Top 5 Practices for iOS 9 App Development

Sep 23, 2015
ios9-app-development-practices

iOS 9 brings the focus back on “refinements” at every level. The latest operating system is not a complete overhaul, rather focuses on improvements that takes user experience to the next level. It is about stable performance and reliability. The core focus is to allow users to do lot more in their day-to-day lives.

Released on September 16, iOS 9 has already crossed the 20% adoption rate threshold. In contrast comparison, it took Android 5.0 Lollipop nearly nine months to accomplish the same feat.

Given the relatively high adoption rate, it is about time for app developers to change gears and update their apps to leverage iOS 9’s host of new features such as Spotlight search, a much more proactive SIRI, multitasking on iPad, and support for 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
 
1. Search APIs

The Search API is one of the most significant improvements for developers in iOS 9. Now with this feature, users can enter terms into iPhones or iPads and apps will show relevant results. This is a very helpful feature as it eliminates burden from users to find out top app they might be looking for. The new search API will offer developers deep linking feature that will be able to easily get search results from third-party apps with just a tap.

The three main features of new search APIs are:

  • The NSUserActivity class, which is mainly designed for viewed app content
  • The Core Spotlight framework, which is primarily for app content
  • Web markup, designed for apps with content reflected on a website
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    Deep linking feature allows users to access the content they are searching for without the need of opening separate apps to access content. This new feature brings users to the content.
     
    2. 3D Touch

    Apple recently launched iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in its annual September event. With the arrival of Apple’s latest new gadgets, developers can now take advantage of the new 3D Touch features that adds an entire new perspective to UI.

    This feature senses how deeply you press the display and lets you complete essentials tasks quickly and in an effortless manner. 3D Touch introduces Peek and Pop which lets you preview and act on all types of content – without the need of actually opening it. When you decide to open content, just press a little deeper to Pop into what you are peeking.

    Developers can take advantage of the new feature with a very simple API as a new property in UITouch. A UITouch object represents the location, size, movement, and force of a finger on the screen for a particular event.

    This API capitalizes on the possibility of new functionality in apps, such as additional control options fine-grained control or alternative to the tap-and-hold.

    In addition to the UITouch APIs, Apple has also provided two new sets of classes adding 3D Touch functionality to apps: UIPreviewAction and UIApplicationShortcutItem.

    UIPreviewAction allows to present content in a preview action or peek quick action when a user swipes the peek upward. This new way unlocks a world of new possibilities by allowing a quick glance at app-specific content, such as email, images, or even websites.

    UIApplicationShortcutItem objects offer an incredible new feature on the iOS Home screen, offering users quick access to parts of application directly from the device’s home screen. Overall, the introduction of 3D Touch presents a new age of interaction with iOS apps.
     
    3. App Thinning

    This is a biggie for developers. App Thinning optimizes the install of iOS and watchOS apps to use less device space. With App Thinning, users will only download parts of the binary relevant to the user which primarily depends on the device used.

    App Thinning has three main components:

  • App Slicing: Slicing is the process of creating and delivering variants of the app bundle for different target devices.
  • On Demand Resources (ODR): Resources hosted by the App Store that can be accessed after the user has downloaded the app.
  • Bitcode: Incorporating Bitcode allows Apple to re-optimize the app’s binary in the future without having to submit a new version.
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    4. Contacts API

    Apple has finally provided a full object oriented API via two new frameworks: Contacts and ContactsUI, replacing the Address Book and Address Book UI frameworks. This new API is relatively easy compared to the old approach.
     
    5. App Transport Security

    Whether you are creating a new app or updating your existing iOS app, you should adopt App Transport Security (ATS) that applies best practices for secure connections between an app and its back end. ATS is easy to adopt and prevents accidental disclosure.

    If you’re developing a new app, use HTTPS exclusively. If you have an existing app, use HTTPS as much as possible right now. Also, try to come up with a plan to migrate the rest of your app quickly.

    Got an iOS app idea, but don’t know where to start? Take a step in the right direction; get in touch with us now. You can discuss with our expert iOS app developers for a free quote.

    Written by Albert Smith

    Albert Smith

    Albert Smith is Digital Marketing Manager at Hidden Brains . An experienced search engine specialist, content, social media marketer and a technical enthusiast, Albert frequently writes on diverse topics such as social media marketing trends, web & mobile app development best practices. He has worked with some of leading brands to build their online presence and scale their businesses.