What’s new in Xcode 16 and the App Store Connect

A few weeks ago, Apple hosted its annual developer conference WWDC 2024, and made many announcements that will impact the mobile developer ecosystem. 

In a previous blog, we outlined the three top high-level announcements. In this post, we are diving into what’s new for two very important components of iOS- Xcode 16 and the App Store Connect.

Xcode 16 updates and new features 

1. Enhanced Code Editing: Xcode 16 introduces several enhancements to the code editing experience, including improved code completion. The new predictive code completion engine is more accurate and context-aware, providing better suggestions based on the surrounding code. This makes writing Swift code faster and more efficient.

2. Swift 6 Integration: Xcode 16 supports Swift 6, which introduces compile-time data-race safety, helping developers identify and address concurrency issues more effectively. This integration ensures that apps can leverage the latest language features for improved performance and safety.

3. Improved Build System: The new build system in Xcode 16 includes Explicit Build Modules, which enable faster parallel builds and better diagnostics. This update focuses on streamlining the build process, making it more efficient and reliable.

4. Advanced Debugging Tools: Xcode 16 brings advanced debugging tools such as the Thread Performance Checker, which provides real-time analysis of thread activity to help identify performance bottlenecks. The move to DWARF5 enhances the debugging experience with more detailed and quicker feedback. The Unified Backtrace View allows for more intuitive navigation through call stacks.

5. Swift Testing Enhancements: The new Swift Testing framework integrates seamlessly with XCTest, offering expressive APIs that simplify writing, managing, and executing tests. This improves the overall testing workflow and helps ensure code reliability.

6. Swift Assist: Xcode 16 introduces Swift Assist, a GitHub Copilot-like feature that uses a cloud-hosted AI model to assist developers in coding tasks. It provides real-time suggestions and automates repetitive tasks, allowing developers to focus on higher-level problem-solving.

7. RealityKit Debugger: A new RealityKit debugger has been introduced to aid in developing AR and VR applications. It provides tools for better visualization and debugging of 3D content.

8. Instruments Enhancements: The latest version includes new features like the flame graph, which helps developers analyze and optimize performance by visualizing where time is spent in their code.

What’s new in App Store Connect

1. Enhanced App Store Submission:

  • Multiple Item Submission: You can now submit multiple items, such as app versions, in-app events, and product pages, simultaneously, ensuring a consistent review process within 24 hours. This feature allows editing and resubmitting rejected items without needing a new app version​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Dedicated Submission Page: The new App Review page provides an overview of submission statuses. The enhanced submission experience is now available on iOS and iPadOS, allowing submissions and management directly from iPhone​ (WWDC Notes)​.

2. Tester and Build Management:

  • Detailed Tester Information: The tester list now includes the status, number of sessions, crashes, feedback provided, and the most recent device and OS used. New filters allow for segmenting testers and bulk actions like resending invitations or removing testers​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Internal Builds: Developers can now mark builds as "Internal" within Xcode, preventing their distribution to external testers or submission to the App Store​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Update "What to Test" Information: Xcode Cloud allows updating "What to Test" information for builds by adding a text file to a TestFlight folder in your project or using a custom build script​ (WWDC Notes)​.

3. New Features for Subscriptions and Pricing:

  • SubscriptionStoreView: A new SwiftUI view makes showing available subscriptions and facilitating subscriptions easier with customizable content​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Expanded Price Points: Apple introduced 900 new price points and the ability to set a base region for generating prices in other regions​ (WWDC Notes)​.

4. Testing Enhancements:

  • Family Sharing in Sandbox Testing: You can now create families of sandbox testers and use "Sandbox on device" to view Family Group, modify renewal rates, test interrupted purchases, and clear purchase history​ (WWDC Notes)​.

5. App Store Connect API Updates:

  • Game Center APIs: New APIs for setting up Game Center features, including creating and managing leaderboards and achievements and handling player matchmaking based on custom rules​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Marketing and Customer Service API Keys: Generate API keys for marketing and customer service operations, and user-based API keys​ (WWDC Notes)​.

6. Building Store Presence:

  • Privacy Nutrition Labels: New privacy categories, including "Environment Scanning," "Hands," and "Head," are available for apps using ARKit or Vision Pro to collect data on a user's surroundings, hand movements, or head movements​ (WWDC Notes)​.
  • Pre-order Enhancements: A redesigned "App Availability" page now manages pre-orders on a regional basis, and product page optimization tests can be stopped manually​ (WWDC Notes)​.

The Apple ecosystem plays a dominant role in mobile app revenue, often exceeding 50% of total mobile app revenue globally. It is crucial that mobile developers stay on top of all changes across iOS that can impact their apps' health and commercial success. 

Above are only a subset of Apple's announcements over the five-day conference. Bitrise’s Mobile DevOps platform is always up to date with the latest Apple development requirements and iOS marketplace innovations, making this year’s WWDC announcements an exciting milestone for our platform and our customers. 

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