Apple introduces new-look Xcode 12 IDE

Redesigned development environment allows developers can build for both Apple silicon and Intel systems

Apple introduces new-look Xcode 12 IDE
Stefan Berndtsson (CC BY 2.0)

Apple has released a beta of its Xcode 12 integrated development environment, with a new look to match the planned MacOS Big Sur release.

Xcode 12, unveiled June 22, features customizable font sizes for the navigator as well as streamlined code completion and new document tabs. Apps can be built to support planned Apple Silicon Macs, with no need to change current lines of code. The Xcode 12 beta is available through the Apple Developer program.

The Xcode 12 beta includes SDKs for iOS 14, MacOS 11, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7. A beta distribution is offered for “Universal Apps” to run on both Intel-based CPUs and Apple Silicon systems.

Specific capabilities of Xcode 12:

  • Documents now can be opened in their own tab, to switch between files while maintaining the rest of the IDE configuration.
  • Code completions have a focused interface, making it easier to locate a completion. Also, completions are more accurate and faster.
  • Widgets, App Clips, and content in Swift packages can be previewed. App Clips provide a mechanism to discover iOS 14 apps through visual indicators called App Clip codes, as well as through NFC and shared links.
  • A LibraryContentProvider protocol lets views and modifiers be shown in the Xcode library.
  • Critical information about each app is now grouped in one place.
  • In bringing iPad apps to MacOS, the Optimize Interface for Mac target setting now can be used for native MacOS controls and Mac resolution.
  • Multiplatform app templates set up projects to share code among Apple platforms.
  • Tools are included to create StoreKit files that describe various subscription and in-app purchase products an app can offer while creating test scenarios to ensure workability.
  • Improved auto-indentation.

Release notes can be found at In a related announcement, Apple said SwiftUI, a framework for building UIs via the Swift language, has new capabilities and better performance while maintaining a stable API to bring existing SwiftUI code into Xcode 12. A lifecycle management API lets developers write an entire app in SwiftUI and share more code across Apple platforms.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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