5 questions to our Innovation & QA Lead Tobias Vebel
Apple launched iOS 10 yesterday, but the update is likely to present various challenges to apps already in the App Store. We asked our Innovation and QA Lead Tobias Vebel to answer five questions about the iOS update.
How likely is it that the update will affect apps optimised for previous versions of iOS?
-”In general there are two ways apps can be affected by the update – through functionality and through design. In term of functionality, the question is simple: do the app’s functions still run optimally? An example could be whether the app still has access to the camera or to the photo library after the update to iOS 10. How is the interaction between the app, and other types of hardware in the device? In the last couple of months, we have tested several apps using beta versions of iOS 10. In contrast to previous iOS updates, we have luckily experienced a relatively small amount of bugs caused by iOS 10 incompatibilities.”
What challenges have you encountered in relation to previous iOS updates?
- “If I look back on the update from iOS 6 to 7 (the 2013 release), we experienced various issues with several of our apps. To give an example, one of the updates to iOS 7 was that the status bar went from being black to transparent. Essentially, the app was now displayed on more screen space, which lead to design flaws for apps optimised for previous versions. Both developers and designers therefore had to take the new feature into account in updates to apps that were already live as well as apps still in production.
Previously, we have faced challenges when Apple has released new hardware. For example, in relation to the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012, there were a lot of rumours floating around about the new iPhone having a different aspect ratio (screen size) than its predecessor. When the iPhone 5 was finally released for sale in Denmark in late September, we had to stand in line at several stores to be sure that the apps we were developing and launching in early October actually worked on the iPhone 5. Due to the aforementioned experiences, one wishes for more transparency from Apple to members of their Development Program regarding functionality and design updates in upcoming iPhone releases similar to what we currently experience with the new Apple TV.”
What is the worst thing that can happen with the update to iOS 10?
- “The worst case scenario is that the app crashes. However, other critical issues might also occur with the new version of iOS. An example could be graphic elements that are not properly positioned or even fully disappear. During our beta version testing, we experienced that the navigation menu and back buttons disappeared in the layout. If navigation disappears, this will have major consequences for the user experience, which can impact the app’s overall rating, cause user migration to other similar apps, etc.”
How do we prevent the apps that we have developed from being negatively affected by an update?
- “Up to the launch of a new version of iOS, Apple offers developers and other Apple enthusiasts to download a beta version of the iOS. The purpose of this soft launch from Apple’s perspective is that they essentially have the iOS tested by thousands of users worldwide before they officially launch the update.
Before the final release of the new iOS version, interested parties can download a “Gold Master” version of the iOS. It is an early release of the version that will be released to all users shortly thereafter. With the GM version, testers and developers have an opportunity to test everything from functionality to design during all beta versions all the way up to the GM and final release.
In the QA department, we continuously test our clients’ apps as the beta releases come out. Many of our clients have specifically requested that we monitor their apps continuously and we therefore make sure that everything is tested and that bugs are fixed before the new version is released. That way we ensure the best user experience once the updates go live. One of our primary tasks is to be proactive on behalf of our customers, to ensure that their apps work as intended no matter what OS or device version.”
There are a lot of the Apple devices, how do you test them all?
- “At Nodes we have more than 39 different iOS devices in our device lab. Some of the devices still use the iOS 6 operating system, whereas others have the iOS 10 installed. It’s important to us that we cover a wide range of iOS versions to best ensure a good user experience. We carefully choose which devices to update in order to accurately reflect the combination of end users. In other words, our QA team is quite busy whenever new versions of both iOS and Android are about to be launched.”
About the Nodes QA team:
- 5 full-time employees testing apps on various platforms in London and Copenhagen
- Device lab with 98 devices for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry
- Comprehensive testing of apps produced by Nodes as well as third party QA for apps produced by other companies.
- Monitoring of reviews and crash reports for apps in App Store and on Android Market
Is your app ready for iOS 10, or do you want us to do the testing?
Contact the QA team here
Tobias Vebel Innovation & QA Lead