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Apple rolled out iOS 11 on September 19, 2017 with changes to the design, app product pages, in-app payments and functionality. As with every update, there were a few hits and a few misses.

While Apple is working on fixing bugs and errors as it rolled out iOS 11.0.3 nearly three weeks ago, many app developers are still struggling with the newly introduced features, removed functionalities and overall approval and ratings of their app. To get started on insights and developer documentation as well as guidelines, you can go to Apple’s The All-New App Store page, which showcases all the changes it introduced with iOS 11. Or else, save yourself some time and catch up on all that you need to know here –

 

● Revamped app store

App store has been revamped in both visual and functional manner. Users are greeted with new cards displaying the top App news of the day when they open the App Store. For developers, the new product pages feature new text fields, such as subtitles and promotional text, making it easier to promote the app through descriptions. Similarly, app previews have increased from one to three, giving the developers an opportunity to showcase their app to potential users in a better way. The new App Store also features an enhanced search, which includes developers, in-app purchases, categories and editorial stories. These changes in unison make it easier for developers to promote their app on App Store through visual and storytelling techniques in an authentic manner.

Moreover, in-app purchases can be now promoted within the App Store. With the ability to promote up to 20 in-app purchases, app developers can gain additional exposure even before the app is installed by a user.

 

● App store update with phase releases

Similar to Android’s phased releases feature, Apple has also given its developers the same opportunity through iOS 11. With proper user segmentation, iOS developers can now release and test a new feature with a specific set of users before planning a universal release and fixing errors later.

 

● Introduction of ARKit

Both iPad and iPhone app development can be taken to a whole new level with the release of the ARKit. It is touted to be a new framework giving native AR with features like scene understanding and position tracking which will transform and enhance apps based on Augmented Reality (AR) considerably.

 

● Machine learning support intelligent apps

With iOS 10, Apple had introduced Machine Learning to an open market; with iOS 11, it has extended the features and core functionality of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. It helps the iOS developers build and integrate new smart features with ease such as geo-tagging or landmark, bar code detection, facial tracking, object tracking, and image registration. On an innovative level, this can reinvent physical shopping stores with digital integrations; can enhance security and privacy on individual and organizational levels and so on. At the simplest level, it can enhance the user experience of an app through well-configure machine learning.

 

● Refined iMessage app drawer

Taking further the changes of iMessage introduced by iOS 10, iOS 11 enables users to access the iMessage apps quickly as well as find and install the new ones directly. While this update does not have any direct connection with your mobile app, but it does affect the interaction of the user with that of iMessage, and set user expectations for future.

 

● Control over location detection

Again, this change doesn’t specifically targets developers of impact the app’s functioning largely, but is rather oriented towards users’ privacy. Earlier, apps could track the location of a user even when the app was not in use. With iOS 11, restricted GPS will prevent the apps from tracking a user’s physical location when the app is not being used and enhance the user security.

 

● NFC tags accessed

Another new feature gives developers limited access to the near field communication (NFC) chip inside supported iPhones, opening potential use cases in which apps can scan nearby environments and give users more information. This feature, while seems minor, proves useful for apps related to security and stock trading as well as apps related to physical places like cinemas, shops and restaurants.

 

● Improved visual design

The visual design transformation is slow and steady with gradual releases of iOS. For instance, iOS 11 introduces thicker typeface and bigger fonts for readability. For app developers, this pushes clean, minimal and aesthetically pleasant designs within apps.

In addition to the above mentioned features, the two major changes which app developers welcomed with iOS 11 include –

  • Third-party ratings prompts are not permitted in apps built on iOS 11. Apple wants publishers to use the provided API for requesting reviews and rejects apps built for iOS 11 that are using custom review prompts.
  • App developers have a choice to reset app ratings between different versions. Similar to the Google Play Store, an app’s rating doesn’t get reset with each new version.Instead, it reflects the overall rating. Moreover, app developers have the flexibility to reset the app’s rating at their own discretion.

 

These changes are introduced in continuation of the feature announced during release of iOS 10.3 – SK Store Review Controller API. In simple words, app developers can ask for an app rating only thrice a year. While this seems likely to be an inhibitive introduction, it actually has increased the median number of app ratings by 20 percent since launch. However, to make it work, you have to identify evangelists and the right time and right place to activate them. Needless to say, every interaction matters.

 

In case you have followed the above mentioned changes carefully and yet struggling with adapting your app for iOS 11, here are a few additional yet critical key-points to keep in mind –

  • With introduction to iOS 11, the app store has moved from 32-bits to 64-bits and doesn’t show or support 32-bit–only apps anymore. Adapt your app accordingly.
  • Research all the new APIs to find out which features you can incorporate into your apps to make them iOS 11- friendly.
  • Make sure to configure and verify the various app properties that cannot be changed after you submit your app for app review, like Game Center, iCloud display sets, categories, keywords, ratings, optional app reviews, and app store text & images.
  • To save your app from being rejected, make sure your iTunes Connect information matches what is set in the app build by validating these three properties: Bundle ID, Version number, and App sandbox information.

 

For further assistance to get your app up and running on iOS 11 with considerations to high-performance and user-satisfaction, get in touch with my team for a consultation at hello@codetoart.com.
AUTHOR: Varun Mehta
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