running the build. The demo requires a minute and once done it can be followed up with downloading build and checking logs. The command used for the xcodebuild is:

$ defaults write com.apple.dt.Xcode ShowBuildOperationDuration -bool YES

Flutter is built differently since it will take a bit more than Swift. However, the app artifacts and built will be wrapped up for the development phase easily. There are sets of guidelines that one has to follow in order to develop the app via the Flutter platform for building the iOS debug and test phase. It uses the command for debug mode such as:

$ flutter build iOS –debug –no-codesign –simulator

#4 Integration & Development

The key practice that one has to follow up is to ensure that building for iOS apps can be a speedy process with a responsive and proactive approach. 

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 delivery the solution for the apps in the form of BuddyBuild that is not the perfect solution. 

On the other hand, Flutter has added up 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. 

#5 Onboarding Process

The distinct setup is the major part of both the platforms. The fact is that Flutter is developed on Dart programming language whereas Swift is all about the native iOS apps. This small different holds a different value in the onboarding process. The swift vs flutter performance widely depends upon its onboarding process. 

iOS app development is mainly about Xcode and native tools as the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This calls for the installation of Xcode and macOS device. All it needs is to start with Xcode as the Flie>New>Project>iOS Single View App. Once it is done, all a developer needs to do is name the app and then select programming language – Swift. This will build the code for the iOS template starting the development of the app. Once the simulator code is done, tap on the “Press Me” button.

Flutter iOS development is a bit different since it requires a Flutter binary. Along with this, IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio is preferable while setting it up. Once the setup procedure is done, the flutter app development command can come handy such as native-compare. 

$ flutter create native_compare

$ cd app_name

This command is used to get the description of the project and then apply the Flutter Raised Button Widget button in the lib/main.dart file. Then follow it up with the command $Flutter run to have an opening simulator for the app. 

#6 Reloading

The codes of any app is changed frequently for update or test on the device or simulator. The testing procedure is essential to add for mobile app development in the form of app reloading. 

In the case of renaming the name of the button, it is essential to rename the interface element in the accessibility and data from the storyboard. Then rebuild the app to check in the device or simulator for the change. This whole setup will hardly take 15 seconds. The iOS app development with swift can be done easily with a few simple steps.

Flutter app development is as per the Hot Reload features that can alter the app to the reload feasibility. This will take a few seconds to work on the simulator. The Raised Button widget is added upon the text update from Click Me or Press Me. 

#7 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. 

Flutter framework depends upon the robust testing system that is an invaluable and key factor for testing. The developers add up all the test cases in 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, 

Future of Swift and Flutter

The success of the application depends widely on the platform selected for the development process. There is no doubt that Swift is a major coding language that adds up the previous versions, Swift Package Manager and additions, & API improvement. It is extremely famous in the market with the adoption growth replacing Objective-C for iOS development scripting development. 

Flutter does not depend upon OEM widget, instead if pain everything to obtain results. This results in no gulping up of the development and designers’ work. This means that similar UI is used for Android and iOS to improve the viewing set. 

There is no answer to “ios apps are written in which language”. The truth is that both platforms are extremely important when it comes to mobile app development. The functionalities of the app are well covered in the platforms to obtain well-served apps. 

Trending Questions


1 – Can You Write An iOS App With Flutter

Yes, Flutter is an easy framework with APIs and iOS tooling that makes it simple to develop cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, web, and desktop.

2 – Is Flutter Better Than Native?

Many iOS app developers prefer to use Flutter over Swift due to its higher memory usage. However, we can’t decide which one is better due to their different requirements of usage.

3 – Is Flutter Good For iOS?

Yes, Flutter is a multi-platform and open-source SDK that can be a great way to focus on source code. On top of that, it is a cross-platform app development that makes it great for documentation as well.

Sitaram Sharma
Sitaram Sharma

Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect of Appventurez. A software professional who is highly experienced in Android, Flutter, React Native. He is a passionate developer with excellent programming skill who believes in bridging the technology gap and making the life of a large number of people much easier through his wide knowledge and experience.

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