I've looked on Stack Overflow, and it seems that most people have been recomending books as the best iPhone development resource due to the lack of resources on the web. I've seen the book the The Pragmatic Programmer: iPhone SDK development been recomended a few times.

I'm planning to go buy a couple of books. Which should I go for? Please give reason :)

A bit of background : I have a strong background in C, and I've played around with Cocoa so something iPhone specific would be best (but I'm open for suggestions ;))

Update I'm not looking for simple listings of iPhone SDK related books, I can google that ;) I want books that people are reading/have read and would recomend :)

Final Update I just ordered my copy of Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK. My main reasons on chosing it are that it's already in print (unlike the pragmatic one) and I looked at the preview on their website and I liked it.

27 accepted

I've been reading Beginning iPhone Development and really enjoying it (currently at Ch. 6). Some things I like about it:

  • Very clear step by step walk-through of what to do and why.
  • The authors take time to explain related topics as you go.
  • Support forums to ask additional questions and report errors.

I've been working with Erica Sadun's "The iPhone Developer's Cookbook" of late, and have found it quite useful in getting up to speed, but also moderately frustrating. My frustration stems from the author's resistance to structuring projects using the file layout and program structure favored by Apple.

Basically, all of the examples pile the whole of the program structure into a single file, rather than the generally accepted practice of separating out header and class files. Additionally, the author has a propensity for recommending the use of unpublished or private frameworks, which while it works, can be dangerous. John Gruber gives a much more elaborate explanation of this issue.

All in all, the style of the book can make apples-to-apples comparisons between example projects in the book and code one encounters in the wild a little tricky. I'm not necessarily advising you to steer clear of it -- a lot of it is quite useful, particularly if you're coming to this with some established understanding of program and project structure in Xcode) -- I just wouldn't use it as your only resource.


I love the Pragmatic book. The book is still in beta, and they add content/make corrections to it as readers comment about what they would like to see in the forum.

They also have a couple of great screencasts at $5 per episode (one on iPhone, one on Obj-C). They also are very generous in answering questions on their forum.

I also have handy Programming in Objective-C, by Stephan Kochan. I came to iPhone development from Flash and ActionScript, so the Obj-C book is required!


You should buy them ALL. Seriously, there are only three or four of them. You should also read all of the Apple docs on iPhone development (which are like books, but free) and delve deep into the sample projects. Additionally, you should consider springing for the WWDC 2008 video set if you can afford it. It's 500 bucks but there are a LOT of videos and it's info straight from the horses mouth so to speak.

After that you should set your target on a simple project of your own devising, and learn what you need to know to get it built.

There are a lot of moving parts to iPhone development, but once you get rolling, you will find them all fall into place. Good luck!


For general cocoa programing check out Cocoa Programming for Mac. This is a bit more general purpose but helps with iPhone Development.


Seconding Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche's Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring iPhone SDK from Apress. I've been enjoying it. I'd recommend pairing it with Learn Objective?C on the Mac, unlike older Objective-C books covers Objective-C 2.0 and the syntactic sugar you'll likely see in iPhone examples.

Although Apress sells a PDF eBook only version for $28, sadly that's more than what Amazon charges .

A little trick though, if you want to be cheap (and perhaps a bit dishonest), bring an iPhone with you to Barnes and Noble and follow the discount eBook URL from the back page. They just ask a question like 'What's the first word on Page 35', use the book in front of you to provide the answer and voila: you can buy it at the discounted $10 PDF ebook add-on price. You can do the same with the Objective-C book too. Note, Apress eBooks are locked with your email address as a password so they may not work with all PDF readers.

Once you get to the later chapters, they just touch the surface on OpenGL ES stuff, so you may want to check out Jeff LaMarche's blog's or this blog for more OpenGL tutorials.


I've read "iPhone Open Application Development", "iPhone SDK Application Development" and "iPhone SDK Development (Pragmatic Bookshelf)".

Out of all of these I prefer the Pragmatic book the most. The Open Application Development book, is useful if you don't want to use Xcode (ie: developing on non-Mac platform), but otherwise it is too much trouble. Many of the examples do not work (this is even with the "update 2.0 edition"!) I haven't checked there website if they have updated code samples though.

Also by Jonathan Zdziarski (iPhone SDK Application Development), I found this book rushed and doesn't give the reader enough information to go from A to B. And the lack of the use of Interface Builder is very limmiting as Interface Builder is one of the most useful tools in iPhone development.

The last book I got (iPhone SDK Dev from the Pragmatic Bookshelf) has been the best of all three. It is full of information, it is being updated as we speak to include some 3.0 goodies and most of all it fills in all the gaps so the reader is not left wondering how on earth he/she can do simple tasks.

The last book will be my main reference out of the three :)