Guide: How to Find and Hire Expert Remote iOS Developers for Your App?

Sep 18, 2022

According to Evans Data, there are already 12 million mobile app developers in the world and their number keeps rising. This is more than the population of such European countries like Belgium or Norway and Ireland combined. This would also be true if every person in both New York and Los Angeles was a mobile app developer.

That’s exactly why people think that hiring an expert iOS programmer will take just a few hours or a day (in the worst case). Yet, often this process is more like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Your perfect iOS developer. You just have to find him! (*image by [Mat Helme]({ rel="nofollow" .default-md}*)

Your perfect iOS developer. You just have to find him! (image by Mat Helme)

But stay calm and keep on reading, cause today we’re going to share with you some useful tips that will help you to find and hire the best iOS developers among all!

📝 Preparation Stage: Define Your Requirements Crystal Clear

If you set your aim as “find an iOS developer”, it sounds like “I need to buy a car”.

Do you need the one like this? Or maybe this? Or something different at all?

Do you need the one like this? Or maybe this? Or something different at all?

The same is true about the app developers. Until you set clear and detailed requirements, you won’t know who you are looking for. And, therefore, you won’t be able to find him!

So here are a few ideas of what skills and characteristics you may be looking for in your possible iOS programmers:

  • Years of experience. Juniors usually have less than 2 years of experience, middles – 2-5 years, and seniors 5+ years.
  • Familiarity with specific technologies (for example, CoreData, GCD, MVC, SQLite, OAuth and others).
  • Education (usually a degree in Computer Science or related) or equivalent experience.
  • General understanding of the development processes (the entire app life cycle) and methods (Scrum/Kanban).
  • Any other requirements that you consider important - like experience in working with AR, or Payment Processors like Stripe or finished Ecommerce projects.

Take a look at one of the vacancies from Linkedin to understand what I mean:

Think your requirements through and out

Think your requirements through and out

See? The author highlighted all the main requirements (and even a bit more) so now it’s clear as a bell what kind of a developer he is looking for.

So after setting clear requirements you will have 3 options to choose from or 3 ways to follow if you plan to find a remote iOS-Developer for your Product Team:

  1. Look for a freelancer.
  2. Hire a remote contract full-time developer.
  3. Use the services of an out staffing agency.

Which choice will be the best for you? Let’s find out together right now!

👱 Option # 1: Hire a Freelancer

When people are looking for iOS developers for hire, freelancers are often a popular option to consider. But let’s take a closer look.

When should you look for a freelancer?

If you’re interested to hire experienced and reliable mobile developers who will work with you for a long time and on many different projects, then freelancers aren’t the best solution for you.

The search for this type of developer may be reasonable when you need someone to work on one specific project for a limited time. For example, he may be asked to implement some features/technologies into your app, fix bugs, update the UI or build it from scratch but without further support. Check this Upwork page with job offers for iOS developers to see real examples:

Freelance jobs posted at Upwork

Where to look for freelance app developers?

We just mentioned Upwork - this website and other similar freelance boards are the most obvious places to start your search. It’s up to you which one to choose.

There are 2 main strategies you are free to choose from. Let’s call them “active” and “passive” ones:

  • If you urgently need to find iOS developers, you’d better stick to the active strategy. This means looking for appropriate app developers and hit them with a message on your own. It will take some time and efforts but the chances to find someone and pick the more relevant as soon as possible are also higher.
  • On the other hand, if you’re not in a hurry, you can just post a job offer and wait until you start getting requests from freelancers. Then you are free to carefully review their profiles and make a choice. But be careful! You’ll also get tons of spam bids from freelancers who haven’t even read your job description.
Example of a job offer from Upwork

Example of a job offer from Upwork

Another popular way to find a freelance mobile developer is social networks. Not a surprise, huh? We spend so much time there that you can find your future wife, order a pizza, sell your car and set an appointment with a doctor - all without leaving your Facebook account.

So how exactly can social media channels help you?

  • Facebook

First of all, you can write a post on your/your company’s page that will include the needed keywords (for example, “freelance iOS developer”, “iOS freelancer” and others) and ask your friends to repost it. After that you will just have to wait until someone finds your post using keywords or notices it in the feed.

You can also try searching with keywords on your own but, frankly speaking, this isn’t the most effective way to find iOS developers.

  • Twitter

In our opinion, Twitter is a more suitable platform if you need to hire an app freelancer. Simply put, it’s easier and faster to find someone there than on Facebook. But the available strategies are almost the same.

The easiest option is to leave a tweet with “iOS developer” in it. Even if you just ask “Do I know any iOS developers?”, believe me, you can get about 20 responses or even more in the first 24 hours.

Do some search on your own! For example, write “freelance iOS developer” and then select the “people” tab like on the screen below:


There you will find a list of people who put mentioned keywords in the description of their profile. Click here and you will see what I mean :)

  • LinkedIn

The general idea is the same: use the search! Type “Freelance iOS developer” or “iOS freelancer” and carefully study the results.

Since LinkedIn is an employment-oriented social network, you may narrow down the results using additional criteria. For example, specify the request using your requirements to developers: add programming languages or technologies.

LinkedIn search

LinkedIn search

One more way to find a freelance iOS developer is to check professional communities like Github. This is the place where developers share samples of source codes and ask other developers for help if they can’t solve a task. If you have some development experience or you’re a CTO in your team, you can get the impression of developers’ skills based on his code and it can help you to decide.

To find iOS developers on Github, go to the “Users” tab and try using different requests, like:

You can also reach users from the Stackoverflow website. For this purpose, google the following requests:

  • «freelance iOS developer»
  • «iOS freelancer»

And then surf through the list of relevant candidates!

Finally, you can ask your friends about good freelance developers that they can recommend. This option may be the most trustworthy since your friends won’t lie you about their experience and you can get a pretty detailed description of your potential employee.

What are the pros and cons of such a solution?

Simply put, advantages and disadvantages of hiring a freelance iOS developer are the following:

Advantages of hiring freelancers:

  1. There are thousands of freelancers all over the world so you won’t face troubles with finding one ➡️ you will have a wide choice.
  2. It’s often the cheapest option.
  3. You pay only when there are tasks for him. If there’s no work - you just put the contract on hold.
  4. You don’t have to think about organizational matters e.g. arrangement of the working place, salary, vacations, taxes and so on as it’s a subcontractor and not an employee.

Disadvantages of hiring freelance developers:

  • Freelancers usually have less experience as they don’t work closely with other developers.
  • Since there are no mediators between you and your remote freelance worker, nobody can guarantee you that he won’t just disappear one day. Unluckily, this is a very common situation.
  • Since freelancers are used to switching between different projects, they often get bored if they’ve stuck on one project for a long time. So if you are looking for a long-term cooperation, be aware of that too.
  • While working on your project, the freelancer may already be seeking for another job and vice versa.
  • Risk to fail Deadlines.
  • You’re never sure that he is working only on your project as other clients can also ping him.

What will be our brief conclusion? Choosing a freelancer to work on your project is usually a pretty risky decision. You can spend your time and money but eventually get an unsatisfactory result from the unskilled contractor.

So, let’s talk about another option - a remote full-time contract developer.

👨‍💻 Option # 2: Hire a Digital Nomad

You will have better chances to find an app developer if you consider working with a remote full-time contract developer. They are often called digital nomads (you can read a bit more on Wikipedia) so we will use this term too.

A true digital nomad needs only this and nothing else (*image by [Meg]({ rel="nofollow" .default-md}*)

A true digital nomad needs only this and nothing else (image by Meg)

When may you need their services?

First and foremost, you may be wondering what are the main differences between freelancers and remote full-time contract developers. Here they are:

Freelancer 👱

Digital Nomad 👨‍💻

Usually hired for a limited time to work on one specific project.

Usually hired as a regular full-time employee who can work together with your team on different projects.

As a rule of thumb, most freelancers don’t sign contracts.

He works with you on the basis of a contract in which the conditions, rights and obligations of the parties are clearly spelled out.

Gets paid for each hour of work or for the whole project so it’s hard to plan the budget.

Has a predictable monthly salary written in the contract.

Can work on multiple projects at the same time.

Works only with your team.

Is always searching for new jobs as he has no stable income.

Has signed a contract with you, so he’s focusing on your project and not on anything else.

To sum up, if you are looking for iOS developers for hire on a full-time basis, digital nomads are definitely the better option for you than freelancers. So the most obvious case is when you need a full-time developer that will have a stable workflow and will work closely to the rest of your team. Also, they can be easily switched between different projects and are more suitable for a long-term cooperation in general.

How to find a remote contract iOS developer?

Firstly, let’s remember the power of the almighty social networks. Digital nomads spend there no less time than freelancers. Moreover, your possible workflow here is the same too!

So as not to duplicate the same information twice, we will just recommend you to change the keywords. This will allow you to get more relevant search results:

  • Remove the words “freelance” and “freelancer” from your requests.
  • Try using the words “full-time”, “on contract”, “contract full-time iOS developer”, “remote” and other similar.
  • If you decided to send a tweet or write a post on Facebook, specify that you are looking for a full-time developer who agrees to work on the basis of a contract. That will help you to weed out freelancers.

Moreover, now all the LinkedIn CVs are uploaded to SlideShare as well (unless you didn’t choose an option “Don’t upload to SlideShare”). To find the most relevant ones for you, use Google. To narrow down the results, you can add “intitle:cv” or “intitle:resume”.

For example:

  • intitle:resume remote developer iOS
  • intitle:cv remote developer iOS

Professional communities (like already mentioned Github or Stackoverflow) are also great spots to find an app developer. How to use them? Let me show you.

You can follow this link to see the list of iOS developers from Github. But since there are over 8000 results it will be difficult to figure out who really worth your attention. Thus, we recommend you to use advanced search. Click here and scroll down to the “Users options” as on the screenshot below:

Advanced search on Github

Advanced search on Github

There you are able to specify:

  • location (country or city);
  • number of followers and public repositories (the more user has, the higher are the chances that he is good at coding);
  • programming languages (since you are interested in Apple app developers for hire, you should be looking for Swift or Objective-C).

The strategy when surfing through Stackoverflow is a bit different. Instead of using the search on the website itself, we recommend to use Google. So as to get the most relevant results, you should specify your request as following:

  • «remote iOS developer»

As a result, you will get the list of users who may potentially become your remote iOS programmers.

You can use Google to surf through the other sites as well

You can use Google to surf through the other sites as well

You may also post a job using boards similar to Upwork, like Remoteok or Working Nomads. There you have a chance to find remote qualified developers who are ready to work on contract. However, using these services isn’t free. For posting a job offer you may be charged about $150-$300.

AngelList is a platform for startups where you can also try to hire iOS developers. All you have to do is to follow the link, sign up and post a job with the Flag “Remote OK”. Since there are over 400,000 developers with 6,000 weekly increase, your chance to find an appropriate candidate on remote here is pretty high.

Or you can type your request (for example, “iOS developer”) and switch to the “People” tab:


Finally, you can still ask your friends, partners or colleagues from the IT industry for a recommendation.

Advantages and disadvantages of hiring digital nomads

When planning to hire a remote full-time contract developer, you should consider the following points:

Advantages of hiring a digital nomad:

  1. This group of Apple app developers for hire is usually more experienced than freelancers. They are ready to become a part of the team for a long period and have enough development expertise to be able to complete different tasks.
  2. Consider the contract as a great advantage, too. It leaves almost no room for misunderstanding, clearly outlines the obligations and rights of the parties.
  3. Digital nomads are usually more reliable and not tend to disappear.

Disadvantages of hiring a digital nomad:

  • You have no substitution in case of emergencies, sick leave and other unforeseen situations.
  • Since there are no middlemen, you will have to take care of all organizational issues on your own (salary, a system of motivation, vacations and so on).
  • Possible discipline issues since he works remotely from your team. Moreover, the difference in the time zones may play its role too.
  • Generally, the main concern is not enough ability to control the developer.

Finally, there is one more option to consider - outstaffing services.

👨‍🎓 Option # 3: Hire iOS Developers Through a Digital Agency

If you are looking for a serious development partner, you should pay most attention to this part of our article. Why? Because it’s the most reliable and suitable option in many cases!

When will a mobile agency be the best choice for you?

Outstaffing is a type of remote cooperation when you hire a specific employee from the IT agency to work in your company. Usually, you tell the agency about the project and your needs and they provide you with a professional (or several ones, if you need) who will become a remote member of your team and will adjust to your internal processes.

*Image by [Zazuly Aziz]({ rel="nofollow" .default-md}*

Image by Zazuly Aziz

Contacting an outstaffing agency will be the most reasonable way to choose if you are looking for experienced long-term partners either for some specific project or to work as full-time developers (but without the disadvantages of digital nomads who work on their own).

Where to find a perfect outstaffing agency?

The process of searching, in this case, is similar to the ones we reviewed before but it has some slight differences.

As you might expect, as well as independent developers, outstaffing companies can be found through social networks, too. They usually have corporate accounts so don’t be confused when you receive a message not from a person:

The same is true for other social networks, so you can take your chances on Facebook and Linkedin as well.

Also, if you aren’t new to the mobile industry, you probably know other founders, CEOs and CTOs and Tech-Leads. Talk to them. If they have someone to recommend, they will likely do. Moreover, this source of information is the most reliable one so don’t underestimate its importance.

Another online spot where you can discover an agency and eventually find an app developer is companies’ tech blogs. The workflow is simple as that:

  1. Google the request regarding your interests (or the future field of work of your potential employee). For example, “create a navigation app”.
  2. Now you will see the list of the relevant web pages. The point is that they usually lead directly to companies’ websites.
  3. By checking a few of their articles and looking through their portfolio you can get the impression of how skillful these guys are and contact them.

And, again, you may try your luck with professionals communities and lists of mobile app development companies. Clutch, already mentioned AngelList and others include information about hundreds of agencies, their location, specialization and other useful characteristics that will help you to find Apple app developers for hire.

However, be careful. Just scrolling through company lists can’t give you a feel of how those companies work, and what’s more important - in which atmosphere your future iOS Developer is working, as this is what we’re aiming for, right?

List of the mobile companies from AngelList

List of the mobile companies from AngelList

Pros and cons of cooperating with a Mobile agency

So here are the benefits and possible risks of having the outsourcing agency as a partner:

Advantages of using agencies' services:

  1. If you want to find iOS developers with a solid experience and expertise under his belt, outstaffing agencies are the best option for you. They provide their partners with the most skillful professionals.
  2. The agency takes care of all organizational issues (like salary, motivation, vacations, sick leave and so on) and provides substitution in case of emergencies.
  3. Your developer definitely won’t disappear as he’s under control of your partner agency.
  4. It’s cheaper than hiring a full-time local employee You also don’t have to pay taxes, insurance and cover other employee-related costs.
  5. The Developers of your partner agency communicate inside of the team and gain experience from one another; digital nomads and freelancers - don’t.
  6. A project manager will assist to cover possible communication issues and make sure that the process goes smooth.
  7. Price is usually same as for a digital nomad.

Disadvantages of using agencies' services:

  • If you and your partner agency are located in different countries or even on different continents, you may face communication holdups. Yet, this can be easily solved by adjusting schedules.
  • Cultural differences can significantly affect the development process in a bad way. So as to avoid this, look for agencies and iOS programmers who have a mindset similar to yours.

So far we reviewed many different ways to find iOS developers for hire. But how to understand that this candidate perfectly suits your needs and is the one you should recruit? That’s what our next paragraph is about!

🤔 Factors to Consider When Choosing an iOS Developer

Before you hire a mobile app developer, we recommend you to think how well he meets the following requirements.

# 1: Experience 🗃️

Developer’s experience is one of the main factors to consider when choosing one. We already mentioned main software developer levels earlier, let’s briefly remind them:

  • Juniors – less than 2 years.
  • Middles – 2-5 years.
  • Seniors – 5+ years.
Experience is an important factor to consider but not the only one (*image by [Susanna Yee]({ rel="nofollow" .default-md}*)

Experience is an important factor to consider but not the only one (image by Susanna Yee)

The general idea is that the longer the person works in the industry, the more knowledge and skills he gets. Moreover, when he faces something that he had never worked with, he will require less time to sort things out.

But let’s be honest - this is also not always working. If a developer says in his CV, that he has 5 years of experience, but those 5 years have been supporting of one single app - how likely is he to be a Senior?

# 2: Expertise on your matter 🎓

Expertise and experience aren’t the same things. Having the expertise on your matter means that the developer has already created similar apps, implemented features or worked with technologies you need for your startup.

When you are looking for remote iOS developers for hire, the best option for you is to stick with someone who already solved the same (or similar) issues and tasks that your development is facing now.

# 3: Location 🌍

Another major factor to consider is the location of your future employee. This may affect:

  • Salary. For example, American developers usually charge 5-10 times more than developers from Eastern Europe (Ukraine, for example).
  • Communication. Cultural barriers and the difference in time zones shouldn’t be ignored as they may cause complicate your project management process.
  • Professionalism. No doubt, theoretically it’s possible to find a good developer in every corner of our big world. Yet, there are many lists and rankings that are made up every year and include countries that provide the best developers. Pay attention to them too.
Location often affects many different factors (*image by [Melissa Tan]({ rel="nofollow" .default-md}*)

Location often affects many different factors (image by Melissa Tan)

# 4: Portfolio 🗂️

Also, always ask for examples of the apps in the development of which your candidate participated. Ask him what specific features he developed during that projects.

Reviewing the portfolio can provide you with the understanding of developer’s skills and experience. Moreover, this is a good way to check how his expertise fits your own project.

Also, spend some time and check his open source code on Github and repositories that he has created or commented. For example, here is the example of repository by the Stormotion team.

LUNSegmentedControl by Stormotion

LUNSegmentedControl by Stormotion
# 5: Communication 💬

Last but not least. The quality of personal communication is essential for the success of your project. Do you get along with your developer? Does he understand your requirements?

Make sure you speak one language (metaphorically and literally) otherwise you may find yourself in a high-risk zone with no way out.

💡 Conclusion

So, these were tips & hints on how to find an iOS developer (and then make the right choice) from the Stormotion team. Three main options you’ve got are:


Hire a Remote Freelancer.2

Recruit a Digital Nomad.3

Contact a Mobile Agency.

Talking about the best places to find candidates for your project, we decided to highlight the following ones:

  • Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin.
  • Professional communities like Github and Gitlab or lists like Clutch and AngelList.
  • Freelance boards like Upwork or Guru.
  • Tech blogs of development companies.
  • Friends’ recommendations.

Finally, so as to make the right choice, always consider this 5 factors:

  1. Experience.
  2. Expertise.
  3. Location.
  4. Portfolio.
  5. Communication.
Looking for a new iOS Developer for your Dream-Team? Contact us and we’ll help you to skyrocket your project!

Charvi Goyal

Building a global developer community to connect the best opportunities to the best talent.