How important is an up-to-date macbook?

Hi folks,

I’m just starting to learn Swift and finished the Introduction YouTube-Video. Just to be able to learn Swift I bought an used Macbook Air last year. The newest version of Xcode I could install is 10.1, because for newer versions I need a newer OS and a newer OS is not support by my old Macbook.
So with hopefully developing my own apps and publishing them to the Appstore in the future in mind: How important is it to have the latest Swift-version, which needs the newest Xcode, which needs the newest Macbook (or at least newer than mine).
In short: Should I upgrade my hardware?
I couldn’t find any advice for that via google.

Thanks in advance


Hi Simon,

Welcome to the Code Crew community.

Keeping up with the latest versions of everything is a problem we all face and eventually hardware does limit you.

If you were keen to start becoming acquainted with SwiftUI then you would need to be running at least macOS Catalina and that would allow you to have the latest version of Xcode which is 11.6

That impacts on what hardware options you have. I have a 2015 MacBook Pro at the moment which I think will be able to run macOS Big Sur when it is released (I could load the Beta version but I prefer to wait) which means I can load Xcode 12 and that will allow me to take advantage of the updated version of SwiftUI.

“Keeping up with the Jones” comes at a cost of course so if finances are not permitting then you have to make decisions around that.

The courses that Chris currently has on offer should be able to be followed along using Xcode 10.1 though I can’t verify that. Chris progressively updates the courses using later versions of Xcode so you might find it a little challenging finding the equivalent options in the Xcode 10.1 interface compared to the lessons that have been created using Xcode 11.x

Long term it depends on what your aspirations are in terms of employment and if you are keen to become a developer. If that’s the case then investing in a later version of a MacBook that will run the current version of macOS and Xcode, will certainly stand you in good stead.


Hi Chris,

thanks for the warm welcome.

Yes, the YouTube-Course of Chris (at least the beginner one, which I completed) works with Xcode 10.1. That’s why I chose it in the first place.

So you say, your “old” 2015 MAcBook can run the newest versions. I think then I can count on a long term support of up-to-date-Xcode, if I buy a 2020 MacBook. That sounds good.

I think I will invest some money on that.

Hey Simon,

A 2020 Macbook will certainly last you 5 or more years. If you do choose to invest in a 2020 machine I would recommend filling it up with as much RAM as you can afford. My 2015 has 16Gb but I could certainly do with 32Gb.

One thing to keep in mind with MacBooks is that the latest versions cannot be user upgraded since RAM and SSD’s are soldered onto the main board. They do this now to make them faster by having all the components closer together. Others would say that it is Apples way of causing planned obsolescence.

The only thing I was able to upgrade on my 2015 MacBook was the SSD. I bought it with 512Gb SSD and purchased a 1Tb SSD from OWC Computing. Installing it was simple and it has been trouble free.

Is Swift development really that hardware dependent? I thought on getting the new Macbook Air with an i5 and 16GB of RAM. Do you think I will regret this later on?

I’m no expert in that regard but I do know that Applications are becoming more memory hungry as time goes by so to avoid the OS having to page in and page out applications to disk to make memory available for newly launched applications to run concurrently, it’s faster with more memory.

Hope that very long sentence makes sense. :grimacing:

For what it’s worth, i’m still using an Early 2015 Macbook with 16gb ram.
It’s starting to show it’s age and I’m noticing the slowdown however I’ve gotten a lot of good use out of it!

My iMac is also a 2015 model but I upgraded it to 32gb ram and it’s still running perfectly smooth.

So what Chris said above about the RAM is spot on.

If your intention is to submit an app into the store, then that’s another incentive to upgrade as Apple has dictated that all new apps need to be built with the iOS 13 SDK which comes with Xcode 11 (you can still make the app support older versions of iOS but it must be built with iOS 13 SDK)

This thread seems to indicate that the only authorized way to build with iOS 13 SDK is using Xcode 11:

Hope this helps Simon!

Hi Chris,

with the Apple dictation it’s clear that I surely can learn the rudiments of Swift with my old Macbook but I have to get a newer one, when I want to publish (and that’s my intention in the end).

Thank you two for your answer, you both helped me a lot in my decision.