Flutter vs Swift: Which Technology is Best to Develop an iOS App?

Published On: April 20, 2023
Last Updated: December 22, 2023
Flutter vs Swift: Which Technology is Best to Develop an iOS App?

iOS devices have gained immense popularity due to their exceptional performance and highly functional features, making them highly appealing to consumers.

Entrepreneurs recognize the potential of iOS app development as a valuable asset to enhance their businesses. But, when developing iOS apps, choosing the right technology stack is crucial.

As a leading iOS app development company with years of experience in developing iOS apps, two of the most popular options are Flutter and Swift. Flutter is a cross-platform mobile app development framework developed by Google, while Swift is a programming language developed by Apple specifically for iOS app development.

Both technologies have their own unique features and benefits, making it a challenging decision for businesses and startup owners to choose between them.

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So, whether you are a business owner looking to develop an app from scratch or a startup looking to build a minimum viable product, this blog post will provide valuable insights to help you make the right choice. We will explore both technologies’ features, advantages, and limitations and discuss which is best suited for specific project requirements.

So let’s delve into the world of Flutter and Swift and discover which technology best fits your iOS app development needs.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source UI toolkit for building natively compiled mobile, web, and desktop applications using a single codebase. It was developed by Google and was first released in May 2017.

Flutter uses the Dart programming language and provides a rich set of pre-built widgets and tools that make creating beautiful and responsive user interfaces easier. You can hire flutter developers who can help you create apps for both iOS and Android platforms using the same codebase, thereby reducing development time and costs.

Flutter has recently gained popularity due to its simplicity, flexibility, and fast development cycles. It is considered one of the top 4 mobile app development frameworks. There are over 24 thousand Flutter apps and 11 Billion downloads.

However, being awarded as a top flutter app development company we can say that Flutter is an excellent choice for businesses and startups looking to build high-quality, cross-platform mobile apps. You can leverage this powerful technology without compromising performance and user experience.

Key Features of Flutter

Here’s a bit more detail on each of them:

Hot Reload: Flutter’s hot reload feature allows developers to make changes to the code, and it instantly reflects on the UI without having to restart the app. It speeds up the development process and helps developers to correct errors faster.

Cross-Platform Development: Flutter enables developers to write a single codebase for iOS and Android platforms, saving development time and costs. UI itself is shareable, in addition to sharing the code, which makes maintenance much easier than different codes for different platforms.

Widget Library: Flutter’s widget library provides a rich set of pre-built widgets that allow developers to create beautiful and responsive user interfaces. The widget library is highly customizable and extensible, making it easy for developers to create unique and distinctive app designs. Examples include the Cupertino pack and Material Design.

Open-Source: Flutter is an open-source framework, meaning it is free to use and has a large and active community of developers contributing to its development. This makes it a flexible and constantly evolving framework.

Native Performance: Flutter apps are natively compiled, which means they can run at native speeds on both iOS and Android platforms. It can easily incorporate third-party integrations and APIs for app development. This results in high performance and smooth user experiences.

Advantages of Flutter Over Swift

  • Faster development with hot reload
  • Cross-platform development for iOS and Android
  • A rich set of pre-built customizable widgets
  • Open-source with a large and active developer community
  • Versatile enough to support the development of web and desktop applications
  • A large number of third-party packages are available
  • Cost-effective development
  • Built-in testing and debugging tools

Overall, Flutter’s advantages make it a popular choice for companies looking to develop high-quality mobile apps quickly and efficiently with excellent performance and beautiful user interfaces. Read Flutter advantages in detail.

After knowing the benefits of Flutter, let’s see some examples of popular apps that have been built using this framework.

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Examples of Popular Apps Built With Flutter

Here are some examples of popular apps built with Flutter:

  • Google Ads
  • Stadia
  • BMW
  • Xianyu by Alibaba
  • Dream11
  • Realtor.com
Examples of Popular Apps Built With Flutter

These are just a few examples of the many successful apps that have been built using Flutter. Check out our article on Flutter app examples to learn more about it.

Now, let’s see detailed information about Swift.

What is Swift?

Swift is a programming language developed by Apple Inc. in 2014. It was designed to work with Apple’s frameworks and operating systems, such as iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Swift code is compiled into machine-readable code before being executed. It is known for its simplicity, readability, and ease of use, making it a powerful language for building iOS apps.

It also has a rich set of built-in libraries and frameworks that make it easy to perform common tasks, such as working with user interfaces, networking, and data storage.

This can be especially beneficial for apps that require real-time data processing or need to handle large amounts of data.

Businesses and startups looking to build iOS apps can also consider using Swift for their app development needs.

Key Features of Swift

Automatic Reference Counting (ARC): Swift uses Automatic Reference Counting to manage memory, which automatically frees up unused memory when objects are no longer needed. This makes memory management much easier and safer for swift developers.

Closures unified with function pointers: Swift makes it easy to work with closures, which are self-contained blocks of functionality that can be passed around and used in different parts of code. Closures can be used in place of function pointers, making Swift more efficient and powerful.

Tuples: Swift allows developers to return multiple values from a function using tuples. This can help simplify code and make it easier to read and understand.

Powerful Generics: Swift’s generics support type constraints and associated types, allowing for greater code flexibility and reusability.

Structs that support methods, extensions, and protocols: Swift’s struct type can have methods, extensions, and protocols, which makes it similar to a class but with value semantics. This makes it easy to write both efficient and easy-to-read code.

Native error handling built-in: Swift has built-in support for error handling using try/catch/throw syntax. This makes it easier to write code that handles errors and prevents unexpected crashes.

Source and binary compatibility: Swift is designed to be source and binary compatible, which means that code written in older versions of Swift can be used with newer versions without requiring significant changes.

Debugging: Swift has powerful debugging features, such as interactive debugging with Xcode and LLDB, which makes it easy to identify and fix issues in code.

Overall, these features make Swift a powerful and flexible language for building iOS mobile apps and other software. Now, let’s have a look at the advantages of Swift.

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Benefits of Swift In Comparison to Flutter

  • Safer code to prevent common programming errors.
  • Work seamlessly with Objective-C and C code interoperability
  • Faster than interpreted languages like Python or JavaScript
  • Swift is widely available as it is an open-source language
  • Swift is compatible with all of Apple’s platforms, Linux support, Windows, and Ubuntu

After knowing these benefits, it is evident why Swift is a popular choice because it provides a competitive benefit, enabling businesses to adapt to changing market demands and innovate more quickly. You can hire Swift developers to build high-performance, scalable, and secure iOS apps for your business.

Now let’s move on to see a few examples of popular apps that make their way to success by using Swift.

Examples of Popular Apps Built With Swift

Here are some examples of popular apps that were built using Swift:

  • Airbnb
  • Lyft
  • LinkedIn
  • Slack
  • Uber
  • Zomato
Examples of Popular Apps Built With Swift

Flutter vs. Swift: Which One to Choose?

Flutter and Swift are both popular platforms used for developing iOS apps, and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Here is a detailed comparison factors to help you decide which one to choose:

Development Time

Flutter allows developers to build apps quickly with UI widgets and tools. With the hot reload feature, developers can instantly see the changes made in code and add new features easily. It significantly speeds up the development time.

On the other hand, Swift allows developers to code fast, but it may take more time to reflect the errors and fix bugs every time changes are made.

Performance

Flutter frameworks offer cross-platform functionality with better cost efficiency. It uses a layered architecture that reduces the overhead of platform-specific APIs, resulting in better performance.

Flutter uses a Dart garbage collector, which is compiled Ahead of Time (AoT) that allows quick communication with the device. So it’s a good choice, as Flutter will perform equally well as Swift.

Swift being the native language for iOS apps, offers greater efficiency and helps deliver fast and reliable applications.

Swift is a viable option in terms of performance when it comes to involving tasks with massive computation power requirements. It produces highly optimized code with a rich set of system APIs, so Swift may be the better choice when it comes to juicing out the platform.

User Interface (UI)

UI in Flutter offers a set of widgets and tools to build customizable and responsive UIs. They are also customizable as per the application design requirements. To begin with, Material and Cupertino widgets are popular. Also, Flutter has a flexible layout system that allows developers to build complex UIs easily.

However, Swift is an iOS native language, so there will be no issues in implementing any native iOS feature. When it comes to iOS app development, the user experience will be completely iOS-type.

Swift is a highly customizable and responsive UI kit framework that shows various components like buttons, labels & more to suit the application design requirements. In addition to that, developers have to create every UI part from scratch.

Community Support and Resources

Both frameworks have blooming communities and extensive codebases that provide developers with ample resources, support and guidance for mobile app development.

Flutter has a rapidly growing community of developers. Also, Google provides regular updates to the framework, which ensures it is updated with the latest trends. Developers can access packages and tutorials to speed up their development process.

Swift has a large community and support system, with Apple providing regular updates. Developers can access tutorials, third-party packages, and more. Also, Swift Package Manager enables managing dependencies within Swift projects which will be easier for developers to build and maintain apps easily.

Third-party Integration

Flutter provides a rich set of third-party libraries and tools, which make it easier to integrate various functionalities into the app. Flutter’s integration with Firebase is the most considerable benefit.

Swift also has many system APIs that help build efficient iOS applications. It provides various third-party libraries, tools, and Xcode IDE for iOS app development.

Application Size

Flutter apps tend to have huge file sizes due to the framework’s architecture. It includes a self-contained rendering engine & a set of customizable widgets responsible for rendering the UI and handling input events. This is compiled into the app binary, which results in a large file size.

However, Flutter provides tree-shaking and dead-code elimination techniques that reduce the final app size. Developers also use other techniques like code splitting to reduce the size.

On the contrary, Swift applications have smaller file sizes as they don’t need a rendering engine. It also offers a variety of optimization options, such as whole-module and link-time optimization. However, apps that use third-party libraries may contain large file sizes due to additional dependencies required.

Platform Specific Requirements

Flutter is designed to be a cross-platform development framework used to create apps for multiple platforms, including iOS, Android and the web. This approach limits the extent to which developers can leverage iOS-specific features, but it makes it easier to develop and maintain apps for multiple platforms. If the project requires a consistent user experience across multiple platforms, Flutter is the best choice.

On the other hand, Swift is a language specifically designed for iOS app development. It can take full advantage of iOS-specific features & frameworks such as 3D Touch, Touch ID, and Siri integration. If a project requires full access to iOS-specific features, Swift is a good option.

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Flutter vs Swift: A Quick Comparison Table

Factors Flutter Swift
Release in 2017 2014
Developed by Google Apple
Open Source Yes Yes
UI Builders Flutter UI Toolkit Swift UI
Cross-platform capability Yes No
App Reloading Real time changes are faster due to its hot reloading feature Allows making real time changes but relatively slower
IDE Used Visual Code, Android Studio, IntelliJ Xcode
Development Time Fast Relatively Slower
Integration Tools like Nevercode Tools like Jenkins
Application Size Large Flexible
Budget Consideration Budget-friendly Expensive
Testing In-built Testing Support XCTest native testing tool
Examples

Google Ads

Realtor.com

Airbnb

Uber

How to Choose the Best Framework?

By following these best practices, you can make an informed decision between Flutter and Swift for your project.

  • Analyze the app’s specific requirements, such as platform-specific features, complexity & performance expectation.
  • Consider the timeline & cost of the project
  • Evaluate performance and user experience
  • Think about long-term maintenance and updates for the app.
  • Consider the long-term scalability

Overall, the decision between Flutter and Swift depends on the project’s specific requirements. It is a complex process to analyze all the relevant factors. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a mobile app development company who has experience with both technologies.

They provide you with valuable insights and help determine which one is suited best for specific project requirements.

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Conclusion

We hope that you have understood the difference between Flutter and Swift and the factors that need to be considered when choosing between them for iOS app development. Both technologies have their unique strengths and weaknesses, and it’s essential to evaluate project requirements carefully before making a decision.

In brief, Flutter is a great option for projects that require cross-platform development with a fast development time & effective cost. On the other hand, Swift is a better choice for projects requiring native iOS-specific features and optimized performance and speed.

Regardless of which technology you choose, it’s important to work with a team of experts who can provide guidance and support throughout the app development process. At Guru TechnoLabs, we offer mobile app development services for both Flutter and Swift, and our team of experts can help you create a successful iOS app that meets your project requirements.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you build a top-quality iOS app that meets your specific needs.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.