Build iOS App With C#

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your First App

Alex Maher
3 min readMar 14, 2024
Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash

Building your first iOS app can seem like a daunting task, especially if you come from a C# background and are new to the iOS ecosystem. However, with the right tools and a straightforward approach, you can smoothly make the transition and bring your app ideas to life.

Here, I’ll outline a simplified, easy-to-understand guide on how to build your first iOS app using C#.

Step 1: Get the Right Tools

Xamarin in Visual Studio

The first step is to equip yourself with Xamarin, a powerful tool that allows C# developers to create iOS (and Android) apps. Xamarin works within Visual Studio, a familiar environment for C# developers, making the transition as smooth as possible.

  • Download and Install Visual Studio: Link;

Download Visual Studio Tools - Install Free for Windows, Mac, Linux

Make sure to include the Xamarin component during installation. Visual Studio Community Edition is free and fully supports Xamarin development.

  • Mac Setup: To build and test iOS apps, you’ll need a Mac computer. Xamarin uses a Mac as a build and deployment host.

Step 2: Understand the Basics of iOS Development

Before diving into coding, familiarize yourself with the basics of iOS development, including understanding the MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern, which is central to iOS app development.

Additionally, get to know the basic UI elements like buttons, labels, and text fields, and how they interact within an iOS app. Xamarin provides a comprehensive set of resources to help you get up to speed.

Step 3: Create Your First Project

  • Start a New Project: In Visual Studio, create a new project and select the "iOS App (Xamarin)" template. You’ll have options like Single View App, which is a good starting point for beginners.
  • Familiarize with the IDE: Explore the Solution Explorer to see the structure of an iOS project. Notice the AppDelegate.cs, Main.cs, and storyboard files which are key components of your app.

Step 4: Design Your App’s Interface

  • Use Storyboards: Visual Studio with Xamarin allows you to design your app’s UI visually using storyboards. You can drag and drop UI elements onto your screens, setting up constraints to make your design responsive.
  • Connect UI to Code: Use Outlets (for UI elements) and Actions (for events) to connect your storyboard UI to C# code. This is where your C# skills come into play, allowing you to handle user interactions.

Step 5: Write Your App Logic in C#

Now that your UI is set up, you can start writing the logic behind your app using C#. Whether it’s handling a button click or fetching data from the internet, you’ll write your code in the ViewController.cs file or other C# files you add to your project.

  • Implement Features: Implement the features of your app one by one, testing each feature thoroughly before moving on to the next.
  • Use Xamarin Libraries: Take advantage of Xamarin’s extensive libraries to add functionality like network requests, data storage, and more.

Testing and Deployment

  • Test on Simulator and Real Devices: Use the iOS Simulator in Visual Studio for initial testing, and then test on a real device for a more accurate experience.
  • Deploy to the App Store: Once your app is ready and tested, follow the steps to deploy it to the App Store. Xamarin provides guides on how to package and submit your app.

My Final Thoughts

Building your first iOS app with C# using Xamarin in Visual Studio is a rewarding journey.

By leveraging your existing C# skills and following these simple steps, you’re well on your way to becoming a versatile mobile app developer.

Remember, every app is a learning opportunity, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore the vast resources available to you.

Thank You For Reading!

Happy Coding!



Alex Maher

.NET C# dev with 10+ yrs exp, self-taught & passionate web developer. Sharing tips & experiences in C# and web dev.