/ Getting Started

181 iOS Developer and Productivity Tools (for beginners)

I couldn't make iPhone apps or coffee without these tools!

Here are 181 tools that I use on a daily basis to write Swift code, research API changes, design UI, edit graphics, write articles, take notes, and record videos with high quality audio.

iOS apps are multimedia productions and they require more than just code. I leverage YouTube to teach my customers, build an audience for my apps, and promote my apps (along with online tutorials).

Getting things done is super important when you work on iOS app development as a hobby, or even as a career. Taking notes, reviewing notes, and following up with people I meet are all incredibly important.

I'm including all of the tools that I use on a daily basis, since there's a lot of overlap between making iOS apps and making high quality videos—as you market your own apps (and your portfolio).

Many of the links below are available on Amazon with affiliate links. Any purchase you make help support Super Easy Apps, so that I can keep making online tutorials. For your ideal home office, don't buy your desk chair's through Amazon—you can get better deals locally!

Download 181 iOS Development and Productivity tools

181-ios-developer-tools-hero-medium

Mobile Office (i.e. Daily Backpack)

Being mobile is extremely important ever since I bought my first MacBook Pro in 2007 before working at Apple. I travel almost everywhere with my bag, MacBook Pro, iPad, frisbee, pour-over coffee, and a Moleskine notebook. Everything fits nicely in my North Face Recon backpack—I get a workout from carrying so much weight.

  1. MacBook Pro 2016 15" 2.9 GHz i7 1 TB HD - Amazing laptop, but I still need more space for video editing (Mac Pro is quieter)
  2. iPad Air 64GB - I love reading documentation and watching tech videos (WWDC videos)
  3. Red North Face Mens Recon Backpack - I travel everywhere with this bag
  4. Discraft 175g Ultra Star Disc - I travel everywhere with the best frisbee for ultimate, it fits in the bag's external pocket
  5. SpeedStick Ocean Surf Deodorant - I can't travel without deodorant with all my running/ultimate/walking
  6. EarPods - Backup headphones in case I forget AirPods
  7. Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone - For good audio in iPhone videos
  8. Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Plain - I love the paper and softcover
  9. Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3mm Black - These are my favorite pens
  10. Self Journal - I love this journal for tracking progress, being grateful, and inspiring quotes
  11. 8 Apple adapters (see below)
  12. Ear plugs for sleeping when traveling
  13. Gunnar Intercept Computer Glasses - For reducing eye strain on the computer
    1. These large computer glasses fit over my Warby Parker Verne glasses
  14. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug - Amazing coffee thermos that keeps things hot!
  15. 32 oz Nalgene Water Bottle - For water at work and at ultimate frisbee
  16. Manduka PRO Yoga Mat - For Yoga and stretching during the day
  17. Manduka Journey ON Commuter Yoga Mat Strap - For easy traveling to and from work

Pockets

My pockets are never empty. The iPhone 6S+ is still my goto iPhone, but I'm looking forward to an iPhone X in the near feature, along with an updated Apple Watch. The AirPods addition has been amazing for my long runs and walks where I listen to dozens of audio books on Audible and podcasts with Breaker.

  1. iPhone 6S+ - I need to upgrade to an iPhone X (recently had 6S+ battery replaced)
  2. Apple Leather Case - I love this case, but next time I may go non-leather
  3. Apple AirPods - Most convenient way to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and phone calls on my walks, runs, and my coding/writing
  4. Apple Watch 44mm Sport (1st Generation) - Great for runs, steps, and time (needs to be upgraded because its slow on watchOS 4)
  5. Slim Wallet - My current wallet (doesn't work well with checks)
  6. Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3mm Black - These are my favorite pens

iOS Development and Productivity Tools

Throughout the day I use a ton of tools, but the most important are Xcode, Multimarkdown, Github, and Evernote. With these tools I can brainstorm new ideas, take notes, and create new apps from scratch. My productivity is enhanced with utilities like TextExpander, Gmail shortcuts, PasteBot, Things, and 1Password. I manage projects with paper, Google Sheets, Manuscript, and Basecamp.

  1. Super Easy Timer - Easy to set countdown timer for Pomodoro technique (my 1st published Mac app)
  2. Xcode - One of the best IDEs with exceptional memory/thread diagnostic tools ... plus it let's you publish iOS and Mac apps (I love this better than Visual Studio from my C++/C# days)
  3. Evernote - My app notes, daily writing, ideas, 2nd brain (see Tiago's productivity course), swipe files, inspiration, and archive of anything important
  4. Multimarkdown Composer - My favorite Mac app for writing blog posts, my daily log, and readme's in Markdown
  5. Marked 2 - For exporting Markdown to PDF or HTML
  6. Terminal - For anything command line on Mac (See Terminal Tools)
  7. SourceTree - For visual Git, branches, and code reviews
  8. TextMate - My main editor outside of Xcode for Bash scripts, Octave, Python, HTML, Javascript, and CSS
  9. TextExpander - Type shortcuts to expand into emails, links, etc. (Extremely useful)
  10. PasteBot - Remembers the last few pastes, so I can paste multiple things in one go (Extremely useful)
  11. 1Password (Password safe) - 1Password is far better than Safari Keychain (Use it, don't reuse passwords, auto-generate them)
  12. Display Menu - A friend from Apple makes this app, and I use it to quickly change resolutions for screen casting
  13. Gmail - Keyboard shortcuts are why I still use Gmail to host all my email (it's fast!)
  14. Ghost - My favorite blogging platform (Simple design)
    1. New Super Easy Apps Blog
  15. Github - My goto code repository for projects and online backup
    1. Follow me on GitHub
    2. GitFlow - For using Git on a team
  16. Schedule Once - For quickly getting clients and students to schedule meetings without going back and forth via email
  17. Manuscript - For tracking bugs, features, and work items for iOS/Mac apps
    1. Watch how I use Manuscript
    2. Read how I use Manuscript
  18. Pickle CRM - For keeping track of customer interactions (my friend Matt makes it)
  19. Basecamp - Good tool for collaborative projects with designers and team members (Daily check-in is nice!)
  20. Trello - For public and private todo lists (topic and feature requests)
  21. Google Sheets - For calculations, collaboration, todo lists (easy project management pre-Manuscript)
  22. Google Docs - For writing, copy/paste to ConvertKit, collaborating
  23. Numbers - For local .csv editing
  24. Pages - For local writing, invoices, PDFs (Better than Word, but less compatible with rest of Word-world)
  25. Keynote - Better than PowerPoint (I used to make crazy animated slides for programming demos)
  26. Logic Pro X - For podcast and audio exporting
  27. Word (Office 365) - For writing articles for InfoWorld and non-Apple collaborators
  28. Skype - For easy 1-on-1 video chat
  29. Google Hangouts - For easy meetings when creating events in Google Calendar
  30. Dash - For code documentation, better than Xcode search
  31. Things - For my todo list synced to iPhone

iOS Design Tools

Sketch has changed my iOS app design world. It's much more user friendly than Photoshop or Illustrator and allows me to quickly create assets for iPhone/iPad resolutions (1x, 2x, 3x). IconKit saves me time exporting icon sizes for my app icons, and paper is still my go-to brain storming tool with mind maps, sketches, and concepts.

  1. Sketch - My favorite vector and iOS app mockup tool (easy to export to Xcode)
  2. IconKit - For easy iOS, macOS, watchOS app icon exporting (Live preview for Mac app icons)
  3. Icon Set Creator - An alternative app icon exporting tool
  4. Photoshop - For working with photos, image effects, and mockups
  5. Illustrator - For working with designers (I prefer Sketch, and struggle with Illustrator)
  6. Printer paper
  7. Whiteboard

Daily iOS Apps

These are the apps that I use on a daily or weekly basis. Two of the apps are mine, and the rest are apps that I don't think I could live without and accomplish as much as I do. Health and fitness are important to me, ever since I dropped from 184 pounds down to 130 pounds. I am constantly learning on my walks and runs with podcasts and audio books, most of the time at 1.5x to 2x speeds.

  1. Brew Coffee app - For pour-over coffee recipes on Hario V60 and Chemex
    1. The app is in closed beta right now, but you can request access: Paul@BrewCoffeeApp.com
  2. Breaker - For podcasts with social features for discovering new episodes (at 1.5x - 2x speeds)
  3. Things - For peace of mind and easy entry of all my todo list tasks (Syncs to iPad + Mac)
  4. Evernote - For almost all my note taking (my second brain)
  5. Apple Notes - For short notes (faster to load than Evernote)
  6. Audible - For listening to audio books at 1.5x - 2x speeds
  7. Pro Metronome - For running at 180 - 195 bpm cadence (20 minute training for lower impact runs)
  8. Calm - For meditating, focus music, and reducing stress (10 minute muscle relaxation helps me sleep more soundly)
  9. 1Password - For password syncing
  10. Wunderground - For weather (Faster than Weather Channel adware)
  11. 7 Minute Workout - For cross training 3x week with only bodyweight
  12. Health Mate - Syncs my Withings (Nokia) body weight scale (I used to love the steps leaderboards, but Nokia broke features)
  13. TestFlight - For all my iPhone app beta tests
  14. Artwork Evolution - For abstract art backgrounds

Terminal Tools

As you work with apps you'll need to learn how to use the Terminal. These are my primary tools that I work with on Terminal, along with many other little utilities that you'd find in a command-line textbook. I still prefer to use git on the command line for no-fast-forward merges (so I can see the branches in SourceTree), plus it re-enforces the commands so I don't forget them.

  1. Git - Version control software for doing GitFlow merges (no fast forward)

     git merge --no-ff --no-commit FeatureBranchName
    
    1. GitFlow - A process for using Git on a team
  2. Cocoapods - Dependency manager for iOS/Mac apps with automatic Xcode project setup

  3. Carthage - Dependency manager for iOS/mac apps (requires manually Xcode project setup)

  4. Homebrew - For installing tools

  5. MacPorts - For installing tools (Mostly use Homebrew now)

  6. Python - For quick and easy terminal programs

  7. Bash - For scripting commands

  8. CMake - For compiling cross-platform C++ projects (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Apple Adapters (Almost All Travel With Me in My Backpack)

It would be nice to not need adapters, but we're still in a world with many different connectors. Until all adapters unify to something like USB-C (hopefully more flexible), I'm going to be carrying these adapters every where I go in my backpack.

  1. 2x Apple USB-C to HDMI Digital AV Multiport Adapter - For USB-C Power, HDMI, Logitech G502 Mouse, and projectors
  2. 3x Apple USB-C to USB - For USB-2 Hub + Logitech Mouse + USB2 drives
  3. 2x Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 - For ThunderBay 4 External Storage + Thunderbolt 27" monitor Thunderbolt (mini-DVI)
  4. Anker USB-C to Ethernet - Used when fixing AirPort Extreme and bad Wifi
  5. Apple Lightning to HDMI - Used for iPhone/iPad to projectors/displays at exhibits
  6. Apple Lightning to VGA - Used for projectors
  7. 2x Apple USB-C Charging Cable (2m) - I travel with one, one at work office
  8. 2x Apple USB-C Power Adapter for MacBook Pro 15" - I travel with one, one at work office

Home Office

My home office has an awesome retina 5K monitor along with the newest Apple Keyboard and Magic TrackPad 2. I always dual wield a trackpad on my left hand and a wired mouse on my right hand.

  1. LG UltraFine 27 inch 5K Monitor - Gorgeous retina display, but less user friendly compared to Thunderbolt 27" (Looking forward to new Apple displays)
  2. Logitech G502 Wired Mouse - Great, comfortable wired mouse for Xcode, Sketch UI design, and games (downside: cable frays and fabric needs to be cut to prevent crimping)
  3. Apple Magic Trackpad 2 - I love this updated trackpad, easy to recharge
  4. Apple Magic Keyboard - I love this updated keyboard, easy to recharge
  5. Logitech G502 Wired Mouse - I need wired for games and editing Storyboard files (bluetooth lags)
  6. Razer Mousepad - Good mousepad
  7. Rain Design mStand Laptop Stand, Silver - I love this for my MacBook Pro 15" 2016
  8. Airport Extreme (5th Generation) - Apple discontinued, but mine still works

Home Desk

The IKEA desk is what I've used since I started my 2nd year at RIT. It's a great desk and the Embody chair is a great chair. The footrest helps, since I'm short and improves my posture.

  1. IKEA Jerker (Discontinued) - Great configurable desk with lots of depth
  2. Herman Miller Embody Chair - Good office chair, less customizability than my work office chair below (Best price through local distributor)
  3. Kensington Footrest - Best footrest for desk posture (you need firm, not squishy, and no wheels!)

Pour Over Coffee (I'm a Coffee Snob)

I'll admit that I'm a coffee snob. I've been hooked ever since one of my friends introduced me to Hario V60. Having an amazing local coffee roaster, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, has made coffee a daily ritual. I am working to improve the home brewing experience with my Brew Coffee recipe app. It's been a four year journey into coffee, and I'm excited to launch the app in the coming year after all my research.

  1. Brew Coffee app (Invite only beta for iPhone) - My upcoming recipe app for Chemex and Hario V60
    1. The app is in closed beta right now, but you can request access: Paul@BrewCoffeeApp.com
  2. Virtuoso Baratza Grinder - An amazing pour-over coffee grinder (way better than Bodum Bistro)
  3. Hario V60 01 (Ceramic) - For my daily coffee since 2012
  4. Hario V60 01 Filters - Filters for smaller Hario V60
  5. Hario Carafe (Glass) - A great carafe for coffee (includes a lid)
  6. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug - Amazing on-the-go thermos that keeps things hot!
  7. Hario Gooseneck Kettle - For pouring water when I make Chemex, Hario, or bread (modded for thermometer)
  8. CDN Thermometer - Great coffee thermometer that can be easily re-calibrated (fits into modded kettle)
  9. 6-Cup Chemex - Amazing coffee and larger batch (easier than V60)
  10. Chemex 6-Cup Filters - Filters for Chemex (rinse before brewing)
  11. Hario V60 02 Kit (Red) - For alternate brew method from Scott Rao
  12. Hario V60 02 Filters - For alternate brew method from Scott Rao
  13. OXO Good Grips Tea Kettle - For heating water at home on the stove
  14. Proctor Silex 1 Liter Electric Kettle - For heating water at work or when traveling with my "coffee corner"

Work Office

I'm still using and loving my Thunderbolt 27" monitor. I wish Apple actually made the 5K monitor (which is in the works) instead of LG, since the Thunderbolt is very reliable. Before my 2016 MacBook Pro, my 2013 Mac Pro was my goto video editing and streaming Mac. The ThunderBay provides my video backups and is super fast in a RAID array.

Standing-Desk-iOS-Developer-Mac

  1. Thunderbolt 27" Display - My work office display (unfortunately it's still non-retina)
  2. Mac Pro 8 Core 2013 - My live streaming and backup Mac for video rendering (very quiet under load, unlike the 2016 MacBook Pro)
  3. 11-Outlet Surge Protector APC SurgeArrest - Helps protect computer equipment
  4. OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID External Storage - My video backup drives in RAID 0 scratch and RAID 6 Backup
  5. 4x 3TB Toshiba 3.5-Inch Hard Drives - Inside the ThunderBay 4 RAID
  6. Apple Wireless Keyboard (AA Battery) - I use it at work, but I want to upgrade
  7. Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad (AA Battery) - I use at work office (want to upgrade)
  8. Apple AA Battery Charger
  9. Logitech G502 Wired Mouse - Great, comfortable wired mouse for Xcode, Sketch UI design, and games (downside: cable frays and fabric needs to be cut to prevent crimping)
  10. Razer Mousepad - Good mousepad
  11. Airport Extreme (5th Generation) - Apple discontinued, but mine still works

Work Desk

I love my office because it's a space away from home that I've been able to record my videos, write articles, and create iPhone apps. I use a standing desk that is motorized, which allows me to sit and stand throughout the day. More importantly, I like to stand while recording screencasts. The Very Task Chair is excellent, I enjoy it more than the Embody, largely due to the ability to pull-in closer to my desk with it's customizable arm rests.

  1. UpDesk Motorized Standing Desk (Large 72" x 30") - Standing during recordings and on/off during workday
  2. Haworth Very Task Chair - Best office chair with lots of customizability (Better than Embody, buy through local distributor for best price)
  3. Herman Miller Embody Chair - Good office chair, less customizability (Best price through local distributor)
  4. Kensington Footrest - Best footrest (you need firm, not squishy, and no wheels!)

YouTube + Screencast Audio/Video Equipment

I use a ton of high quality audio equipment, and am a huge fan of the way I sound on the RE320 microphone. When I started, I borrowed a lot of microphones, but I never liked how I sounded. That changed with the RE320.

  1. RE320 Microphone - I love the bass and pickup on this microphone
  2. Electro-Voice 309A Shock Mount - Great for removing desk noise from high-quality microphone
  3. dbx 286s Channel Strip - removes background noise when I'm not talking
  4. ZED 10 Allen & Heath USB Mixer - I use this for my USB in from RE-320 + dbx 286s + shotgun microphone
  5. Whirlwind Micmute Foot Pedal XLR - I can mute audio with my foot (when I sneeze)
  6. Logitech Webcam C920 - My primary web camera mounted on a boom
    1. Using the JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom Head + Boom
  7. NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom - For mounting my Logitech 920 webcam behind my 27" Thunderbolt display (great for on-camera or table top demos)
  8. Furman M-8Dx Power Conditioner - My audio equipment is plugged in to prevent audio glitches + noise
  9. Canon 5D DSLR - For amazing photos (But I need a Canon 80D for better video with live auto-focus)
  10. Canon G40 Video Camera - For recording live workshops
  11. SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod - For my DSLR or video camera
  12. Zoom H6 Portable Recorder - For recording high quality audio with external microphone inputs
  13. Monoprice XLR and 1/4" cables - For connecting audio equipment
  14. Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder - For reducing grease/shine on video
  15. JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom Flexible Tripod - Using the head with the Logitech C920 + Microphone Boom for video
  16. JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit Professional Tripod 5K Stand and Ball Head 5K - I use this for my DSLR + Video Camera
  17. Glif (Studio Neat) - I love this iPhone tripod mount and handle
  18. Logitech Webcam C930e (wide angle lens) - I was using for overhead/shots on a tripod
  19. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Microphone - I'm not using anymore for audio, it picks up too much of the room
  20. Sony MDR-7506 Professional Headphones - My primary studio monitor headphones (Can get tiring to wear, and they shock my ears in the dry winter months)

Audio/Video Mac Apps

  1. ScreenFlow - I use for all my screen casts on Mac
  2. Handbrake - For compressing my videos (Faster and smaller videos than Compressor in my tests)
  3. SoftRAID - Software for the ThunderBay RAID
  4. Final Cut Pro - For video editing with hardware acceleration
  5. Compressor - For compressing videos (Rarely use, I use Handbrake)
  6. Wirecast - I've tried this a few times for live events (I rarely use it)
  7. Google Hangouts - I can setup a custom company link for easy meetings
  8. YouTube Live (Live Streaming)
  9. Webcam Settings - For tweaking zoom/pan of webcam (saves multiple settings for standing/sitting)
  10. QuickTime - For live video display in top left corner when doing iOS simulator screencasts
  11. FaceTime - For live video display in top left corner during screencasts

Business Operations

Since 2010 (8+ years) I have run my own company building iPhone apps, teaching online courses, launching Kickstarter projects, and selling digital products. I've invested in tons of tools, and the ones that I still use are the ones that are easy to use.

  1. YouTube - Easy video publishing (12k+ subscribers)
  2. ConvertKit - For Super Easy Apps email list
  3. Mailchimp - For Brew Coffee's email list
  4. Squarespace - Easy website and blog publishing
    1. Brew Coffee - Brew better pour over coffee
    2. Super Easy Apps - Make iPhone apps
  5. Zapier - Helps connect tools together
  6. Deadline Funnel - Countdown timers for email and product launches
  7. TypeForm - Quick and easy surveys
  8. Teachable - online course sales and hosting
    1. Super Easy Apps Courses - iPhone app, design, and Swift programming courses
  9. Dropbox - backup all my lecture notes, documents, and files
  10. Photos for macOS - Backup all my iPhone and DSLR photos
  11. Demio - Painless webinars (nice webinar replays and automation over Google Hangouts)
  12. Zoom - Webinars + Group video chat
  13. Loom - Quick bug report captures or customer tutorials
  14. LeadPages - For landing pages and opt-in forms
  15. KingSumo - For giveaways
  16. Sumo - For email list growth tools on websites
  17. SamCart - For product landing pages and sales
  18. Hover - For domains (My preferred domain website)
  19. Namecheap - For older domains that I own (I now prefer Hover)

Super Easy Apps is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Paul Solt

Paul Solt

I love food, 3rd-wave coffee, plant-based whole food, cooking, baking bread, trail running, iOS, frisbee, and Australian Shepherds @SuperEasyApps @BrewCoffeeApp

Read More