Apple has changed the way its development teams work in response to a variety of bugs that crept into iOS 13.
According to a new report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, people familiar with the matter claim that Craig Federighi announced the changes at a recent internal “kickoff” meeting with the company’s software developers.
Under the new approach, Apple’s software team will disable all buggy and unfinished features in test versions known as “daily builds” internally. These buggy or unfinished features can then be enabled by testers using a new internal process and settings menu called Flags.
At one point in the iOS 13 development cycle, different teams were adding new features on a daily or weekly basis, explains the report. The builds got so buggy that many testers avoided installing them on their iPhones, meaning testers were simply unaware of the issues that could have cropped up due to the addition of a new feature or other changes.
“Test software got so crammed with changes at different stages of development that the devices often became difficult to use,” reads the report. “Because of this, some ‘testers would go days without a livable build, so they wouldn’t really have a handle on what’s working and not working,’ the person said. This defeated the main goal of the testing process as Apple engineers struggled to check how the operating system was reacting to many of the new features, leading to some of iOS 13’s problems.”
Apple reportedly became aware of what a mess iOS 13 was in the weeks leading up to its release.
“By August, realizing that the initial iOS 13.0 set to ship with new iPhones a few weeks later wouldn’t hit quality standards, Apple engineers decided to mostly abandon that work and focus on improving iOS 13.1, the first update,” reads the report. “Apple privately considered iOS 13.1 the ‘actual public release’ with a quality level matching iOS 12. The company expected only die-hard Apple fans to load iOS 13.0 onto their phones.”
Apple plans to apply their new approach to iOS, as well as iPadOS, watchOS, macOS and, tvOS. There is also reference to iOS 14, codenamed “Azul,” set to debut next year. People familiar with the plans claimed that iOS 14 would rival iOS 13 “in the breadth of its new capabilities.”