A Comprehensive Comparison of Swift and Objective-C

Swift and Objective-C are two programming languages used for developing iOS, macOS, and watchOS applications. Objective-C has been the primary language for Apple’s development ecosystem for over 30 years. Swift, on the other hand, was introduced by Apple in 2014 as an alternative to Objective-C. Both languages have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them depends on the project’s requirements.

In this article, we will compare the performance of Swift and Objective-C, and analyze which language performs better in terms of speed, memory usage, and other metrics.


Speed is one of the most important metrics for programming languages, as it directly affects the user experience of the application. Swift was designed to be a faster language than Objective-C, and benchmarks show that it is indeed faster in most cases. According to a benchmark conducted by Apple, Swift code can be up to 2.6 times faster than Objective-C code in certain scenarios.

One of the reasons for Swift’s speed is its use of value types instead of reference types. Value types are instances of a struct or enum that are passed by value instead of reference. This means that Swift can optimize the code better by avoiding unnecessary copying and memory allocation.

Objective-C, on the other hand, uses reference types for most objects, which can lead to more memory allocation and copying. However, Objective-C is still a fast language, and its performance is sufficient for most applications.

Memory Usage

Memory usage is another important metric for programming languages, especially for mobile devices with limited memory. Swift is designed to be more memory-efficient than Objective-C. Swift’s use of value types instead of reference types leads to less memory allocation and less memory overhead. In addition, Swift uses automatic reference counting (ARC) to manage memory, which automatically deallocates objects when they are no longer needed.

Objective-C also uses ARC to manage memory, but its use of reference types can lead to more memory allocation and more memory overhead. However, Objective-C has been around for much longer than Swift, and many developers have written memory-efficient Objective-C code over the years.


Compatibility is another important factor to consider when choosing a programming language. Swift is not fully backwards compatible with Objective-C, which means that some Objective-C code cannot be directly translated into Swift. However, Apple has made it easy to use Objective-C code in Swift projects through bridging headers and interoperability features.

Objective-C, on the other hand, is fully compatible with C, which makes it easier to use C libraries and frameworks in Objective-C projects. Objective-C can also be used with Swift through bridging headers and interoperability features.


Syntax is a matter of personal preference, and some developers prefer Swift’s syntax over Objective-C’s syntax, while others prefer the opposite. Swift’s syntax is more concise and modern, while Objective-C’s syntax is more verbose and traditional.

Swift’s use of optionals, guard statements, and type inference makes code more readable and easier to understand. Objective-C’s use of square brackets and multiple method arguments can make code harder to read and understand.

Future development

Apple has been actively promoting and developing Swift, while deprecating Objective-C. With the introduction of Swift, Apple made it clear that Swift is the future of iOS app development. Apple has been releasing new features and updates to Swift regularly, and has made it easier for developers to migrate their existing Objective-C code to Swift.

Apple has also been adding new frameworks and APIs that are only available in Swift, which further encourages developers to adopt the language. For example, the SwiftUI framework, which was introduced in 2019, is only available in Swift and provides a modern, declarative way of building user interfaces.

In conclusion, Swift is the future of iOS app development, and its popularity is increasing rapidly. Swift’s modern syntax, safety features, and performance make it an attractive choice for developers. While Objective-C still has its place in iOS development, its usage is expected to decrease over time as more developers adopt Swift.