Apple is overhauling the way it develops and tests the next major version of iOS, following the buggy roll-out of iOS 13 this autumn.
According to Bloomberg‘s well-connected reporter Mark Gurman, Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi unveiled a new approach to testing the next OS, which will involve buggy and unfinished features being disabled by default.
The company’s testers will be able to enable the features in daily builds by turning on Flags in a settings menu. The report says this will enable Apple to ‘isolate the impact of each individual addition on the system.’
In previous versions, many different features would be added to those daily builds despite the fact they hadn’t been fully tested.
“Daily builds were like a recipe with lots of cooks adding ingredients,” one of Gurman’s sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said. He added that “testers would go days without a livable build, so they wouldn’t really have a handle on what’s working and not working.”
According to those sources, this led to many of the problems experienced with the launch of iOS 13. Apple has been forced to launch a much larger number of minor iOS 13 releases than it has with previous iterations of the OS, due to the significant number of bugs contained within.
Consensus is iOS is the most troublesome version since the company launched iOS 6, which saw the arrival of infamous first version of Apple Maps and saw the end of longtime iOS overseer Scott Forstall’s role at Apple.
The new process could lead to more features within iOS 14, due out in September 2020, not launching until 2021. The testing shift will also apply to all of Apple’s major software platforms, according to the report, meaning watchOS, macOS and tvOS will also be subject to the new conditions.