Get ready

Learning to code with Swift, the same language used by professional developers, offers limitless possibilities to build apps that solve problems that are important to you. Join a worldwide community of student developers who use Swift to create the next generation of groundbreaking apps.

Explore your tools

Tools like Swift Playgrounds and Xcode enable anyone with an idea to create something incredible. If you’re new to app development, try Swift Playgrounds, which includes everything you need to go from your first line of code to building your first app.

If you’re already familiar with app development, try Xcode, Apple’s powerful, integrated development environment, used by professionals around the world to develop, test, and distribute their apps.

You can use Swift Playgrounds or Xcode to code an app playground — a streamlined space designed for you to experiment as you build. For your submission to the Swift Student Challenge, you’ll submit a playground with an interactive scene that can be experienced within three minutes.

Download Xcode

Xcode includes the SDKs for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Learn how to use Swift Playgrounds

Design your app

Great apps begin with great ideas. Think about what your app will do and what problem it can solve.

You can use the App Design Workbook to review the core principles of the app design process: define, prototype, test, validate, and iterate. For a detailed look at building a prototype, watch 60-Second Prototyping. You can even practice designing an app using the Design a Simple App project. When you’re ready, design the app you’ll submit to the Challenge.

Learn how to build your app

Download the latest version of Swift Playgrounds. Develop your SwiftUI skills by exploring Get Started with Apps and Keep Going with Apps. These engaging tutorials demonstrate the core concepts of coding and building apps.

Get Started with Apps

Keep Going with Apps

Take your learning further with Swift Playgrounds tutorials, like Animating Shapes, Organizing with Grids, and Editing Grids.

Animating Shapes

Organizing with Grids

Editing Grids

For details on prototyping, building, and debugging, watch Build your first app in Swift Playgrounds.

Go further with Tutorials

Develop in Swift Tutorials are a great first step toward a career in app development using Xcode, Swift, and SwiftUI.

This image is a digital illustration that portrays a floating stack of user interface elements layered.

Best practices

Learn more best practices for coding with Swift Playgrounds or Xcode.

Build and iterate

Now it’s time to put your new Swift and SwiftUI skills into practice by building your app. Swift Playgrounds is a great place to start. To create a new app playground, open the software and tap the App button (+).

If you’re already familiar with coding in Xcode or want to try it out, you can use it to build your playground if you prefer. Select File > New > Project > iOS > App Playground.

The playground you submit to the Swift Student Challenge needs to be built with and run on Swift Playgrounds or Xcode.

Make your app unique by adding your own graphics, audio, and more. For inspiration, read how the 2023 Apple Design Award winners brought their ideas to life.

Check your work

Test, test, test! Before sending in your submission, share your playground with friends, family, and classmates to get maximum input on functionality, messaging, and user experience. Sharing your work also helps you verify that everything functions properly on someone else’s device.

Post your questions on the forums

The Apple Developer Forums are a great place to ask questions and connect with other Challenge applicants. Add the Swift Student Challenge tag to your post.

Educator resources

Encouraging students to participate in the Swift Student Challenge is a great way to inspire and motivate their creativity, and gives them a fantastic opportunity to stand out among their peers.

When you teach coding, you’re not only teaching the language of technology, but also new ways of bringing ideas to life. Apple has designed resources that make it easy for anyone to teach and learn app design, coding, and development.

Montgomery County Public Schools use coding as a path to equal access in the community and the workforce. Learn more.

And with the new Everyone Can Code Projects, it’s easier than ever to introduce students to app design and development using Swift Playgrounds on iPad and Mac. Intended to help educators guide students through the first steps in bringing app ideas to life, the following projects are available in the Apple Education Community:

  • Design a Simple App: Guide your students to create a simple app prototype in Keynote for anything they can dream up.
  • Build with Stacks and Shapes: Introduce app development by experimenting with colors, sizing, and placement to create a unique app interface.
  • Build Custom Shapes: Empower your students to take their app interface to the next level by coding custom shapes with SwiftUI.
  • Design an App Icon: Inspire students to apply design principles to create a memorable app icon for any topic.

You can find more educator resources in the Apple Education Community.