Following the calamitous launch of iOS 13 this year, Apple reportedly plans to overhaul the way it develops and tests software updates in the future. According to Bloomberg, Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software engineering, recently held a meeting with the company’s software developers to announce the changes.
As the report explains, Apple’s development process was a mess prior to these changes. As recently as iOS 13, some teams would add new features to the latest build on a daily basis, while other teams would add features weekly. Many of these features would not be fully tested or functional, which meant “testers would go days without a [usable] build, so they wouldn’t really have a handle on what’s working and not working.”
iOS 13 was proof positive that significant alterations to the process were a necessity, and so, as Apple kicks off iOS 14 development, software teams will ensure that its daily builds of updates will disable unfinished and buggy features by default. If testers want to toy with the buggy features anyway, they will be able to enable them individually through a new settings menu called Flags, which should sound familiar to Chrome users.
iOS 14, which is codenamed “Azul,” will hopefully benefit from the new process, but the changes don’t stop there. Apple will also reportedly implement the same strategy when testing all future iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS updates. While software updates for Apple Watch and Apple TV have been relatively stable, plenty of Mac users have complained about macOS Catalina, while a recent iOS update was found to brick HomePod speakers. It’s abundantly clear that something needs to change before the next round of updates.
Bloomberg’s report doesn’t offer up any hints as to what features we might see on iOS 14, but people familiar with the company’s plans say that “iOS 14 is expected to rival iOS 13 in the breadth of its new capabilities.”