Swift code usage more than doubles with iOS 13

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Swift-iOS
Swift usage is on the rise again.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple’s own programming language is slowly taking over its mobile operating systems. iOS 13 contains more than twice as much Swift as iOS 12, according to research from Alexandre Colucci.

A huge number of Apple’s own apps and features now contain Swift binaries. A total of 141 have been uncovered in Apple’s most recent iOS 13.1 release.

Apple first started using Swift for iOS back in 2015. Its iOS 9.1 update included a single app — Calculator — written with the Swift language. Since then its usage has increased rapidly every year.

iOS 10.1 contained seven Swift binaries, while iOS 11.1 contained 32. iOS 12 more than doubled that record with 66, while iOS 13 has significantly raised the bar with a whopping 141.

Swift takes over iOS

Swift binaries can now be found almost everywhere. Apple uses them for the App Store, Game Center, Notification Center, Reminders, Sidecar, Apple Music, and the new Find My app.

“Note that these binaries might contain a single line of Swift code and are not necessarily entirely written in Swift,” writes Colucci, who dug into iOS 13.1 to determine the extent of Apple’s Swift usage.

Nonetheless, it’s evidence that Swift usage is growing exponentially among Apple’s software engineers.

“The new iOS 13 features have with no surprise been built with some Swift code in their corresponding application,” Colucci continues. “Also worth noting is the use of Swift in the Health, Book and Shortcuts apps.”

Weeding out Swift usage in iOS 13

Colucci used an iPhone 11 Pro Max release with build number 17A844. It’s likely Swift usage is just as prevalent in iPadOS 13, which is essentially iOS but with a new name just for iPad.

Colucci is yet to dig into Swift usage for macOS Catalina. He found in 2016 that Swift binaries were limited to just 10 apps in macOS 10.12.

Apple introduced Swift at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. The open source language can be used to build apps for all of Apple’s platforms, including tvOS and watchOS.