What is Swift?


It's modern

Swift was developed from scratch by Apple engineers and is steeped in recent language and compiler advancements. It showcases a number of exciting and welcome language features.


It's fun

Swift was designed to have a low barrier to entry. The core syntax is simple and clean, and can be run in an environment called a Playground, an interactive programming environment that immediately displays the results of your code.


It's growing

Swift is rapidly becoming one of the most-loved and most-used languages by developers. As the future of iOS development, usage will only continue to increase.


It's modern


The creators of Swift have had the the benefit of watching many languages grow and mature. They were able to draw on years of experience of programming in many different languages, picking the best features from each. Some specific modern features of Swift include:

  • Type Interface: Any time you declare a variable implicitly, Swift automatically infers its type at compile time. It does this by scanning your code and determining the best type based on how you use the variable.
  • Closure: Closures are stand-alone blocks of functionality that can be used throughout your code. Dependent on the context in which they’re used, closures contain references to variables and constants.
  • Generics: Generics allow you to create one function for multiple inputs. This means you can cut down on duplicate code, making your program more concise and efficient.
  • Tuples: Tuples allow you to store compound values in a single variable.

It's fun

left quote

I hope that by making programming more approachable and fun, we'll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how Computer Science is taught.

Chris Lattner
Creator of Swift
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One of the coolest things about Swift is the ability to program in interactive playgrounds. These playgrounds show the results of the code you write in real-time. Not only is this useful for developers experimenting with new frameworks or libraries, it’s also incredibly useful for those learning how to program.


It's growing

Apple has made it clear that Swift is the future of iOS and OS X programming. As a result, an increasing number of developers and companies are picking up the language and porting their apps.

In January 2015, Wired and Fortune reported on the growth of developer interest in Swift as defined by the amount of code generated on GitHub and the number of questions being asked on StackOverflow. The original data can be found in the full report of RedMonk’s 2015 Programming Language Rankings.

In the 2015 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, developers listed Swift as their most loved language to program in.

Get Started

To get started using Swift, you'll need to download Xcode on a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later.

Note: We recommend downloading the most recent stable (non-beta) version. Course material and tutorials are not guaranteed to be updated for changes to the Swift language in beta releases. We are human and can only do so much!

Once Xcode has downloaded and installed (this can take a while), the easiest way to get started with Swift is to create a new Playground, which you can do right from the launch screen.
Launch Xcode Playground
This will create a new file with the extension “.playground” with which you can start experimenting with Swift. It’s also the easiest way to get started with Swift as a language. While you also have the option to create a new Xcode project, this provides the infrastructure necessary to create an iOS app. While iOS app development certainly uses Swift, it’s more difficult to get used to the language syntactically this way.


Project Make your first iPhone app
Take the first step in becoming an iOS Developer by learning about Swift and writing your first app.
Learn how to incorporate networking into your apps to access data from around the world. Build the On the Map app to share location and fun links with fellow students.

Useful Resources

Get Started

Swift Fundamentals

An introductory lesson on the basics of the Swift language.

Swifty App

This app teaches you how to program in Swift on your iPhone or iPad. You can try the first chapter for free, and unlock all chapters for $2.99.

Apple Developer Resources

A collection of Swift articles, tutorials, and videos, cultivated by Apple.

iOS Resources

Udacity's iOS Developer Resources List

Our collection of the best Swift and iOS resources to follow.

Apple’s Swift Blog

Apple’s official Swift blog keeps you up-to-date on language updates, as well as shares tips and techniques for making the most of the language.


Building Your First Swift App

This six minute video from Apple will show you how to create your own image filter app in Swift.

A Better Way to Learn Swift

Thinkful has collected resources from all over the web, from Apple’s ebook The Swift Programming Language to articles on NSHipster, designed to help you learn Swift with the best tutorials for each concept.

Swift Programming from Scratch in 100 Exercises

Designed for people with no programming experience, these text-based tutorials take you from zero to hero when it comes to coding in Swift.



Quora is a great place to ask questions as well as share your own knowledge and experiences.

Apple Developer Forums

Open only to Apple Developers, these free forums are a great place to ask questions and find answers to your Swift questions.


Many Swift developers visit Stackoverflow to ask & answer questions.

Code tricks & examples

Shortcuts in Xcode

Code more efficiently with these Xcode shortcuts.

Think Like a Designer

As developers, we often only think about the code we’re writing. But iOS development also requires a good design. This site will help you start thinking like a designer.


Swift Cheatsheet and Quick Reference

This (pdf) cheatsheet from Ray Wenderlich contains the most important Swift syntactical elements.