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What is the cheapest option for getting into iOS development?

Getting started with iOS development can be expensive, because you need a Mac to run Xcode to develop those apps. It’s a big upfront cost to buy a Mac for that purpose. If you’re just testing the waters to see if it is a good fit for you, there is another option that requires no upfront cost: renting a Mac in the cloud.

There are a number of services that will rent a Mac to you for $20-40 per month. The most advanced provider I’ve encountered is MacinCloud. They provide many different options, but you can begin with a plan that is 3 hours per day for only $20 per month. Plus, because these providers often cater to developers who do not want to purchase their own Mac hardware, the accounts are setup with all of the tools a developer would need for iOS development (and beyond). You get a preset environment all ready for you to start developing, without needing to worry about setup or buying 4-year old hardware at inflated prices.

Once you’ve decided that iOS development is a good fit for you, then might be the time to spring for the real thing. Until that time, renting is a good alternative for iOS development on the cheap.

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