Swift Playgrounds Will Soon Be Able to Program and Control Robots, Drones, and Toys

Apple today announced that Swift Playgrounds, its iPad app aimed at making learning how to code interactive and fun, will be able to program and control robots, drones, musical instruments, and other toys when the latest version of the app is released at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

swift playgrounds children playing robots
Swift Playgrounds version 1.5, set to be released on June 5, will support several popular Bluetooth-enabled devices, including LEGO's MINDSTORMS Education EV3 robot, Sphero's SPRK+ robotic ball and BB-8 droid, UBTECH's Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, Dash by Wonder Workshop, Parrot drones, and other toys.

“More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

Apple invited a small group of reporters to its Cupertino headquarters to demo the functionality, including Engadget, which put together a brief video showing off the programmable toys in action.


Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge to begin with. Kids and adults alike learn how to code by completing a collection of coding lessons and challenges, and the ability to program and control robots, drones, and musical instruments will make it all the more fun. The app uses Apple's own programming language, Swift.

Swift Playgrounds is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, and iPad mini 2 or newer.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
58 months ago
But all MacRumors readers care about is whether or not you'll be able to use Swift Playgrounds to control the production of new Macs.



Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mikethemartian Avatar
58 months ago
Does anyone remember the Logo programming language?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
58 months ago
Does anyone remember the Logo programming language?
Yes, did that on my Commodore 64. Swift (from the screen shots) reminded me a lot of Logo.
I do! :)
I used it at school 25 years ago, it was funny and helped a lot learning about simple programming patterns.
Yes, that was what I first learned on in 3rd grade on an Apple IIe. I did it faster and quicker than my peers so the teacher didn't let me do any more thinking I'd be a distraction. So she put me on a reading course on the computer. Not as much fun.
I managed to dig this out of my closet. It predates me by over a decade, but I remember it fondly:



Attachment Image
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
58 months ago
Something that would get huge cheers from the crowd on Monday would be Xcode for iPad. I wonder if that will ever happen.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleaker Avatar
58 months ago
Its really cool to have a 1st party Apple app to do this.
Again, it seems like they could be making time for certain other announcements at WWDC.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
58 months ago
Sounds like this got cut from the presentation at the last minute because they kept going over on time—that's exciting news! My daughter is still a toddler but I'm definitely going to teach her to code and apps like this are going to be super useful. I think in the future knowing a programming language will just be like knowing any other language and maybe even necessary for most jobs.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
Pixel Stand 23W 668x445

Google Pixel 6 Rumored to Support 23W Wireless Charging, Beating iPhone 12's MagSafe

Wednesday September 1, 2021 1:54 am PDT by
Google is rumored to be working on a new wireless charging stand that could deliver 23W of charging power to its upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, according to a leaked inventory image published by Android Police. Image via Android Police. If true, that would beat the iPhone 12's maximum 15W wireless charging speed (or 12W on ‌iPhone 12 mini‌) using Apple's MagSafe charger, and...