iOS 16 – Everything Mobile Application Development Pros Should Know

Christmas came early for the mobile application development industry as Apple announced the public release of iOS 16 on September 12.

The latest version of the popular software was showcased earlier at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2022. It generated quite a buzz as the first iOS version to work only on iPhones.

It further introduced numerous new features such as editing and undoing sent messages, and detecting duplicate photos.

What iOS 16 Has in Store for Mobile App Developers

For mobile application development experts, iOS 16 offers several new APIs and capabilities. The following are bundled in the latest SDK for iOS 16.

Xcode 14

The latest version of Apple’s integrated development environment is designed to start faster thanks to a 30% smaller binary. Xcode 14 can also build up to 25% faster due to enhanced parallelism in build and link phases.

Moreover, its Build Timeline can help detect long-running build tasks and bottlenecks in a build.

With Xcode 14, mobile app development experts can create a single SwiftUI interface for multiple platforms like tvOS and iPadOS. This makes it easier to maintain code as well as customize it according to different platforms’ unique capabilities.

Xcode 14 also includes Xcode Cloud. Announced at WWDC 2022, this is a continuous integration and delivery service built into Xcode.

Through Xcode Cloud , developers can access cloud-based tools for building apps, automated workflows, parallel testing, and more.

Swift

When it comes to Swift, there are just so many aspects that make it praiseworthy. Mobile application development experts love it because it’s interactive, concise, and capable of producing software that runs fast.

As part of the latest update, Swift now includes built-in support for regular expressions. It also features regex builders and package plugs.

Apple also rolled out several enhancements so as to improve generics syntax and performance while building and launching apps.

SwiftUI

Like Swift, SwiftUI has been updated to become “more powerful, flexible, and easier to adopt”. Here’s a list of the new additions and improvements.

  • New Navigation API – Developers will gain more control over their apps’ navigation behavior. For example, they can set its launch state and respond to deep links.
  • Swift Charts – Swift Charts enables data visualization through customizable charts that range from simple line charts to advanced stream graphs.
  • Advanced Layout Control – You can now create advanced layouts that you can reuse while designing your app. iOS 16’s SwiftUI also features a new Grid API to align views, and a low-level custom Layout API. Another powerful addition is ViewThatFits. This allows developers to choose variations of a given view and automatically selects the one that fits the available space.
  • Sharing API – SwiftUI’s latest version comes with the new Transferable protocol. This allows data to be available for the clipboard, drag and drop, and the Share Sheet.
  • Improved UIKit Interoperability – Developers can now create UICollectionView cells using SwiftUI. These cells integrate seamlessly with UIKit to provide functionality like swipe actions.
  • Additional UI Components – These are part of improvements to ensure SwiftUI covers more existing UI components.

WidgetKit

SwiftUI now supports the creation of widgets on the Lock Screen, and WidgetKit further helps with this.

The framework can also be used to create Smart Stacks, i.e. sets of widgets that show the right widget to users based on on-device intelligence data.

WidgeKit will be updated later in 2022 to include Live Activities. These provide app users with real-time updates, directly from the Lock Screen.

With SwiftUI, mobile application development professionals can also animate Live Activities to switch between states.

App Intents

Another new feature to iOS is App Intents. This Swift-only framework makes an app’s content and functionality available to Siri and other system services.

The framework can also be used to supply information like metadata and activation phrases to initiate an app’s actions.

Moreover, App Intents can be used for building new App Shortcuts. These don’t require user setup as they’re available once an app is installed. Users can then run them using the Shortcuts app, Spotlight, and Siri.

Focus filters in particular have been mentioned in WWDC. The API allows developers to adjust the app’s behavior and filter incoming notifications based on the current focus. That way, the app’s views will change according to use.

WeatherKit

WeatherKit allows the integration of weather information in apps and services.

It’s powered by the new Apple Weather service, enabling apps to show current weather conditions and 10-day hourly forecasts. iPhone users in select regions may also view precipitation levels and severe weather alerts.

To ensure privacy, WeatherKit only gives hyperlocal forecasts. Only location information is used for forecasts, so personally identifiable information (PII) isn’t used or tracked.

MapKit

MapKit helps integrate the updated Apple Maps. As a result, apps can load Apple Maps into app windows and views. Other features to enrich iOS mobile application development with MapKit are –

  • Geocoding to convert traditional addresses to coordinates and vice versa
  • Automatic Search Completion based on users’ queries
  • Interactive Panoramas for better street-level views
  • Selectable Map Features to display relevant maps after specifying filters and adding information about locations
  • Custom Annotations to add descriptions and group places
  • Directions to show directions and travel times based on user data
  • Overlays and Blend Modes to highlight regions or paths

Metal 3

Pro apps and gaming mobile application development will benefit from Metal 3. Powering hardware-accelerated graphics on Apple devices, the framework has six new features –

  • MetalFX Upscaling to quickly render complex scenes with high-performance upscaling and anti-aliasing
  • Fast Resource Loading by streaming asset data to Metal textures and buffering from storage
  • Offline Shader Compilation to eliminate in-app shader compilations, improve game performance, and reduce load time
  • Mesh Shaders to replace vertex shaders, therefore enabling flexible culling and LOD selection
  • Metal Backend in PyTorch for enabling high-performance
  • New Metal Ray Tracing Features to reduce the GPU time otherwise spent building acceleration structures  

Augmented Reality (AR)

ARKit is one of the top tools for developing apps that deliver AR experiences. With iOS 16, developers will get access to ARKit 6.

The latest version introduces the option of capturing 4K video using the back camera. It also enables high quality virtual object reconstruction while capturing high-res background images.

Further, it supports HD video, adds EXIF tags to ARKit frames, and extends Location Anchors to new cities.

ARKit 6 is also accompanied by RoomPlan, a new Swift API for creating 3D floor plans.

Using the device’s camera and LiDAR Scanner, users can create a dollhouse visualization with accurate dimensions and placement of room components.

Machine Learning (ML)

Like AR, ML is getting new features to enrich iOS mobile app development.

First off, there’s Core ML. Using Xcode 14, developers can analyze and optimize features powered by this framework. For instance, they can generate performance reports for Core ML models without writing code.

Core ML now also supports Float16 input and output. Therefore, developers will gain more control over the flow of data through Core ML models.

Another feature is the Create ML app. This offers to help developers determine models’ accuracy via a new evaluation UI.

You also get to identify challenging use cases by exploring metrics and their connections to examples. Moreover, you can preview predictions on live video from the camera.

A third ML feature is the Create ML framework. Available as a Swift framework, it allows you to define custom model and training pipelines. For that, you need to use ML building blocks along with the new Create ML Components framework.

SharePlay

Before iOS 16, SharePlay allowed users to share experiences inside FaceTime.

Now, they can do so via Messages too. Apps supporting SharePlay will also appear in FaceTime controls to further simplify sharing experiences.

Another update is the integration of Group Activities and AVFoundation APIs with the Core Media stack on device. This ensures quality connections as playback starts for a whole group at the same time.

Moreover, immersive features make everyone involved feel like they’re together in the same place.

Wallet

Both Wallet and Apply Pay have received a few upgrades to make them more convenient and secure. Wallet received three new features –

  1. Identity Information Requests – iOS 16 will allow developers to request information from IDs in Wallet to verify an individual’s identity. App users can tap on a button to present their ID information. They can also review the data requested and see if it’s stored and for how long.
  2. Apple Pay Later – With this feature, app users can split their purchases into four equal payments over the span of six weeks. This feature is available for when customers check out with Apple Pay.
  3. Order Tracking – Receipts and order tracking information for Apple Pay transactions will now appear in Wallet. As part of your app, it can notify users of any order changes, connect them to customer service, and display order management options.

Apple Pay

In addition to Apple Pay Later and Order Tracking, Apple Pay has received the following new features.

  1. Tap to Pay – Developers can now enable their apps to accept contactless payments via iPhone – without additional hardware. This further applies to NFC-enabled loyalty cards and points cards. In addition to payments, this feature can be used to validate payment cards and purchases.
  2. Merchant Tokens – Still in the Beta phase, Merchant Tokens optimizes preauthorized payment experiences, adding flexibility to recurring payments and multiple payments. In addition to device-specific tokens, Merchant Tokens allow automatic reload or recurring payments across different devices.
  3. Multiple Payment Tokens per Transaction – With this, users can make a bundled purchase by specifying the amounts owed to several merchants at a time.

CarPlay

CarPlay has been helping iPhone users stay focused on the road even while getting directions, making calls, and much more.

With the latest version of iOS, fueling apps complement EV charging apps to handle fill-ups. Moreover, navigation apps can display maps and instructions in a second location.

For developers, the new CarPlay Simulator allows them to develop a CarPlay app on Mac.

Simply download Additional Tools for Xcode before starting your mobile application project. Once installed, you can connect your iPhone to your Mac and begin designing your next app.

You may also want to download the latest CarPlay App Programming Guide. It now includes updated framework documentation along with instructions and guidelines on CarPlay templates.

Passkeys

Passkeys offer a simple yet secure way for signing into apps and websites without resorting to passwords. They’re synced with iCloud Keychain, making them available across Apple devices.

Basically, Passkeys replace passwords with cryptographic key pairs. This further improves security through strong credentials while protecting users against phishing and server leaks.

We’re Excited to Add these to Our Next iOS Mobile Application Development Project!

Since reading the release notes, we’ve been quite excited to start using the new features. If you’re a developer who can’t wait to integrate these at a flat culture that values innovation, check our careers.

If you’re a business owner or someone with the next million-dollar idea for an app, fill the form below. We can use these powerful features in your very own iOS app and effectively add to your bottom line.

Maha Yaser

A versatile copywriter with a software engineering degree, four years' experience as a teacher, 15 years of content writing and editing, and two years of eLearning expertise

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