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Question: What are the minimum system requirements for xcode

Hello, i am new to mac but and very interested in the development of apps and such through swift and Xcode. What are the minimum system requirements for the building of apps?


Would a 2010 MacBok with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4 GB (or whatever it caps at) RAM running Yosemite work? or will it be terrible laggy and a bad choice?


The price is right for it but will it work with the latest Xcode smoothly?

MacBook, OS X Yosemite (10.10)

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Jul 11, 2015 10:04 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Probably, Xcode is mostly a text editor and should in itself not be particularly CPU heavy.


The CPU is mostly used when compiling a full app or individual source code files.


Some background CPU usage is also done to support interactive features like getting warnings for mistyped code and to support auto-completion.


I use Xcode on an old 2008 MacPro (tower) for writing Objective-C code, this works fine. The Intel Core 2.4 is a bit slower, but still in the same ballpark, so it should probably work fine as well.

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Jul 11, 2015 5:53 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

You will typically want to use the most recent version of Xcode (currently 6.4), to avoid issues with code signing and App Store uploads. This also ensures that you use the most recent version of Swift (which is still rapidly changing). You may consider running the Xcode 7 beta for access to the absolutely most recent (and still buggy) version of Swift. You will probably need a paid developer account to access this version.


The latest version of Xcode usually requires the current version of OSX, so your hardware will need to be supported.


I would generally recommend at least 8GB RAM so that you have some headroom for running Xcode, Instruments (the Xcode profiling tool) and the app your developing. A large external display (or two) is also nice to be able to see more stuff at the same e.g. the app window + debugger + Instruments.

Jul 11, 2015 5:53 PM

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Jul 11, 2015 10:04 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Probably, Xcode is mostly a text editor and should in itself not be particularly CPU heavy.


The CPU is mostly used when compiling a full app or individual source code files.


Some background CPU usage is also done to support interactive features like getting warnings for mistyped code and to support auto-completion.


I use Xcode on an old 2008 MacPro (tower) for writing Objective-C code, this works fine. The Intel Core 2.4 is a bit slower, but still in the same ballpark, so it should probably work fine as well.

Jul 11, 2015 10:04 PM

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Jul 12, 2015 11:58 AM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Hello RandomGuy73,

That would be good to know if it were correct. Current versions of Xcode are very processor intensive. In one sense, it is mostly a text editor - a text editor that recompiles the file you are editing with each keystroke. 🙂


I would recommend against buying any used Mac. You don't want someone else's problems. Get a new machine. The base configuration on new machines is just barely able to run the OS with exactly zero 3rd party applications. And yes, I most especially mean Chrome. Do not run Chrome on a 4 GB machine.


Get the fastest machine with the biggest display that you can afford. 8 GB RAM is a minimum. Avoid the low-end, crippled 2-core processors. Apple isn't hurting for customers these days so you aren't going to get a deal. If you are just starting out, you are unlikely to have much for a couple of years or so. You need a machine that will still run the OS and Xcode then. If you are going to develop iOS apps then you will pretty much always have the simulator running too. If you are developing OS X apps then you'll have VMWare running. In the past, Xcode ran great with very modest hardware, but those days are past.

Jul 12, 2015 11:58 AM

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Jul 12, 2015 2:13 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Compiling code is basically an issue of waiting until the compile is done, so that one can run the program and see if the code changes worked as expected.


Compile time is inversely proportional to CPU power. A language like Objective-C can have short compile times (seconds) if it only needs to recompile a single file. Certain code changes can force a full recompile of the entire program, this can obviously take quite a while if the program contains a lot of code.


C/C++/Objective-C are in some ways badly designed in regards to compile time as it is fairly easy to do a code change that forces a full recompile, other languages don't suffer from these issues, but I'm not sure where Swift stands in this.

Jul 12, 2015 2:13 PM

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Jul 12, 2015 5:52 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Hello again RandomGuy73,

Yep. That's the one. It will run all right, but it will be dog slow. After loading the operating system, there just isn't enough RAM to load Chrome. You can run it, but it will spend its time fighting with the OS swapping RAM to disk. On a 2010 machine, the first thing you would need to is max out the RAM and replace the hard drive with an SSD. But that begs the question of why this machine is for sale in the first place. Has it had its logic board swapped out via eBay? Is it one of those with a flaky discrete graphics card? Keep in mind that I am just talking about running Yosemite. Writing Swift apps in Xcode and running them on the simulator? Don't get me wrong. It will work. It will just be slow as Christmas.

Jul 12, 2015 5:52 PM

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Jul 13, 2015 2:05 AM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

I am etresoft's ghost writer. 😉 Not.


I have a 2011 Mac mini with the default Core i5. I only had to boot it once to realize it needed an upgrade to 8GB memory. The standard 500GB hard drive was just dreadfully slow, and was immediately replaced by an after market SSD. Xcode 6.2 on Mavericks works just fine on this configuration which also uses a mobile, not desktop CPU. Even command-line compiles are reasonably quick.

Jul 13, 2015 2:05 AM

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Jul 13, 2015 4:38 AM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Hello again RandomGuy73,

It will work, but all the same caveats apply. I have a machine like that. I use it as my El Capitan test machine. With the SSD and 16GB RAM, it is quite fast, but not quite as fast as my 2014 model. It also gets very hot when I'm doing large builds - definitely not a "laptop". It gets about 3 hours on a charge, so I can use it around the house, but I can't take it downtown. My 2014 gets 8 hours on a charge. It also doesn't have a retina display, which means I can't see if my graphics are wrong and the simulator for a retina iPhone takes up the whole monitor before I scale it down. Shortly after I maxed it out with upgrades, a few weeks after my 3 year AppleCare warranty has expired, the logic board went flaky and now some of the keys don't always register. It is still usable, but I don't want to recommend anyone else upgrade such a machine. There are a lot of nice benefits to having a new machine. The old one served me well but it just can't keep up anymore.

Jul 13, 2015 4:38 AM

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Oct 12, 2015 12:39 PM in response to RandomGuy73 In response to RandomGuy73

Hi RandomGuy! Here is my latest experience with an MacBook Air 13-inch with 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and an i7 processor, upgraded to OS-X 10.11 and Xcode 7.0.1. These two updates blew my Swift development work out of the water. It appears that both OS-X 10.11 and Xcode 7.0.1 are memory hogs. The industry use to refer to Microsoft software as "fatware". Looks like Apple is following suit. My computer was in an CPU-intensive state as a result of attempting to run Xcode, my guess, doing a lot of virtual memory swapping due to the high memory requirements, unpublished, for OS-X 10.11 and Xcode 7.


When I launched Xcode 7.0.1, the fan starts humming and the CPU-utilization, as measured by the Activity Monitor, shows 0% Idle Process time. I simply cannot do any Swift development. Moreover, in non-Xcode work, the above system is also useless. I launched Pages to print a 4 page technical paper that describes an algorithm for doing file comparisons. Again, the fan kicks on, the paper is printed, obviously more slowly than under Yosemite, as the Activity Monitor again shows 0% Idle Process time. After this, I wanted to shutdown via the shutdown menu. Because of the intense CPU-utilization, I could not get a response to my software shutdown request. I had to had to push the "PowerOn" ("PowerDown" in this case) button to shutdown the system manually. Note that I had no such problems with the Yosemite 10.10.x and Xode 6.x updates.


It looks to me that the Apple Development Organization ran out of schedule and had to ship before being able to: (1) perform regression testing (El Capitan vs Yosemite), (2) performance testing and (3) memory trimming its software requirements for OS-X 10.11 and Xcode 7.0.x. I have five Bug Reports about these issues in at Apple now - all unanswered at this point. I have also written two letters to Tim Cook bringing these issues to his attention, again, no response. I hope I am the only software developer experiencing these issues with OS-X 10.11 and Xcode 7. If so, count your blessings, If not, you understand my frustration.


I remember the Microsoft Windows Vista debacle several years back. It caused Microsoft several years to recover from that. It looks as though Apple wants to follow Microsoft's path in this regard. If I was an Apple stockholder, which I am not, I would be asking a lot of questions about Apple's software development organization and how it is being run. It appears to me that the software development schedule is determined by Apple's annual hype show in San Francisco. Just a guess but that is the way it looks to me after seeing similar situations during 50+ years of software development with other computer manufacturers including ones that I worked in. My advice to Apple: cut the functionality to make schedule or cut the annual hype-show. My guess the latter wins in the Apple Marketing organization and software development has no say in the process!!! Watts Humphrey's classic book, "Winning with Software: An Executive Strategy" makes a very bold statement when it says "[Software] quality is more important than schedule". That is in engineering terms, tradeoff schedule, if necessary, to produce a high quality software product. I don't see that software management principle in operation at Apple and in most other software organizations I am familiar with. In that regard, Apple has plenty of company!!!

Oct 12, 2015 12:39 PM

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Dec 11, 2015 11:33 PM in response to STMappDev In response to STMappDev

Is etresoft correct that Xcode is "a text editor that recompiles the file you are editing with each keystroke"..? That's about the sickest (and dumbest) thing I've ever heard. Who writes this garbage? Apple has obviously followed in Microsoft's footsteps and is creating bloatware. And if Chrome can't run just fine--WITHOUT swapping to virtual memory--in 2 GB of RAM, never mind 4 or 8, or 16 MB..? NOTHING should require that. It's one of many blatant signs of sloppy programming.

Dec 11, 2015 11:33 PM

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Dec 12, 2015 12:11 AM in response to paulpen In response to paulpen

"On every keystroke" is a gross oversimplification but Xcode will periodically do some compile work if code has changed, this is done to be able to show "compile" warnings/errors while typing code in Xcode, this has been a Xcode feature for years.


The actual CPU load for this is probably fairly low in most cases, mainly depending on how the actual clang/llvm compiler is used. It should for example be fairly easy to limit the compile to the method being edited if one keeps the parse tree built by the compiler around between compiles. Also note that only one file will typically be affected and that the compiler will not have to do any of its later compile steps - like creating executable code from the intermediate code or doing time consuming optimizations.

Dec 12, 2015 12:11 AM

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Question: What are the minimum system requirements for xcode