Apple revealed all the new features and updates to iOS at WWDC23 in June. Since then, our Mobile team has been hard at work testing our SDK to ensure all of our existing functionality works on iOS 17, as well as exploring how to add support for its new capabilities.
This year brings a number of updates to iOS, including:
- New privacy features — Privacy manifests, SDK signatures, and more
- Interactive Live Activities
- Accessibility updates
Privacy Manifests and Required Reason APIs
Privacy manifests are a new way for third-party SDK developers to provide information about their privacy practices to app developers. The manifest provides information about how the SDK collects and uses data, including information about the types of data collected, the purpose of collecting said data, and whether it is used to track the user or is otherwise tied to their identity.
Apple also made changes to their list of Required reason APIs to further protect user privacy. These are considered more sensitive than other APIs, so developers (including third-party SDK developers) are required to declare the reason why they are using a specific API in their privacy manifest file. If an app uses a required reason API and does not declare the reason in their privacy manifest, they will not be able to submit their app to the App Store. Requiring developers to declare the reason why they are using one of these APIs helps Apple ensure they are not being used for harmful purposes such as fingerprinting. There are a variety of approved reasons for using APIs that fall into this category.
Using Xcode 15+, all privacy manifests in an app and its third-party SDKs automatically roll up into a single privacy report. The report provides a full list of the required reason APIs. This is important information for the app developer, as this report can then be used to fill out Apple’s Privacy Nutrition Labels .
Apple will be publishing a list of privacy-impacting SDKs (third-party SDKs that have particularly high impact on user privacy) that will require providing a privacy manifest. Typically, this includes ad networks, so we do not expect Airship to appear on this list. However, with our focus on data privacy, we believe it is important that we support our customers in making it as easy as possible to disclose all of the data collection practices of your app to your users so will include our own privacy manifest in SDK 17.3.0 and above.
For apps using an SDK version older than 17.3.0, refer to the Required reason API usage section of our privacy manifest documentation when creating an Apple privacy manifest. This document covers Airship’s privacy manifest and data collection information as related to Apple’s privacy manifest, plus direct links to related Apple documentation.
We also added support for iOS 17’s SDK signatures, which are digital signatures used to verify the authenticity of third-party SDKs. When an SDK is installed, Xcode verifies the signature of the SDK.
SDK signatures can help ensure developers are installing the SDKs they expect, not malicious or tampered-with SDKs.
Interactivity for Live Activities
Live ActivitiesDisplays current data from your app on the iPhone Lock Screen and in the Dynamic Island. can now be much more interactive and drive more engagement with support for buttons and toggles. Keep these new functionalities in mind as you design and develop Live Activities for your brand.
- Checking in at a restaurant from a Live Activity counting down to a reservation time
- Checking in at a retail store for a curbside order pickup
- Directing a user to live games or replays from a Live Activity tracking the score of a game
- Counting down to a ticket sale and including a purchase button directly in the Live Activity
No changes are required in the Airship SDK to support buttons and toggles.
Update your app to SDK 17.3.0 to take advantage of iOS 17 features. We always recommend keeping up with SDK releases to stay current with enhancements and fixes. Releases as of SDK 17.0.0 include:
- Feature FlagsA toggle for controlling the availability of content or functionality in your app or website.
- Holdout ExperimentsA comparison of the performance of audience members who receive messaging (the treatment group) with those who do not (the holdout group) for the duration of the experiment.
- Downstream in-app experiences in JourneysA continuous user experience of connected Sequences, Scenes, Surveys, and/or In-App Automations.