Online or Inexpensive Courses by Apple for Public

Not too long ago I’ve encountered a request in Quora asking about what are some courses offered by Apple that are online or inexpensive. I’d figure it would be better to answer it here for our audience first before letting Quora have it and have it lost in Quora’s sea of endless discourse.

I’ve searched around high and low — mostly via my own memory, some through iTunes, and some from Google and found a number of pretty good materials that I feel qualifies as a “course”. Thankfully, most are offered free of charge. But there are paid courses offered and I’m placing an artificial threshold of $500/course to qualify as “inexpensive”.

It turned out that most of Apple’s inexpensive courses are either themed around programming for their platforms or teaching others to program or apply their platforms. There are a number of enterprise IT focused training programs, but most doesn’t fit my “inexpensive” criteria. These courses are typically managed by LearnQuest and typically costs several thousand dollars per course per person.

Apart from programming and educational materials, Apple have started to provide other courses for the general public. However these are still nascent and have not reach parity to its programming-related content.

Self-Study for the Win!

Programming Related


First and foremost, the annual World-Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) can be considered as a one-week training course. Priced at $1600 for five days plus an after-party can be categorized as “inexpensive” — for those who lives within the vicinity of the conference.  But probably not so much for those who need to pay for accommodation and airfare.

Fortunately, most WWDC session videos are available for free download within days after the session. This is a huge step forward in terms of providing free content — many years ago one would need to subscribe to the developer membership to get the videos and pay an annual fee for the privilege. Even at those times, the session videos were only available a few weeks after completion of the entire WWDC week.

Complement to the WWDC are the API documentations for Apple’s various platforms. These are not just lists of classes and functions, but contains a treasure trove of guides and sample programs as well.

Swift Books

Apple provides two notable free e-books about the Swift programming language. One is more of a tutorial-reference hybrid for the language itself. Whereas the other is how to inter-operate with Objective-C, Apple’s older but more established programming language along with Cocoa – the framework of choice for programming its platforms.

Everyone Can Code

The “everyone can code” initiative is part of a bigger movement to incorporate computer programming in general education curriculums. In short the movement encompasses efforts to get more people to write code outside science and engineering circles.

Apple’s work so far in this initiative is to incorporate Swift in K-12 education, or students of typical ages 6 through 19. It consists of a number of curricula to introduce programming to students — each consisting of a series of e-books for teachers and students forums, as well as the Swift Playground that is mostly geared toward this purpose.

App Development with Swift

This is a year-long curriculum designed to teach high school students to start making apps using the Swift programming language. The curriculum consists of a series of e-books for both students and teachers, sample code, video lessons, and some applications that supports this goal. It is an extension of the Everyone Can Code initiative and more geared towards students who are making app development a career choice.

Education Related

Leadership Series

These are a series of free e-books by Apple Education containing mostly inspirational materials on how Apple products have been used in K-12 education.

Podcast for Educators

This is a series of podcasts in which faculty members share their experiences in adopting Apple products in their respective organizations. Some of these podcasts are fairly old. However if you’re working in an educational institution, you might find something relevant for your organization there.

Everything Else

Everyone Can Create

This is a parallel initiative to Everyone Can Code but targeted for media creators — video, music, photography, and graphic design. However it is still very nascent at the time of this writing, consisting of just two e-books that are still labeled as “Preview”.

GarageBand Lessons

These are hands-on tutorials on using particular instruments that you can access via GarageBand. Some are basic guitar or piano lessons. However a large number are artist lessons delivered by famous musicians — including names like Sarah Bareilles and Colbie Caillat. If you’re a competent guitar or piano player, you can take your skill to the next level by learning these artists’ techniques.

These lessons used to cost $5 each and were only available in select regions. But a few years ago Apple made it all available for free and available in all regions.

Follow these steps to access these lessons:

  1. Start GarageBand.
  2. Select the “File|New…” menu option
  3. In the “Choose a Project” window select “Lesson Store”.
  4. Choose a lesson and start learning.

Note that as of this writing, these lessons are only available in GarageBand for Mac and not on iOS.

Apple Store Workshops

If your town has an Apple Store — a physical retail store run directly by Apple — chances are it would host regular workshop sessions. The topics varies, ranging from sessions how to use their devices effectively, sharing sessions by musicians and artists, and even some business-related sessions. The presenter also varies from Apple’s retail store employees to local artists and businesspeople.

Each store would have its own schedule. Check it from Apple’s website for your country and drill down to the region and specific store branch from there.

Final Cut Pro X Professional

Hidden among the more expensive Apple’s Enterprise IT courses, there lies a web-based course for professionals wanting to use Final Cut Pro X. Priced at around $100, this is probably the only “low cost” IT course available that are managed by ViewQuest.

Did I Miss Anything?

Have you found any inexpensive courses offered by Apple that I haven’t mention here? Please let us know in the comments.

That’s all for now. Until next time.


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