Top 10 iOS Libraries of 2023: Stay Ahead of the Game

Top 10 iOS Libraries of 2023: Stay Ahead of the Game


This is the most fertile time for mobile app development since the launch of the App Store 15 years ago.

Our industry is in the grip of several simultaneous revolutions, each of them bending, flexing and moulding to the others. 5G promises to make our apps 10 times faster; wearable technology lets them wrap themselves around our bodies; artificial intelligence enables them to learn from us and get smarter every day.

But this torrent of innovation brings challenges, too. As app developers, we need to stay up to date with all the latest libraries and tools—and this is particularly true of iOS, given the advances promised by the latest update.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the essential iOS libraries every iOS developer needs to know right now. From UI frameworks to animation libraries, we’ll show you how to build a UX that will wow even the most cynical of users. All the libraries will help you to speed up you app development process.

First, here’s how to unleash the power of dependency managers

As a first step to use any iOS library, you need to add it as a dependency, and dependency managers make the whole process effortless.

There are a number of different dependency managers for iOS, and each has its own pros and cons. But the two most popular, right now, are CocoaPods and Carthage.

CocoaPods is a centralized dependency manager. In other words, it uses a centralized repository to manage libraries. This means that it’s easy to find and add libraries to your project, and you don’t need to worry about building and managing them yourself. Another nifty little bonus is that CocoaPods has a large community and loads of resources available, which is a major value-add in such a fluid, fast-moving environment.

Carthage, on the other hand, uses the libraries’ source code and builds them locally. This allows you to use specific commits, branches, or versions of a library, with no centralized repository. This can be particularly useful if you want more creative control over the libraries you use and don’t want to rely on a central authority.

In any case, you can always use both variants in the same project. But remember that the installation for each manager, and the way the libraries are linked, is markedly different.

Right, let’s look at the iOS libraries you need to know about

Since Apple first sent Swift live in 2014, the number of open source libraries has increased at a seemingly exponential rate. From utility libraries that simplify tasks to UI libraries that energize your interfaces, there’s a specialist option for every developer.

Everyone will have their own favourite iOS library, depending on the apps they build and their own personal coding style. But here are 10 that we find particularly useful (in no particular order):

  1. Alamofire – a powerful networking library for iOS and macOS.
  2. SDWebImage – a library for downloading and caching images from the web.
  3. SwiftyJSON – a library for working with JSON data in Swift.
  4. MBProgressHUD – a library for displaying progress indicators and progress views.
  5. Charts – a library for creating beautiful charts and graphs on iOS.
  6. Realm – a mobile database for iOS and Android.
  7. Reachability: A library for monitoring the network status of an iOS device
  8. ReactiveCocoa – a framework for functional reactive programming in iOS and macOS.
  9. Masonry – a library for creating and manipulating constraints in iOS and macOS.
  10. Lottie – an iOS library that allows developers to easily add animations to their app

And, as a lovely little bonus:

Bugfender – Remote Logger, Crash Reporter and In-App User Feedback

Ok, now let’s dive beneath the surface and get deeper into each one. We’ll also give you an alternative for each of our 10 nominees, so you’ve got plenty of options. But remember: this list is by no means exhaustive.


Alamofire is an open-source library for iOS and macOS that simplifies the process of working with HTTP and HTTPS network requests.

It is built on top of Apple’s Foundation URL Loading System and provides a more convenient API for working with network requests. On top of those headline characteristics, it provides a bunch of additional features like chainable request/response methods, JSON parameter and response serialization, and authentication.

One of the most distinctive, and compelling, features of Alamofire is the sheer number of people who use it. So while it might not be the ideal choice if you want to build niche code, it offers a vast breadth of documentation, with the guarantee of active maintenance and a large community that makes it easy to find examples, troubleshoot issues and generally get assistance with your queries. It’s also easy to integrate with other libraries and frameworks.

Alternative: AFNetworking (deprecated)


SDWebImage is an open-source library for iOS, macOS and watchOS that provides an easy way to asynchronously download and cache images from the web. If you’re working with remote images, it provides a straightforward API that includes support for placeholder images, caching, and image decompression.

The library also supports animated images, WebP, and HEIC formats and provides a way to handle image downloads asynchronously and cache them, which can improve the performance of your app and provide a better user experience. It also provides a way to handle the common issues that arise when working with remote images, such as dealing with slow network connections, handling errors, and cache management.

Alternative: Kingfisher


SwiftyJSON is a library that takes the stress out of working with JSON data in Swift. It provides an easy-to-use API to access and manipulate JSON data, using JSON, and automatically handles the unwrapping of optional values.

What really moves the needle on this swift library is the way it handles errors, such as missing keys, in a more efficient way than traditional JSON parsing libraries. It’s more convenient, simpler to read and more reliable.

Alternative: ObjectMapper


This open-source library provides an easy way to display a progress indicator (HUD) while a task is being executed in iOS.

You get a simple, intuitive API to display and customize the HUD, and the library automatically takes care of placement and dismissal for you. It can also be used to display the progress of a task, such as downloading data, or to provide feedback to the user, such as a “Loading…” message.

One thing we really like here is how you can customize the look and feel of the HUD, such as the color and font, and add custom views to the HUD if you want to.

Alternative: JGProgressHUD


If you want to create beautiful charts in iOS (for a financial app, for example), the rather simply-named Charts allows you to do so in a powerful, flexible way.

This open-source library is built on top of Core Graphics and its API allows you to create a veritably array of chart types, including line, bar, pie, scatter, and bubble charts. It also provides a way to customize the appearance of the charts using colors, labels, and animations.

Alternative: Core Plot


Realm is an open-source database for iOS and other platforms that is designed for easy, efficient data storage and retrieval.

With this library, you get a unique on-disk format and a simple, expressive API for working with data which supports full-text search, encryption and data synchronization. It’s widely used, well-documented and actively maintained, it’s easy to integrate with other libraries and frameworks and it’s supported for both Swift and Objective-C. A solid choice all-round.

Alternative: SQLite or Core Data


This open-source library, focused exclusively on iOS, provides an easy way to check the network reachability status of an iOS device. The API enables you to checks the current network status, and you can register for notifications when the network status changes.

So it’s easy to check the current network status, whether the device is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network and whether there’s a connection available. You can also take appropriate actions, such as showing an error message or disabling certain features of the app, when the device is offline.

Alternative: System Configuration Framework. Already included in the iOS SDK


ReactiveCocoa provides a powerful, expressive way to work with asynchronous, event-based programming. It’s built on the idea of reactive programming, a paradigm that emphasizes the flow of data through an application, and the API empowers you to work with streams of data, such as user interface events, network responses, and other asynchronous events.

This library is ideal for handling and manipulating streams of data, such as filtering, mapping, and combining streams, and it allows you to write more expressive and readable code.

Alternative: RxSwift


Masonry condenses the process of creating and maintaining Auto Layout constraints programmatically by providing a clear, fluid syntax.

The library is built on top of Apple’s Auto Layout engine and is based on a chainable, fluent API that allows you to create constraints in a natural way. It makes the process of creating complex layouts much simpler and easier to read.

Alternative: SnapKit


This cross-platform library allows developers to easily add animations to their apps. It uses the JSON format to describe animations, which makes it easy to create and edit animations using design tools such as Adobe After Effects and Sketch.

Lottie also provides an easily accessible API for displaying animations and supports a wide range of animations, including vector graphics, shapes, and text. It also provides support for animations with transparent backgrounds, allowing developers to easily add animations to their apps without the need for extra work.

Alternative: The best alternative is to use is SDK: Spritekit and UIView.animate


Ok, it might not be the best-known library out there, but, well… we created it, so we’re including it (and, of course, it rocks).

Bugfender will help you to develop your app, as it will allow you to find and fix bugs faster than ever with our log storage and crash reporting service. Bugfender collects everything happening in the application, even if it doesn’t crash, in order to reproduce and resolve bugs more effectively and provide better customer support. And it’s rapid: you will have our SDK integrated in your app in less than 60 seconds.

Ok, that’s a wrap(p)

We’ve taken into the weeds and discussed various iOS development libraries and frameworks, laid out their main features and use cases, and given you alternative options. All of these libraries and frameworks are open-source, actively maintained and widely used by iOS developers, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and the requirements of your project.

But remember: you should keep updating your knowledge base, because the possibilities are increasing all the time… and so are the potential competitors.

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