MacKuba

Kuba Suder's blog on Mac & iOS development

Photo library changes in iOS 14

Categories: Cocoa, iPhone Comments: 0 comments

I’m the kind of person who cares a lot about their digital privacy. It makes me very uncomfortable when I see ads on Facebook for something I opened on another site a moment ago, and I generally don’t like it when companies are learning more about me than they should, even if the effects of that tracking aren’t as obvious.

That’s why for example I’ve been trying to move away from Google services as much as possible (I use ProtonMail as my main email and Apple’s iWork for documents), I also started using Tresorit and iCloud1) for file sync instead of Dropbox. That’s also one of the reasons why I’ve always used some kind of ad & tracker blocker in my browsers – previously Ghostery, now I also use Brave and I’ve been experimenting with making my own ad blocker.

So it always makes me happy when Apple introduces another change to their OSes that limits the kinds of data that Mac and iOS apps can use without our permission. I especially liked:

  • when iOS 11 introduced the “While Using” option for location access that was non-optional for apps
  • the “Allow Once” option for location access in iOS 13
  • permissions to things like camera, microphone or screen recording on the Mac

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Notes from WWDC

Categories: Cocoa, Mac, iPhone Comments: 0 comments

When I watch conference talks, I like to take notes – either on an iPhone or iPad when I’m in the conference room, or on the Mac when I’m watching online like in case of WWDC (I’ve never seen it in person). It makes it easier for me to remember the most important content from the presentation, and especially in case of WWDC notes I often come back to them to find some specific piece of information – WWDC talks are a very important part of documentation of how to use Apple’s APIs, sometimes (sadly) the only piece of documentation about the specific class or method that’s available.

I have a fairly large archive of those notes (around 20 from each year on average), usually just stored as one long note in the Notes.app, and I’ve been thinking for a while that it could make sense to somehow share them with the world. I have no idea how useful they will be for others, since I write them primarily for myself, they’re much more condensed than blog posts and basically written as just a “diff” from what I knew before, but I guess I won’t know until I try.

One problem I had with sharing the notes is that they’re written as completely plain text, something like this:

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SwiftUI quotes

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I was going through some saved links and open tabs from June recently while finishing the WWDC collection post. I found a lot of interesting quotes about SwiftUI, Catalyst and the future of Apple platform development, and I decided to steal the idea from @mjtsai and put them together in one place. It might be interesting to look at this 5 or 10 years from now…

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New stuff from WWDC 2019

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WWDC 2019

As I’m writing these words, it’s the last day of November and the temperature has just dropped to close to 0°C here in Poland. But let’s move back to a better time for a moment, to the first days of June – the long days of warm sunny weather, inviting you to spend some time outside… and the huge pile of new stuff that Apple had just dropped on us on the WWDC keynote day, inviting you to try to frantically read and watch everything at once, and don’t leave the computer until you’ve read it all.

For the past 4 years I’ve been trying to cope with this crazy period by collecting notes from the WWDC talks, release notes, saving tweets, links to blog posts and so on, and organizing it all in a single ordered blog post. Writing things down this way is how I learn best, it helps me put together all loose pieces of information into a single picture, and gives me the peace of mind that I haven’t missed or forgotten anything important.

I usually finish this by July, but this year was different – first I got really hooked on SwiftUI and spent some time doing some experiments with it, and then I was busy working on and releasing my iOS content blocker app and doing some travelling. It didn’t help that the sheer amount of new APIs added this year was simply overwhelming.

So I finally got back to this in November, and I’m posting the list here on the half-anniversary of the 2019 keynote (yes, it’s really been 6 months already!) – hopefully it will still be of use to you.

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WatchKit Adventure #2: Minimum Viable Complication

Categories: Cocoa, WatchKit, iPhone Comments: 12 comments

< Previously on WatchKit Adventure…

This post is the second (or technically third) part of my series about building a WatchKit app that shows current air pollution level on the watch face. If you haven’t seen the previous parts, you might want to at least take a look at the intro.

Last time we’ve talked mostly about the general architecture of a WatchKit app. So logically it would now make the most sense to start with the main part of a watch app, the main app UI. After all, this is the only part of the app that’s required – both notifications and complications are optional if you don’t need them. This is what people normally think of when they talk about “an app”.

However… the whole thing started with me wanting to see the level of air pollution right there on the watch face, as quickly as possible. One of the three main rules of watchOS design is that apps should be glanceable, which means that you should be able to glance at the watch and see the information you need in as short time as possible, ideally within a couple of seconds at most – and a complication lets you see this information much much faster than the main app UI accessible from the app launcher.

It was also mentioned during at least one presentation that unlike on iOS, here the main UI does not need to be the most commonly used part of your app, if notifications or a complication make more sense for your use case. It can very well be something that users only fall back to sometimes when they need to see more detailed information or perform some actions.

So, why don’t we skip the view controllers for now and just build a complication?

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WatchKit Adventure #1: The Big Picture

Categories: Cocoa, WatchKit, iPhone Comments: 3 comments

Update 03.07.2019: watchOS 6 has changed a lot of things that I’ve written about here, so I went through the post again and updated all parts that got out of date.


< Previously on WatchKit Adventure…

For some reason, after watching WWDC talks mentioning watchOS in the last few years, I had this image in my mind that almost every version changed everything in how apps are built. I remembered something about native and non-native apps, two different types of app schemes in Xcode, and some diagrams of pieces moving from one box to another, on more than one occasion. This all sounded confusing, and I think that’s one reason why I was discouraged from starting, because I imagined it would make it hard for me to catch up with all of that.

As it turned out, this wasn’t really true. Well, not until watchOS 6 at least 😉

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WatchKit Adventure #0: Intro

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Apple Watch

Ever since I saw the first Apple Watch announced on stage, I wanted to learn to write apps for it. I bought my first Watch half a year later, when they finally appeared in Europe, with that thought in mind. You can probably guess how that went…

I now have on my wrist my second Apple Watch (Series 1), bought two years ago after I smashed the screen in the first one. And to this day I haven’t written a single line of code for watchOS… This is actually one of many things that have been on my ToDo lists for literally years, that I often think about, but never actually find time to do. Procrastination is a terrible thing.

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New stuff from WWDC 2018

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WWDC 2018

For the last 3 WWDC’s I’ve been collecting ordered lists of all new features and APIs added in the new releases of Apple’s OSes, either announced in the keynote or one of the talks, or in release notes, or just discovered by some API diff spelunkers :) I’m pretty late with that this year, because I spent some time instead on a couple of longer posts about notifications and Dark Mode, but here it is, just in time for the final launch and the September event.

In general, there seems to be noticeably less changes this year, which is good in a way – it should be easier for us to learn the new things and update our apps. For a moment it even looked like the “macOS SDK” section could be longer than the “iOS SDK” this time with all the Dark Mode changes, but iOS got a boost from the notification APIs and finally finished 3 lines ahead of macOS :)

If you want to learn more about any given topic, the best way is probably either to look it up in the shiny new Apple Developer Documentation (redesigned last year), or watch the recorded WWDC talk videos – either on Apple’s site, or using the great unofficial WWDC Mac app.

Previous editions are available here:

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