There are a lot of tools beside Xcode that I use in my everyday workflow - some are quite popular and everybody seems to know them and there are others which to my surprise none of my colleges and friends knew. So here’s a small collection of my favorite tools in alphabetical order.
Alcatraz (free & open source)
Xcode is a quite powerful IDE but sometimes it just misses essential functionalities. Fortunately there’s Alcatraz, a plugin manager to install a lot of powerful plugins. My favorite ones are KSImagedNamed (autocompletion for image assets), FuzzyAutocomplete (autocompletion like in the “Open Quickly” Dialog or AppCode) and Snapshots (great if you’re using FBSnapshotTests).
AppCode (paid - free for students)
How ever worked with Java might be familiar the IntelliJ Idea IDE or Android Studio. AppCode is based on the same technology and supports Objective-C, C++ and Swift (work in progress). If you like refactoring, love the possibility to do everything just with your keyboard and want to code really fast this IDE is a must!
BitBucket (limited free)
A great alternative for GitHub. It has similar functionality but is somehow not that popular. For indie developers it’s biggest advantage is that you can have am unlimited number of private repositories and only need to pay if you want to have more than 5 contributors on private repositories.
Carthage (free & open source)
A good lightweight alternative for CocoaPods. Especially for Swift based projects it’s great and sometimes easier than CocoaPods. It’s worth noting that it’s completly based on the “new” dynamic frameworks and therefore can only be used for iOS 8+ and OS X projects!
Charles (paid with trail)
Sometimes it’s essential to see exactly what you’re app is sending over the network. Charles is “the industry standard” for this. It is cross-platform, can proxy any connection on your mac, can proxy HTTPS connections and you can easily use it with the iOS simulator as well as real devices.
CocoaPods (free & open source)
The most popular dependency management tool for Objective-C projects. Every iOS developer should know how to use it. It is quite similar to Maven or Gradle, has a great repository of open source frameworks and you can also setup your own company internal repository with private frameworks.
Dash (limited free)
Just the best documentation viewer on OS X. Beside the official Apple documentation you can download and search nearly every documentation of any framework. With Dash 3 you can now also make additional notes directly into the documentation and sync this to all your devices (iOS too!).
GitHub (limited free)
If you work with git (what you should do!) GitHub is the defacto standard for hosting those repository and probably the largest hoster of open source frameworks. Public repositories are free and you need to pay for private repositories. There are some special conditions for students.
GitUp (free & open source)
In my opinion the best graphical git client. You might love your command line, but if you love clean histories and rebasing this tool will make your life so much easier. There are a lot of “shortcuts” for popular actions which often require a combination of several commands on the command line.
Fabric aka Crashlytics (free)
Although we give our best to ship bug free code there are always bugs that crash our apps in the field. Getting detailed reports about them is important and allows us to fix them faster. Fabric provides a great toolset for crash tracking and beyond. Especially the analytics part is nice. Integration with the “Twitter ecosystem” is nice but not mandatory.
FastLane (free & open source)
Working with the Apple Developer Portal and iTunes Connect is often just a pain. Especially when you push new releases quite often you look over to your server guys with their fully automated continuous delivery and start to cry ;-). FastLane is a collection of tools to fully automate your deployment and build process. Try it out!
Another mature crash reporting tool. Also supports Android, OS X and Windows Phone which is great if you develop for multiple platforms and don’t want to use several tools. The OS X app is quite nice to jump directly from the crash log into your codebase.
IntelliJ Idea (limited free - ultimate version free for students)
Sometimes you need to work on other code beside Objective-C and Swift (e.g. backend stuff, scripts, android apps, …) then IntelliJ Idea is the perfect workhorse. It started as an Java IDE and provides the most features for Java, but there are plugins and support for nearly any other language. It’s like eclipse but great. ;-)
There are a lot of merge tools out there and you can also easily resolve conflicts with AppCode or Xcode. But especially merging a project.pbxproj file - which we do all the time when working with a lots of people on a project - is often a real pain. For me P4Merge is just the best tool to resolve such merge conflicts.
Pivotal Tracker (limited free)
A good and sleek issue tracker. It’s not as complicated as JIRA and you aren’t able to customize it as much as an own installation of JIRA but it’s way more intuitive and gives you all the essential features you need.
If you ever need to edit photos or create complicated assets this tool is just great. It’s nearly as powerful as Photoshop but way cheaper and more intuitive and also really fast.
Sequel Pro (free)
If you need to maintain a database for your app or your backend service this tool is just great. You can do a lot without knowing any SQL but can leverage the full power of it when you want to.
Sketch (paid - 30 day trail)
Sketch is a great tool to create designs and mockups. It’s mostly used by designers but also for us developers and especially for indie developers it’s an easy to use but powerful tool. It’s way faster than creating designs with Photoshop and exporting assets and creating vector graphics is really easy.
Slack (limited free)
A great tool for communication within your team or company. Basically it’s “just” a chat but with all its plugins and integrations you can build powerful things. The only thing that annoys me is that it cannot totally replace my old school mailbox yet.
Another great graphical git client which can do nearly anything you do in your daily workflow on the command line. It’s free and from the makers of BitBucket.
Just your bread and butter text editor for everything you don’t want to open in your IDE. Syntax highlighting for nearly every programming language and free.
If you work with the terminal a lot you don’t want to search for the window on your desktop every time. This app shows and dismisses your terminal in a “drawer” via a hotkey on top of all your other windows. Currently having some issues with OS X 10.11 :/
Zeplin (limited free)
If your designers use Sketch this tool is just great. If your designers do not use Sketch make them to use Sketch and Zeplin! ;-) You can easily get all the measurements and assets and the designer doesn’t need to worry about providing them in detail. With it you can concentrate on the essentials of a design and you and your designer don’t need to waste time on providing detailed measurements and asking for missing specifications.