Xcode 13 Offers Significant Updates and Opens Doors to Others

By Jeff Vincent|

November 16, 2021

Xcode 13 was officially released this past September, and it is loaded with great updates that improve the developer experience. Likely even more enticing for development teams considering making the upgrade to Xcode 13, this latest release is the key to getting started with iOS 15.

While Xcode 13 is compatible with both Big Sur and Monterey releases of macOS, version 13 is the only option once your team makes the upgrade to macOS Monterey.

Xcode 13 Overview

This latest Xcode release includes SDKs for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS 11.3 (Big Sur). Xcode 13 requires a Mac running macOS 11.3 or later, which includes both Intel and Apple silicon-based machines.

Highlighted new features:

  • Native support for concurrency programming with Swift, integrated support for Git pull requests.
  • Auto-generate documentation from in-line comments in Swift with DocC.
  • Support for Vim keybindings for text editing.

For a full accounting of updates and improvements to Xcode, check out the Xcode 13 release notes.

Impact on iOS development

Xcode 13 is a prerequisite to development for iOS 15, which brings with it a significant influx of updates and improvements in terms of security, accessibility, and more than the Apple community has graciously submitted for inclusion in this release.

Security-focused updates are particularly noteworthy in this release, as improvements tackle potential insecurities related to Audio, ColorSync, Continuity Camera, and more. Check out Apple’s docs for a full rundown of security updates in iOS 15.

Xcode 13 and Apple’s M1

For teams that are looking to make the move to Apple’s new ARM-based M1 silicon, combining that move with a shift to Xcode 13 makes sense for a number of reasons. In particular, Xcode 13 runs on both macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey, so once your team upgrades to this latest release, there shouldn’t be any need to upgrade again as you make the transition to the new Apple architecture.

Moreover, Xcode runs natively on M1, so there will be no need for Rosetta2 emulation. This means that Xcode 13 reaps the full benefit of the M1 architecture’s improved processing performance.


With the beta first released in June of 2021, Xcode 13 offers a wide variety of updates and improvements for the development experience. Moreover, it is a prerequisite to developing for iOS 15, which brings with it a significant number of security updates that may benefit your team’s iOS products greatly.

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