Xcode 12 – All new features and improvements

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The new Xcode 12 beta has just been released. Apple developers get a redesigned development environment, a more efficient workflow and great new features. In this post, we’re going to introduce you to all of the important new features that come with Xcode 12.

You can download the Xcode 12 Beta here. Note that you need to run at least MacOS Catalina for running Xcode 12 properly.

Let’s start with probably the most noticeable novelty.

New Look 🎨

At the WWDC20, Apple presented the new MacOS Big Sur which brings a completely revised design and a new visual aesthetic. The look of Xcode 12 has also been adapted to this, which now looks even cleaner and tidier and we think it’s a pretty cool new feature.

Particularly noticeable is the newly designed toolbar with modernised controls and icons. But also the inspectors have been updated.

With Xcode 12, the font size of the Navigator area automatically matches the system’s general sidebar setting. But you can also change adjust the Navigator area font size by going opening Preferences and choosing the “Navigator Size” under the “General” tab.


What’s also super cool is that while Xcode 12 is in fullscreen, you can easily close the left side menu and extend it by moving the mouse to the left edge of the screen. This allows you to work even more space-efficiently.

Document Tabs  📑

Finally, in Xcode 12, you can now easily work in multiple tabs to speed up your workflow massively.

Let’s say you want to keep a file open by holding it in a new tab. To open a new tab, just double click on the respective file in the navigator area or hold down option while you click on it.


You can simply rearrange your tabs by dragging them and close them again by clicking on the “X”. 

The document tab feature works regardless of the type of content you want to open in a new tab.

You can also create a split editor and load a whole bunch of files as tabs into it. When you’re done working on these, you can close the split editor again.


More Power to SwiftUI 🚀

Xcode 12 ships with a SwiftUI framework that is as fast as never before. New SwiftUI views like Labels, Grids and Toolbars were added. The new features of SwiftUI are a broad topic, therefore, we dedicated an own post to this (coming soon).

What can already be noted at this point is that the SwiftUI previews work much faster. They now also have a revised toolbar with new and improved functionality. 

You can now also design your own views and add them to the View Library.

As said, the functionality of SwiftUI has been greatly expanded and the framework has been significantly improved. Make sure you check out this article to know about all the new SwiftUI features in detail (coming soon).

Another cool thing is the new App API and lifecycle that was added to SwiftUI. No AppDelegate and no storyboards needed anymore are used anymore to code an app. Everything can be done by using 100% SwiftUI

In addition, with Xcode 12 and SwiftUI Apple is encouraging even more to develop apps that run cross-platform on iOS, iPadOS and macOS. 

This is noticeable by the fact that Xcode 12 automatically develops so-called multiplatform app templates. In the Navigator Area you can see a group folder “Shared”, which contains e.g. the view files that are used by all platforms. There are also other folders where system-specific adjustments can be made.

Enhanced Code Completion and Auto-Intendation ☑️

One of the other new cool features of Xcode 12 is that code completion works now even faster. Another cool feature introduced with Xcode 12 is that code completion automatically inserts placeholders for the required arguments. So you don’t need to worry about any compile errors while writing down your code using code completion.


Furthermore, auto-indentation was improved and works faster and more reliable now. Especially when working with SwiftUI and inserting modifiers etc. this difference is especially noticeable.

Developing Universal Apps 🌎

Apple has also announced that in the medium term they will no longer use Intel chips, but will introduce their own hardware, called “Apple Silicon”. 

But that shouldn’t worry you too much. Apps developed with Xcode 12 will run without problems on Intel-based devices as well as on the future Apple Silicon hardware. And even apps developed in the past only need to be recompiled once, so they’re ready for future Mac systems with just one click. 

New Testing Functionality 🧪

[Coming soon]

Conclusion 🎊

As you can see, Xcode 12 introduced some changes, cool new features and improvements. Most noticeable is that Apple is pushing and expanding its SwiftUI framework even further. So it’s crucial to learn SwiftUI, if you haven’t done so yet. You can download our free SwiftUI Basics eBook.

Which new feature do you like best? Does something bother you about the update or do you miss certain features? Let us know in the comments.

One reply on “Xcode 12 – All new features and improvements”

I would like to know more about new SwiftUI features and new testing functionality.

Thank you for this information. I was not aware that version 12 was out.

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