Apple’s Live Activities Team Answers 10 Questions

Apple enthusiasts, developers, and engineers came together at Ask Apple to answer the top 10 questions about Live Activities and the Dynamic Island.


For those who aren’t familiar, apps with Live Activities can provide glanceable information on the Lock Screen, such as weather updates, a plane’s departure time, or how long it’ll be until dinner is delivered.

And with the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max devices, the Live Activities feature proves to be even more fun.

Below are a few highlights from the Ask Apple conversations, including how the iOS widgets and Live Activities are different.

How do I update a Live Activity without using Apple Push Notification service (APNs)?

Your app can use a pre-existing background runtime functionality, such as Location Services, to provide Live Activity updates.

What are the guidelines for dismissing a Live Activity after it ends?

When ending a Live Activity, you can provide an ActivityUIDismissalPolicy to tell the system when to dismiss your UI. Alternatively, you can choose to dismiss the Live Activity immediately or after a certain time has passed.

How can my app detect when someone dismisses a Live Activity?

The Activity.activityUpdates static var is an async sequence that will announce updates to all of your app’s Live Activities, including ones that get dismissed.

How do Live Activities and widgets differ?

Live Activities are great for displaying situational information related to an ongoing task that someone initiated. Whereas Widgets can provide glanceable information that’s always relevant.

Live Activities are a single view that updates programmatically, while widgets consist of a timeline of preconstructed views.

Are Live Activities the only way to support the Dynamic Island?

Your app can implement other system services, such as CallKit and Now Playing, that display system UI in the Dynamic Island. However, Live Activities are the only way for your app to provide its own UI in the Dynamic Island.

Where can I find more documentation about Live Activities?

The ActivityKit documentation provides a wealth of information about implementing Live Activities, including how to update and end a Live Activity using APNs.

Check out these developer links to learn more: