How to use a pre-release Swift version in Xcode

⋅ 2 min read ⋅ Xcode

Table of Contents

Each Xcode version comes with a specific Swift toolchain, but you don't have to wait for a new Xcode version to try the new Swift features. This article will show you how to use Swift 5.5 snapshot in Xcode 12.5 (Xcode 12.5 comes with Swift 5.4).

Installing Alternative Swift Toolchains

You can find the newest Swift snapshots from the Official Swift website under the Download menu.

Swift 5.5 Snapshots.
Swift 5.5 Snapshots.

You will get package installer file like this.

Package installer.
Package installer.

Run the package installer and simply follow the installer steps, which will install an Xcode toolchain into /Library/Developer/Toolchains/. In this example it would install at /Library/Developer/Toolchains/swift-5.5-DEVELOPMENT-SNAPSHOT-2021-06-02-a.xctoolchain.

Choose the new toolchain in Xcode

After installing a new toolchain, we need to tell Xcode to use this new toolchain. We have two ways to do this.

Toolchains menu

You can find the Toolchains menu under Xcode menu, where you can easily switch between installed Swift toolchains.

Toolchains menu.
Toolchains menu.

Components preferences

Open Xcode’s Preferences (⌘ - command + ,), navigate to Components tab, then select Toolchains. You will see all available toolchains, select our newly installed one.

When an alternative toolchain is chosen, you will see a new toolchain indicator in Xcode's toolbar. Click indicator icon will open up Components preferences, where you can change back to the default one.

Toolchain indicator.
Toolchain indicator.

Xcode uses the selected toolchain for building Swift code, debugging, and even code completion and syntax coloring.


Selecting a Swift toolchain in Xcode will affect the Xcode IDE only. It won't affect any command-line tools.


You can easily uninstall your toolchain in the Toolchains tab under Components preferences.

  1. Open Xcode’s Preferences (⌘ - command + ,), navigate to Components tab, then select Toolchains. You will see all available toolchains.
  2. Hover your mouse over the one you want to uninstall, and you will see a cog icon appear.
  3. Select "Move to Trash".

You can also manually delete it from /Library/Developer/Toolchains/.

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