Designing Apps for Mac? Here’s How to Make macOS Apps

Do you use macOS apps? If not, know Mac is going strong in the app department. If you plan on making your own macOS apps, here’s how to make an app for Mac. As of October 2018, the Mac family of products has a base of over 100 million active products. If you’re looking to develop an app, starting with a macOS project is a great first step into your development career. But knowing where to jump in isn’t always so easy.

Read on for a quick guide on everything you’ll need to know about designing apps for macOS.

What You’ll Need

If you’re reading this, you more than likely have everything you need to create a Mac app already!

Still, there’s more than one way to create an app, so here’s a list of tools we recommend.


While you won’t need much to create a Mac app, you’ll at least need some basic hardware.

And though you might think you’ll need a Mac, you may be surprised to learn that you can design and develop a macOS on non-Apple products.

A PC with Windows 10 installed can handle all of the software needed to tackle your project.

Though extra RAM and storage space is nice, any computer capable of running basic coding programs should be more than sufficient.

Xcode or App Maker

With your hardware secured, you’ll need to procure a copy of the most recent version of Xcode, which you can find on Apple’s website.

Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE). In short, this is a complicated way of saying that it’s a suite of development tools.

This is the key program you’ll use throughout development.

If you’re looking for something less complicated, App Maker is a fantastic tool for beginners. Its UI is far more intuitive than Xcode’s, so you can get more done in less time.


While App Maker or Xcode simplify the process, you’ll still need to know basic coding techniques.

Current macOS apps are designed using a language called Swift, which comes integrated into Xcode.

While Swift takes some getting used to, there is an upside to its complicated nature. Designing in the language allows you to program apps not only for macOS, but for iOS, watchOS, and even Linux.

What to Consider When Designing Your App

You’ve got the goods and now it’s time to get down to business.
But before you start cranking out code, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Write a Design Doc

A good app starts with a good idea. Outline your ideas by creating a design doc.

This document should contain rough sketches of the app’s UI, an explanation of its purpose, and your overall goals for the project.