Looking to keep your skills fresh and up-to-date? Do you want to meet other developers in your community? Maybe even getting a boost of energy to bring back to the office? Attend a conference! Or three! :]
There are plenty of good iOS conferences held in different countries and with beginner and advanced talks. This post will help you pick the best match for you in 2018.
Choosing the top 10 conferences would be a pretty complicated task. Luckily our community is very friendly and happy to provide feedback. We surveyed over 300 developers and collected their opinions about the conferences they attended in 2017.
I’d love to hear from you too – please add a comment below if you think there’s an interesting conference missing in this list.
Without further ado, let’s check out the list!
Every year Apple runs WWDC. It’s the official conference for developers in the Apple ecosystem. Tickets are usually sold using a lottery system, so getting one requires some luck. And a credit card with some allowance. :]
At WWDC Apple announces new frameworks and APIs for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. If you are invested in the Apple ecosystem you should definitely pay attention to announcements made during WWDC.
Even if Apple releases videos a few hours after the presentation, there are still a compelling reasons to attend the conference:
- Meeting people face to face: Have you ever seen 5000+ developers in one place? With struggles and dreams similar to yours? You’ll find them at WWDC. They’ll gather together spontaneously and chat. It’s an invaluable experience.
- The labs: Did you ever try to figure out the nitty gritty details of a framework? Or how to best use an API? At the WWDC labs you can talk to the authors of your favorite frameworks and get insights on how to use them at best. The line at the labs might be long, so I suggest you be prepared with specific questions and a sample project to kickstart the discussion.
“WWDC is a one of a kind experience. It offers some things that none of the other conferences do – A sneak peak into the greatest and latest technologies, frameworks, and APIs – right from the developers who built them, awesome labs where you can consult with Apple engineers about many areas regarding your very own apps: Bugs, Issues, Design, etc.
It offers much more than just technical talks, though. For example, this year’s session with Michelle Obama has been truly mind-opening and I’ve personally been awed sharing a room with such a remarkable person.”—Shai Mishali
- When: June 4-8
- Where: McEnery Convention Center, San Jose CA
- Number of Attendees: 5,000+
- Number of Tracks: 4 + Labs
- Team members planning to attend: Gemma Barlow, Ray Fix, Anthony Lockett, Zoltán Matók, Shai Mishali, Tim Mitra, Andy Obusek, Adam Rush.
You didn’t get a ticket for WWDC? Fear not, you can still go to San Jose and have a great experience. During that week there are plenty of third-party events related to iOS developers. One of these is AltConf, which hosts plenty of presentations focused on the Apple ecosystem but includes also topics like design, business, marketing and ethics of software. Check out the videos of the last edition to get an idea.
“I was lucky enough to have WWDC tickets but I also went to AltConf sessions across the road. AltConf is no longer just an alternative to WWDC, it’s a supplement. It adds the community factor and the more independent talks, enriching the WWDC experience”—Ivo Jansch
- When: June 4-7
- Where: San Jose Marriott, San Jose CA
- Number of Attendees: Around 1,000
- Number of Tracks: 3
- Team members planning to attend: Gemma Barlow, Ray Fix, Shai Mishali, Mikael Konutgan, Luke Parham.
- Website: http://altconf.com
Excluding WWDC, 360iDev is the oldest of iOS conference around. It features a great blend of presentations about development, design and business. It is attended particularly by indie developers. If you are running your own software business, it is highly recommended.
“I attended 360iDev. It was a life changing experience. Other than the really freaking awesome photo guy, it was also a great networking opportunity, there were lots of great folks and the organizers are amazing. They really do a great job, it’s just better every year, and they are such nice people.” —Fuad Kamal
- When: August 26-29 2018
- Where: Denver, Colorado
- Number of Attendees: 300
- Number of Tracks: 4
- Team members planning to attend: Namrata Bandekar, Ben DiFranceso, Ray Fix, Tim Mitra, Andy Obusek, Richard Turton.
- Website: http://360idev.com
Full disclosure: RWDevCon is organized by our team, so we may be a bit biased. :]
RWDevCon is different from other conferences on this list, because the focus is 100% on hands-on tutorials. The speakers don’t simply “give a presentation”; instead, attendees code along with the speakers in an interactive tutorial.
Like on this site, all tutorials are high quality, and have two rounds of tech editing and practice before the conference. Just to give you an idea of how much care is put in RWDevCon, speakers start preparing and rehearsing tutorials in October, and the conference is in April.
New this year is a brand new RWConnect, which includes a design lab, a hackathon, open spaces, and more.
The conference has been sold out for the past three years, so don’t miss your chance to get a ticket!
“RWDevCon is another piece in the piece of the puzzle to give you the amazing understanding and picture that it the raywenderlich.com world. It gives both another method to learn unbelievable tech and gives you access to one of the best tech communities I’ve ever had the privilege to know.”—Dru Freeman
- When: April 5-7 2018
- Where: The Westin Alexandria Hotel, Alexandria, Virginia
- Number of Attendees: 250
- Number of Tracks: 3
- Team members planning to attend: Christine Abernathy, Luis Abreau, Namrata Bandekar, Jawwad Ahmad, Gemma Barlow, Jerry Beers, Chris Belanger, Scott Berrevotets, Roel Bondoc, Catie Catterwaul, Jessy Catterwaul, Rene Cacheaux, Janie Clayton, Tammy Coron, Eric Crawford, Alex Curran, Sam Davies, Joey Devilla, Brody Eller, Morten Faarkrog, Darren Ferguson, Ray Fix, Dru Freeman, Luke Freeman, Joshua Greene, Joe Howard, Michael Katz, Erik Kerber, Kelvin Lau, Anthony Lockett, Zoltán Matók, Annette Marlette, Shai Mishali, Tim Mitra, Brian Moakley, Vincent Ngo, Andy Obusek, Luke Parham, Jeff Rames, Christine Sweigart, Ellen Shapiro, Eric Soto, Lea Marolt Sonnenschein, Adrian Strahan, Audrey Tam, Richard Turton, Ray Wenderlich, Vicki Wenderlich.
- Website: https://www.rwdevcon.com
5) try! Swift
try! Swift was started by Natasha the Robot a few years ago. It’s an international conference, held in different locations and featuring 20-minute talks. Attendees can also attend office hours with the speakers, to discuss more personal issues.
“try!Swift – Tokyo – is one of the best conference I ever attended for iOS/Swift developer (on the eastern part of the world)” —Sergio Utama
- When: Many times, see website
- Where: Many places, see website
- Number of Attendees: Around 300
- Number of Tracks: 1
- Team members planning to attend: Gemma Barlow, Ben DiFranceso, Ray Fix, Shai Mishali, Andy Obusek, Audrey Tam, Luke Parham
- Website: https://www.tryswift.co
UIKonf is a conference held in Berlin and focused on development, design and business. While the organizers personally invite some of the speakers, for UIKonf you can vote on the talk proposals and be actively involved in creating a schedule that you’d like. See the website for more info.
“UIKonf was great! Great speakers, great attendees, great organizers! Attend the ‘extracurricular’ activities and talk to everyone. The talks were informative and engaging but, more than that, the entire experience was invigorating!” —TJ Usiyan
“I loved UIKonf because it didn’t just focus on tech talks but also people. The conference offered numerous opportunities for speakers and attendees to connect, share knowledge and get to know each other. The talks themselves were wonderfully diverse, ranging from code gen to compassion and AutoLayout to empathy! Finally, the Berlin location made even the moments outside of the conference full of adventure and fun.” —Sommer Panage
- When: May 13–16 2018
- Where: Berlin
- Number of Attendees: 400
- Number of Tracks: 1
- Team members planning to attend: Yono Mittlefehldt, Janie Clayton
- Website: http://www.uikonf.com
Appdevcon is a mobile conference in Amsterdam. Besides iOS, it includes also topics like Android, cross-platform development and IoT.
“One of the best reasons for putting Appdevcon on your list of yearly conferences is that it is organized by people that are actually in the business of making wonderful apps for everyone. That is proven by their endeavor, Year-over-year to bring in the best speakers from around the globe, to improve the craft of fine software making not just for the attendees but for themselves as well.” –Saurabh Garg
- When: March 15-16 2018
- Where: Amsterdam
- Number of Attendees: 320
- Number of Tracks: 5
- Team members planning to attend: Cesare Rocchi, Ellen Shapiro
- Website: http://appdevcon.nl
8) The Swift Alps
The Swift Alps is an experimental conference. It proposes an alternative to the “presentation on stage” format. Mentors propose a topic, and attendees can join them in a group to work on it. It can be a sample project, a framework, a technology. People are encouraged to work together is a workshop-like experience and then give a lightning talk to present the outcome.
“Swift Alps bills itself as an “experimental conference”, and they mean that in a couple of different ways. First, it’s a conference unlike many others and trying out a new concept. Second is the actual concept itself: you get a chance to really experiment with the things you’re learning about from the mentors – you work with the people in the session with you to learn or create cool new things. It’s incredibly fun and a great way to learn.” —Ellen Shapiro
- When: TBA
- Where: TBA
- Number of Attendees: 50
- Number of Tracks: 10
- Team members planning to attend: Marin Todorov, Elle Shapiro, Cesare Rocchi
- Website: https://theswiftalps.com
9) Pragma Conference
Pragma Conference is held in Italy but usually in a different city every year. It features technical and design topics that cover iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS.
“I attended PragmaConf… Great talks, great social experience and great food!!!” — Andrej Krizmancic
- When: TBA
- Where: TBA
- Number of Attendees: 320
- Number of Tracks: 3
- Team members planning to attend: Lorenzo Boaro
iOSDevUK is held a the University of Aberystwyth in Wales. It’s a pretty remote location and that fosters attendees to gather together and make friends. It started as a very technical conference but now includes presentations about business and user experience.
“iOSDevUK was amazing. Lots of interesting talks and friendly people. Would highly recommend, and it’s a good conference if you are on a budget.” —Greg Spiers
- When: September 3-6 2018
- Where: Aberystwyth, UK
- Number of Attendees: 200
- Number of Tracks: 2
- Team members planning to attend: Alex Curran, Adam Rush, Luke Parham
- Website: https://www.iosdevuk.com
Picking 10 conferences to highlight was hard. Here are a few honorable mentions:
- iOSDevCampDC: One-track conference focused on iOS development in DC.
- NSSpain: Single track, with both design and development topics.
- dotSwift: Single track conference held in Paris, mostly focused on Swift.
Which Should I Pick?
Many thanks to everybody who sent their thoughts and quotes about the conferences listed here. We really appreciate it. :]
Feel free to drop your comments and questions below. The team and I hope to see you at some iOS conferences in 2018!