A guide to writing code on an iPad.

Jul 26, 2022

Why Code on an iPad?​

So why would anyone want to code on an iPad? Convenience. They are smaller and lighter than most laptops, making them more portable, and the most recent generation of iPad Pro is more powerful than many laptops with its Apple M1 chip (the same chip used in MacBook Pro), 8-core CPU, and 16GB RAM.

Having a single device you can use to check email, watch movies in bed, and write code just makes life easier. And I’m not the only one that thinks so. Adrian Twarog, whose development and design-focused YouTube channel has over 100K subscribers,

he Choice: native iPad apps vs. using a cloud-based IDE​

There are two possibilities for writing code with an iPad. You can elect to use a native iOS app or use the iPad as a thin client to connect to an IDE running on another machine or server.

Using native iPad apps for writing code​

Let’s get this out of the way up front — there is no native iOS app for VS Code — the most popular code editor by far — and given that iOS is incompatible with the Electron framework upon which VS Code is built it seems unlikely that there will ever be a VS Code iOS app. For some, this may be a deal-breaker for choosing to use a native app.

The biggest hurdle to using an iPad for coding is its lack of a runtime environment for most languages, forcing you to move your files to a server for compiling and testing.

That being said, there are a ton of code editors in the iOS app store, many of them fairly mediocre. Here are a few of the best and most popular ones