iOS 14 Accelerated Rollout Threatens App Glitches, Frustrates Apple Developers


Users were pleased to experience iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 on their devices after Apple CEO Tim Cook at its virtual “Time flies” event on Tuesday announced that the new software updates would debut on Wednesday. However, the surprise wasn’t that pleasing for app developers as they had only a day’s time to give the finishing touches to the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14-ready builds of their apps and submit them to Apple for approval. Many developers complained about the short notice on social media. Some of them have also warned that their apps may result in some glitches on iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or not just work after installing the latest updates.

The list of app developers that aren’t able to make their apps ready for iOS 14 include prominent players such as Nintendo, which has taken to Twitter to warn gamers that its social simulation game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp won’t launch after updating to iOS 14.

“We are planning to fix this issue in an upcoming update within this month. We do not recommend you to update your device to iOS 14 until we have fixed this issue,” the Pocket Camp team tweeted through its official account.

Several developers have also highlighted the fact that they had to work quite hard to make their apps ready for the latest updates.

“Legit probbaabbblyyy not gonna do any of that ‘sleeping’ stuff tonight [sic],” tweeted Christian Selig, former Apple employee and the developer of a custom Reddit app called Apollo for Reddit. The app received its last minute update on Wednesday that included support for customisable home screen widgets that are amongst the key features of iOS 14.

However, many developers weren’t able to work like Selig for different reasons and were eventually not able to provide support for the key iOS 14 features on their apps on its launch day. Some of them also showed their frustration on Twitter.

Apple normally gives app developers a few days before bringing a major software update to a public release. This helps them have some time to optimise their apps for the new operating system and submit them to the App Store for review. For instance, iOS 13 and iPadOS release dates were announced on September 11 last year. That was the time when the company started receiving app submissions from third-party developers, though the iOS update debuted for the public on September 19 and the first iPadOS update was released on September 30.

But in 2020, the Cupertino company made a notable change in its trend of releasing major software updates and announced a day’s notice for developers to make their apps ready for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.

This doesn’t mean that there weren’t any beta updates ahead of the public release. However, the “Golden Master (GM) versions of iOS and iPadOS as well as the Xcode developer tools were provided just a few hours ahead of the updates’ debut for end users.

“We’ve had iOS 14 betas for months of varying quality and stability — it’s only with GM, which we got yesterday at 7pm — that we can actually finish apps and submit to the store, and find out if problematic bugs have been fixed,” developer Steve Troughton-Smith noted in his tweet.

Some developers including Rhys Morgan have observed that Apple prioritised the process of reviewing app submissions based on the latest software developer kits (SDKs) due to short notice. However, that wasn’t the case for all developers as many of them are yet to receive an approval for their updates designed for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.

Apple didn’t make any comment on the difficulties being faced by app developers, owing to the surprise release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. However, the development is likely to broaden the gap between Apple and third-party developers. The company has already been criticised for the cut it takes for app and in-app purchases and the new privacy rules that are believed to impact advertising revenues of developers. It, however, did announce a delay for the privacy rules that were originally set to arrive along with the first public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.

WWDC 2020 had a lot of exciting announcements from Apple, but which are the best iOS 14 features for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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