Developing for iOS 11: What Mobile Developers Need to Know

Developing for iOS11: What Mobile Developers Need to Know


The iPhone X has yet to be released to the market, but that didn’t stop Apple from launching  iOS 11 last week. The release is the next major step for Apple in a string of announcements, reveals, and product releases this year, culminating with the release of the iPhone X on November 3rd.

The revamped operating system features a new control center, multi-tasking functions, and increased support for augmented reality (AR) and machine learning (ML) technologies. To help you keep track of the changes, we’ve put together the following list of key updates to be aware of when designing and developing iOS apps.

The New ARKit

The AR market is projected to reach 215 billion US dollars by 2021. The timing of Apple’s release of ARKit, a component of iOS 11, signals that the tech giant is confident in the future of AR. If you’re thinking about using AR in your app, now is the right time to tap into its potential.

The ARKit provides support for your augmented reality app through enhanced camera features and motion sensing hardware which Apple refers to as “world tracking.” For developers looking to incorporate AR capabilities in their apps, the ARKit provides a simple process that can detect locations and planes and display your content accordingly. On the iPhone X, AR can be extended to the true depth front-facing camera. It can be used to animate facial movements and expressions.


Core ML

Core ML is the machine learning framework behind a number of apple products, including Siri. Now app developers can easily integrate Core ML’s technology into their apps to deliver computer vision machine learning (e.g. face detection, barcode detection) and NLP (natural language processing) with only a few lines of code. Apple offers a number of pre-made Core ML models, or developers can convert their own learning models into Core ML format. To use Core ML, developers need to input data values that are then used to generate predictions about your users, leveraging your app’s ability to provide customized experiences for users.



A new control dock is an app launcher and navigator similar to the dock available in iOS 10, but with a few tweaks. The updated dock can now be summoned in any app with a simple swipe up gesture at the bottom of the screen; a second swipe will bring up the command center. The dock enables the user to switch between apps, drag and drop files, and check any notifications. Developers must pay attention to the safe areas located at the top and bottom of the phone screens to avoid overlapping app interfaces with key iPhone features. In-app gestures and interactive regions may need to be modified to prevent a conflict with key system controls

(For a detailed description of the safe area and other mobile design considerations, read our recent post about the iPhone X here.)

The Drag and Drop feature is the other multi-tasking capability of iOS 11, letting users select items to move from one area of the screen to another. The feature also allows users to interact with multiple apps at once by moving selected items between apps. To increase your app’s functionality, consider how your app will render in split screen view. You may also want to include features that support the multiple drag movements enabled in iOS11, creating a way for your app to accept multiple or simultaneous drop actions.


A Redesigned App Store

The addition of a “Today” tab gives businesses the opportunity to showcase the stories behind the apps. This valuable slice of real estate in the app store will feature interviews with app creators and promote high-profile app releases. Developers have a chance to increase user engagement and discovery by submitting quotes and stories to the editorial team to be featured on the tab.

An updated product page now allows app creators to display up to three 30-second long app previews that  highlight key app functions and compel users to hit the download button. Businesses can also add a subtitle that’s displayed under the app name, giving marketers another opportunity to boost downloads.

In-app purchases are now visible in the App store: they can be featured on the product page as well as through search results. App developers may list up to 20 in-app purchases which are visible to mobile users prior to downloading the app.


To help you keep track of the changes, we’ve put together the following list of key updates to be aware of when designing and developing iOS apps.There’s a lot to consider when developing for Apple’s new operating system.  Whether you have an app that needs to be updated for iOS 11 or an innovative idea, working with an experienced mobile app developer can give you access to resources and insights that optimize your app performance and customer experiences. The team at MorphoApps is more than happy to get you through the process- contact us today.


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