The iOS community is lucky enough to have a great number of conferences held around the world every year, so no matter where you live there should be something only a short distance away. Of course, if you’d prefer to travel somewhere fun to learn Swift, that sounds even better, right?
Below you can find the list of conferences that I think are most likely to provide a great experience for attendees, both in terms of things you'll learn and also social events. I have included dates below where they have been announced. Where 2019 editions haven’t been announced yet, I’ve included last year’s month with a question mark.
Full disclosure: I’m speaking at several of these, including iOS Conf SG, MobOS, and iOSCon.
January 17th-19th, Singapore (Link)
The largest iOS conference in south-east Asia is expanding this year to include a workshop day, so it now spans three days in total. Every year they put together a fantastic range of speakers, and this year is no different: Soroush Khanlou, Agnes Vasarhelyi, Vincent Pradeilles, and more are ready to teach you something new about Swift.
January 28th, Paris, France (Link)
dotSwift remains one of the most unique conferences in the iOS world: they always use gorgeous venues, speakers are given short 18-minute slots to make their point, and all laptops and phones must be switched off during sessions. In short, everyone who attends focuses entirely on the talks as opposed to chatting on Slack, so there’s no chance to drift off and miss something important.
February 14th-16th, Cluj Napoca, Romania (Link)
Returning for the sixth year in a row, MobOS is the largest and most important iOS conference in Romania. Cluj Napoca is well known as being a tech hub of eastern Europe, and this year you can expect a lot of fresh ideas because their theme is “Beyond Platforms”.
March 12th-15th, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Link)
Appdevcon is a multi-platform conference that takes place across multiple cinema screens, and – as you might imagine – that means you get to learn Swift while eating popcorn. Their approach has always been “by developers, for developers”, so the talks here are usually highly technical and cover topics you can apply to your own projects easily.
March 21st-22nd, London, England (Link)
iOSCon takes place every year at CodeNode in the center of London, which is a huge venue with a spacious breakout area where you can meet other attendees. They have two tracks running at the same time from a great line-up of speakers, so you’re bound to find something to learn throughout the day.
March 21st-23rd, Tokyo, Japan (Link)
try! Swift won Best Conference in the 2018 Swift Community Awards, and it’s easy to see why: their focus on building a warm and welcoming atmosphere means they have an inclusive and exciting speaker line up, plus they have workshops that will help push your Swift skills further.
April 17th-18th, Chicago, USA (Link)
As the spiritual successor of the hugely successful CocoaConf events, Swift by Midwest already has the interest of many people. When you add in their speaker list – Daniel Steinberg, James Dempsey, Liz Marley, and more – you realize this is going to be a hugely popular event.
April 29th-30th, Lugano, Switzerland (Link)
App Builders used to travel around different cities in Switzerland, but since they discovered the astonishingly beautiful city of Lugano they’ve stayed put. This event welcomes both iOS and Android developers, and does a great job of giving everyone lots of new things to think about.
May 26th-29th, Berlin, Germany (Link)
UIKonf were one of the pioneers of using social events to help attendees make friends, but they also have a long-standing reputation for being able to attract a diverse range of speakers thanks to their system of using community voting for talks. Come for the fun social events; stay for the Swift.
June, probably San Jose, USA (Link)
Although WWDC isn’t a community-run event, no Apple conference listing could miss it off. For many people it’s like Christmas; for others it’s the most hectic week of the year. But we can all agree that Apple are guaranteed to surprise and delight us each time.
If you aren’t one of the lucky 5000 to get a ticket, you can also attend one of the fringe events. Although they haven’t announced yet, it’s almost certain that we’ll see AltConf return for another year, and perhaps we’ll also see repeats of NextDoor, try! Swift, and Layers.
June?, Aveiro, Portugal (Link)
SwiftAveiro follows the mentoring workshop model pioneered by the Swift Alps, but exchanges snowy mountains for sunny beaches. Wait! Don’t book your ticket just yet – at least let me finish. There are 10 mentors to choose from over the two days, meaning that you’ll get to attend 6 out of the 10 possible workshops. This takes place shortly after WWDC, so it’s the first chance most people have to dive deep into new iOS goodies…
June 26th-28th, Barcelona, Spain (Link)
ADDC brings together both developers and designers in a single-track event, which means it walks a fine line: with everyone in the same room no talk can be too code-heavy or too design-heavy, because it would alienate half the audience. If that sounds good to you, wait until they announce their party…
July 3rd-4th, Texel, The Netherlands (Link)
Another conference taking inspiration from the Swift Alps, Swift Island focuses on small groups of folks working in pairs to complete workshops. Everyone codes, everyone meets new people, and everyone has a great time – all set on an idyllic island off the coast of the Netherlands. Seriously, just take a look at the conference photos and you'll be wowed.
August 25th-28th, Denver, USA (Link)
360|iDev is one of the largest Apple-focused conferences in the world, delivering topics across all Apple platforms from a huge range of speakers. Last year alone featured Mohammad Azam, Greg Heo, Ellen Mey, Rob Napier, and more, plus they have dedicated workshop days to help you deep dive into specific technical topics.
September 2nd-5th, Aberystwyth, Wales (Link)
Although it’s the UK’s longest running iOS conference, what really sets iOSDevUK apart is how many folks come back year after year – it’s a staggering proportion, which says a lot for how much folks love this event. There are workshops at the start and end of the week, but in between you’ll find lots of talks to inspire and excite you.
September, New York, USA (Link)
Similar in style to its Tokyo counterpart, this edition of try! Swift has an unparalleled list of speaker alumni and a reputation for being welcoming and inclusive. Past editions have lasted three days including workshops, so it’s likely this year will be the same.
September?, Stockholm, Sweden (Link)
Swift & Fika had their first event just last year, and it was a huge success – a sell-out crowd, a great range of speakers, and of course lots of delicious Swedish pastries. Although they haven’t announced anything for this year yet, I’m crossing my fingers…
September?, Logroño, Spain (Link)
Of all the conferences in all the world, this is the one you’ll most often hear people talking about. This is partly because of their incredible back catalog of videos from previous years, partly because they fly in such a massive range of international speakers, but mostly because year after year they put on such a welcoming and community-driven event that’s packed with new things to learn.
September?, Cologne, Germany (Link)
This event evolved out of ObjCGN, but its mission has stayed the same: to provide a small, friendly environment in the center of Europe, where everyone can come to learn about iOS, macOS, Vapor, and more. I had the chance to speak here last year, and I have to admit that their outdoor beer and barbecue session was a real highlight!
October?, Italy (Link)
Pragma started in 2013, but missed a year in 2018. We’re all hoping to see it return in 2019, because this community-run event has something for everyone: hands-on workshops, a single track of international speakers, and a legendary after party.
October?, Krakow, Poland (Link)
Another event that takes place in a cinema, Mobiconf blends iOS, Android, and UX into a multi-track event that continues to resonate with attendees. With such a huge venue to work with, and in one of Poland’s most beautiful cities, it’s no surprise that Mobiconf has already has five successful years and is likely to return again in 2019.
November?, Italy (Link)
Last year was the first for Swift Heroes, so it was remarkable to see them fill such a large venue with excited developers. As a two-track event there’s a lot to take in, but fortunately you’ll have some excellent Italian coffee to keep you going.
November?, Crans-Montana, Switzerland (Link)
This launched as an experimental event in the alps, but has since proven such a success that its format has inspired other similar events elsewhere. The concept is simple enough: on each of the two days you can attend workshops by three mentors, you’ll pair program with someone you haven’t met before, and you’ll tackle challenges such as debugging, networking, Siri shortcuts, and more. I know many people are unsure about workshops, but if you attend Swift Alps your mind will be changed forever.
Paul Hudson is the creator of Hacking with Swift, the most comprehensive series of Swift books in the world. He's also the editor of Swift Developer News, the maintainer of the Swift Knowledge Base, and Mario Kart world champion. OK, so that last part isn't true. If you're curious you can learn more here.