Apple is reportedly trying to avoid the mistakes they made with iOS 13. After the disaster of iOS 13, Apple is giving its all to make sure that history won’t repeat itself with iOS 14, and for that very purpose, the tech giant has decided to change their testing process a bit.
The company is now using software flags in daily builds to produce error-free updates. The process is already in use by some of the biggest tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and many more. The process works in a very efficient way when dealing with the daily builds. Daily builds are the test versions for features developed by Apple’s development builds. The flags automatically disable the feature if any line of code does not work as expected. Testers then have the option to enable the feature manually using an internal process and setting menu known as Flags. This new approach isolates the entire piece of code and minimizes the impact of the feature on the entire system.
Before the development of iOS 14, the entire development process was done by two teams. One team added features on a daily bases resulting in the features not being fully tested while another team added features on a weekly basis. This entire process was so complicated that it made the job of testers to test the features difficult. They often lost the handle on what was working and what wasn’t. This led to the engineers being lost on how the operating system was working with the new features.
Apple also uses a scale of 1 to 100 based on ‘white-glove’ testing to measure the quality of the software. Softwares with bugs are given the score below the 60s whereas more stable and bug-free softwares are given a score above the 80s. Another technique that Apple uses to rate the criticality of the bugs is a priority scale of 0 to 5. The more critical bugs are assigned 0 whereas minor bugs are assigned 5. Apple also uses color code-green, yellow, and red to rank the quality of the features during the development cycle.
Codenamed ‘Azul’, the new iOS 14 is being developed using the new strategy for its debut next year. Apple is already thinking about holding back some of its features until 2021. The features will be released in an update codenamed ‘Azul+1’, and will probably be known as iOS 15. The decision is taken so that the company can have more time to focus on the performance of the new software.
Apple’s other operating systems such as iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS will all be tested using the new strategy.
Considering Apple’s track record since the release of iOS 12, it is very important for iOS 14 not to have the same problems as its predecessors. Last year, Apple delayed the release of several iOS 12 features like CarPlay and iPad home screen as to not improvise with the software quality and reliability. With improved network connectivity and better battery life, a fairly stable iOS 12 was launched in the fall of 2018 followed by just two updates in the first two months.
iOS 13 was released next alongside iPhone 11 in September and was dubbed as ‘buggy mess’. To rectify the issues, Apple released eight updates in the first two months.
It is reported that even before the release of iOS 13, the company’s software engineers realized that iOS 13’s development was a mess. But because of the nearing release of the software, the company decided to abandon their work on patching the software through 1OS 13.1.
Since the company failed to complete iOS 13.1 in time and considered to launch iPhone 11 with iOS 12 but the idea was soon dropped as iPhones are so tightly integrated with the Apple software that it was nearly impossible. In the end, the company launched the iPhone 11 with iOS 13, which turned out to be a disaster.
The iOS 13 came with multiple issues including camera app not launching properly, operating system not detecting whether the flashlight was on or not, an overly aggressive RAM management system causing apps to crash, inconsistent cellular network, interface errors in apps like Messages, problem loading emails, and many more. Regardless of errors being reported incessantly, half of the Apple devices were running on iOS 13 by mid-October.
With iOS 12, the company tried to bring up the quality of the software to match at least iOS 12. The update did have some problems like apps shutting down in the background but was far better than iOS 13.
As Apple’s every iPhone comes with new software, the tech giant needs to focus on the quality of the software rather than the pace at which new softwares are being released, something which the company seems to be acknowledging this time.