Time to review your apps – Apple has officially announced two new iPhones – the iPhone 5S, and the more budget oriented iPhone 5C.
Both phones will run iOS 7, and iOS 7 will shortly be offered to existing phones – which could potentially break existing apps.
A new mobile operating system is an exciting opportunity to offer new products and services – but for mobile app development, it also presents risks to the stability of existing mobile apps.
While Apple operating systems are highly compatible with each other, every new version of the operating system comes with new rules, new ways of doing things. Sometimes these new rules break existing apps, often in subtle ways.
The key areas to watch in iOS 7 apps appear to be further tightening of the rules regarding access to iPhone contacts, and changes to how apps access internal identifiers.
While most of the pain of changes to address book access occurred with the upgrade to iOS 6, there are still likely to be apps caught out by the iOS 7 rule changes.
Similarly, a number of games will potentially be affected by the internal identifier rule change. In iOS 7, Apple have removed access to an API which a lot of game developers use, to uniquely identify a device – especially with multiplayer games. So quite a few games will simply break when the phone or iPad is updated to iOS 7.
There are also changes to screen layout rules, which might catch a few apps.
My advice – make sure your developer is available, to help you if you hit problems. If you are especially worried, for example if you have a profitable app which you want to protect, your developer can assist you with testing your app using a pre-release version of iOS 7, to minimise the risk of embarrassing failures when people try to use your app on an upgraded phone.
If you have any questions about how the imminent shift to iOS 7 might affect your app(s), please leave a comment, or contact me for more information.