Minimal Mac Setup For iOS Development

What is the best entry level Mac setup for iOS development? This is a common question on forums and blogs, for those that wish to begin iOS development but do not yet have a Mac system.

Of course the answer to that question depends on budget, but for someone just getting started, the most common goal is to start iOS development with the best bang for the buck system. Spend as little of your money as possible, but avoid frustrating wait times when compiling your code.

Coming from a Java development background, this is exactly where I was back in 2013. Let's take a look at what I recommend based on my own experience.

One caveat. If mobility is crucial for you, then you have little choice. Go for a MacBook Pro, but you'll need to buy used, or be willing to loosen the purse strings.

This post is targeted towards those that want to minimize cost while having a system that performs well and looks good on a desk. Apple is cool, so your system should be as well. Without further ado, here is my recommended setup.

Mac Mini

You can't go wrong with a Mac Mini. You are paying for the most minimal Mac system, but you get to choose what kind of display, keyboard, and mouse you want. Because it is just the unit without any peripherals, the price is fantastic (check the price in your area - US price shown below).

The beauty of this system is that it has very good resale value. If you find that you have embraced iOS development and want to step up to something more mobile and perhaps with a little more under the hood, you can sell it for an excellent price. There are always eager would-be iOS developers looking for such a system to get started.

iMac Like Display​

Do you want to spend as little as possible but still feel like you have a full Apple system? That was exactly my goal when I ventured into iOS development coming from the Java world.

An area of my office is the feature image for this post. I wanted the complete Apple office look, and it was important for me to have a slick, clean, and beautiful space that embraced Apple values. To achieve that, I wanted a monitor that would look as close to an iMac as possible.

After doing the research, I settled on the HP Pavilion 25Xi to pair with my Mac Mini. The newer 27 inch HP 27er model in the picture below is equally as sleek and awesome, and as an added bonus, is the same size as the 27 inch iMac!

For more details on this monitor, including side by side comparisons of my HP with the iMac, and side by side comparisons of a complete iMac system with my setup, take a look here on my blog and see how I enhanced my system to create a very powerful platform for mobile apps and graphics.

Clients and colleagues that have been in my office have asked if my display is made by Apple, and I've had many visitors comment that my office looks like an Apple store. This was exactly what I wanted to achieve.

If you want to become an iOS developer, and have been wondering about the minimal system to get started, I hope that this post will help with your decision.

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