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Having an app with bugs accepted by the App Store is a fate worse than rejection. Once the negative reviews begin pouring in, it can be nearly impossible to recover. It can cost companies revenue and developers their jobs. iOS is the second-largest mobile operating system worldwide and has an adoption rate of over 85% of users on the latest version. It’s no wonder that users expect flawless performance. This has led to a surge in demand for iOS developers. Further resulting in an influx of engineers entering the field, with more than 1,000 new apps being submitted to Apple daily.
However, even with the increasing number of developers, there are still some mistakes iOS developers make that can have a significant impact on the overall performance of an app. It’s important for iOS developers to have a deep understanding of the intricacies of iOS development, including common pitfalls to avoid, to ensure that their apps meet users’ expectations for quality and performance. In this blog post, we will explore 13 common mistakes iOS developers make and provide insights on how to avoid them.
1. Testing User Experience Across Real Devices
Ensuring optimal user experience is crucial for iOS apps; testing on real devices is key to achieving this. While simulators are useful for testing, they don’t replicate the constraints of a physical device, such as hardware and networking limitations. This is one of the common mistakes iOS developers make – relying solely on simulators for testing instead of testing on real devices to ensure that their app works smoothly on various devices and operating system versions.
Hardware differences between devices can lead to compatibility issues, which can have a negative impact on user experience. Therefore, it’s essential to investigate these issues to ensure optimal performance across all devices.
Interestingly, employers often don’t provide their development staff with i-devices, instead requiring them to purchase their own. However, to do their job effectively, developers require access to various devices.
While employers may suggest services like Apple’s TestFlight, Sauce Labs, or Amazon’s device farm for beta testing, these are only secondary solutions. As the first line of defence against bugs and issues that arise during development, it’s essential that developers test on real devices themselves. This is one of the common mistakes iOS developers make – relying too much on third-party beta testing services instead of conducting their own thorough testing on real devices.
2. Overlooking the App Store Review Guidelines
It is one of the common mistakes iOS developers make not to follow the guidelines set by Apple. While some apps might still pass through the review process without adhering to the guidelines, they are few and far between. These guidelines are designed to ensure that iOS apps meet strict standards, and failure to comply with them often results in app rejection during the review process.
It is crucial for iOS developers to read and comprehend these guidelines thoroughly. Doing so provides valuable platform-specific information that can increase the value of the developers within their team. By following these guidelines, developers can ensure that their apps meet the required standards and offer an optimal user experience, without the risk of rejection.
3. Deprioritizing Error Handling
Ensuring a seamless user experience is critical in mobile app development and can help avoid common mistakes iOS developers make. Even the most exceptional apps may encounter unpredictable problems that can frustrate users. To prevent confusion, developers should provide clear and informative error messages. For instance, if an image upload fails, an error message indicating an unstable internet connection should appear, and the user should be advised to try again later.
Error messages can be simple or creative, as in Google Chrome’s implementation. Chrome shows a message and a pixelated image of a dinosaur when there is no internet connection. Upon pressing the spacebar, a Mario-style game appears, which is an excellent way to engage the user. Although this doesn’t solve the issue, it demonstrates that you’re aware of the problem and working hard to solve it as quickly as possible.
Clear and straightforward error messages are critical, but excessive notifications can irritate users. Therefore, it’s crucial to strike a balance and ensure the messages don’t overwhelm the user with alerts every few seconds.
4. Avoiding Redesign
One of the most common mistakes iOS developers make is not revisiting the design process multiple times. They assume that they have a complete understanding of the app’s requirements. They should build its architecture in a single attempt, considering themselves highly efficient and confident. However, it’s important to understand that “Nothing is perfect in this world,” and the iOS platform itself is not perfect, which is evident from iOS v1 to v9. It is, therefore, impossible to create a perfect app design without any iteration.
Redesigning and iterating the design process for improved logic, user experience, and efficiency is crucial. It will not harm the productivity of the developers but rather improve it significantly.
5. Inefficient Data Management
Another common mistake that iOS developers make is they used to resort to using XML as their data storage solution. However, this practice is considered to be obsolete and ineffective for managing data. Not only does it impede the performance of the application, but it also places unnecessary burdens on it.
When data is modified, the XML file must be updated and restored in the folder, making it an entirely unproductive way of data management. It’s time to abandon this outdated approach and switch to SQLite, a superior solution for data management. Although it may require some time to learn the query language and its intricacies, once mastered, SQLite can enable your iOS app to utilize a highly efficient and industry-standard data management tool.
6. Glitches in Cache Management
Effective cache management is of utmost importance in the development process of any application, whether it is a web app, iOS app, or any other smart app. This becomes even more critical when dealing with devices that have limited memory, such as those with 512MB RAM.
However, iOS developers often overlook this aspect and prioritize functionality and aesthetics, while disregarding cache management. Neglecting proper cache management can result in a poor user experience, so it is imperative to exercise caution in this regard.
7. Ignoring User Interest
The integration of iCloud service in iOS apps is a desirable feature, but developers must not overlook the needs and preferences of users who do not possess an iCloud account or have no interest in utilizing it. In order to create a successful and user-friendly iOS application, it is crucial to prioritize the user’s interest over one’s own. Therefore, a developer must ensure that the app provides alternatives to iCloud integration that are equally efficient and secure.
It is understandable that iOS developers are excited about integrating the latest technology into their apps, but they must also acknowledge that not every user is going to share their enthusiasm. Thus, providing alternative options will not only cater to a broader audience but also create a better user experience. This will result in more positive reviews, higher ratings, and greater user engagement, which ultimately leads to a more successful iOS app.
Therefore, as a conscientious and skilled iOS app developer, it is essential to take the necessary steps to integrate iCloud services while also providing viable alternatives that will cater to all types of users. This will not only enhance the overall quality of the app but also ensure that it meets the standards of an enterprise-level iOS app.
8. Testing Disparity
Testing is an integral part of any development process, whether it involves mobile or web development. The importance of testing cannot be overstated as a buggy app can tarnish an app’s reputation in the app store. That can be more damaging than having your app rejected.
Another common mistake iOS developers make is testing mobile applications only on the latest version of an iOS device or just on the Xcode simulator. This approach is erroneous as it fails to consider many crucial factors, such as performance. It is crucial to remember that every new Apple device is more powerful than the previous one, especially with the advent of the 64-bit architecture. The A11 chip on the latest iPhones is even capable of competing with Intel’s desktop core i5 processor.
However, while this may be great news for owners of the latest iPhone 8 and iPhone X models, what about individuals who still use iPhone 6 or even 5s? When testing an app only on the latest device, it is easy to overlook the fact that the app may run much slower or may not even function on earlier versions of the iPhone.
It is essential to keep in mind that an application should provide an identical user experience across all supported Apple devices, regardless of whether it is a new or an older model. Therefore, testing an app on multiple devices and simulators is critical to ensuring that the app functions flawlessly across all devices.
9. Missing Out on Security Aspects
The importance of securing user data cannot be overstated. Especially considering the common mistakes iOS developers make that can lead to data breaches. Every year, we’re reminded of the vulnerability of online data. More so with mobile apps and websites being among the most susceptible targets. These breaches can result in companies facing costly lawsuits, individuals losing their jobs, and sensitive information such as credit card numbers and bank accounts being exposed to hackers. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize data security and implement measures to prevent these devastating outcomes.
So, what can you do to prevent data exposure in mobile apps?
First and foremost, sensitive data should be stored in a secure location, and not in places such as CoreData or NSUserDefaults. Developers should carefully examine all components that might secretly store sensitive data, without their knowledge.
Secondly, data encryption should always be utilized, and static encryption keys should be disregarded. This is because hackers can gain access to the server of your mobile app.
To prevent access to your mobile app server, any information related to test servers, as well as test endpoints, should be deleted. By following these guidelines, developers can minimize the risk of data exposure in their mobile apps.
10. Neglecting Performance & Memory Capabilities
In terms of performance, iOS has been a benchmark for other mobile operating systems since its inception. Therefore, users expect your app to be fast and efficient in terms of power usage. There are nearly 2.2 million apps already on the App Store. Hence, it is highly unlikely that users will wait for an app that does not run smoothly or drains their iPhone battery in just an hour.
Memory management is a crucial aspect of iOS development. Overlooking it is one of the biggest mistakes iOS developers make. As an iOS developer, you might believe that the Automatic Reference Counter (ARC) handles all memory-related issues, absolving you of responsibility. However, memory optimization is still crucial, even with ARC in place. While ARC has made things easier for developers, it has also led to complacency. Hence, resulting in memory leaks in code written by beginners. Therefore, it’s important to remain vigilant and ensure proper memory management in all stages of iOS app development.
Memory leaks refer to unused memory that remains tied up within an app. This decreases free memory and causing the iPhone/iPad to slow down or even crash. Therefore, it is essential to prepare a list of possible causes of performance and memory utilization issues. Consider using unnecessarily high-resolution images that weigh several megabytes and add to the server’s workload.
11. Not Worrying Enough About Accessibility
At various software development firms, accessibility is frequently an afterthought. The language used to describe accessibility can even be discriminatory. It may highlight the challenges developers face when attempting to create accessible applications.
But accessibility is not just about eradicating permanent barriers that impede people from accessing content. It also entails enabling anyone to utilize accessibility features to access content and testing the application. This is with users who employ accessibility tools. They can identify issues with the code and ensure the application is accessible to all users.
12. Compromising Quality of User Interface
The success of an application can be significantly affected by the misconception that the interface is solely the responsibility of the designers. In fact, platform-specific insights provided by individual developers can greatly enhance the user experience.
Poorly designed interfaces, particularly during the signup process, can deter users or prompt them to abandon the app altogether. Therefore, developers must work collaboratively with designers to produce interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing, functional and user-friendly. Ultimately, it is the sense of enjoyment and user satisfaction that beautiful designs can help deliver.
13. Not Recognizing the Importance of Style Guides
Beginner developers often feel overwhelmed by the quality of their code. Some may think that it is too complex to replicate senior developers’ elegant lines. However, it is perfectly normal to feel this way as a beginner. What matters most is to produce functional and legible code that is easy to read and understand.
Unfortunately, some beginners overlook the importance of commenting and organizing their code. They believe that if users do not see the code, it does not matter. However, poorly written code, also known as spaghetti code, can lead to significant problems for other developers. They may waste hours, if not days, trying to make sense of the code, causing delays and budget overruns. Poorly written code is also a common cause of app failures.
To avoid these issues, it is essential to make a habit of organizing and keeping the code clean. If working in a team, developers should establish coding rules or style guides that everyone follows.
Beginner iOS programmers often encounter various programming errors, including technical ones such as failing to optimize memory usage, or soft-skill-related errors, such as failing to clarify important details before commencing work on a task. It’s essential to realize that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Nobody is immune to them. In fact, mistakes are critical to the learning process. They help us understand if we are on the right track. Fortunately, most of the common mistakes iOS developers make are already among the list, so it’s unnecessary to repeat them.