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Apple reminds developers how to file bug reports ahead of iOS 14

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has a new support article explaining how to file "great bug reports".
  • The article is available on the Apple developer portion of its website.
  • This comes ahead of an expected iOS 14 beta release in a little more than a week.

Apple has a new support document out and it's aimed at helping developers know exactly how to provide "great bug reports" when filing them. The guide comes a little more than a week before Apple is expected to release the first iOS 14 beta to developers.

The new guide is available on Apple's developer site (opens in new tab) and encourages developers to any and all bugs that they might come across.

You should always file feedback for any bugs you find while developing on Apple's platforms; after all, we can't fix problems that we don't know about. But how can you be sure that the information you provide is helpful for triaging the issue, rather than a bug-solving dead end? Here are some of our top tips for making sure your bug report is clear, actionable, and — most importantly — fixable.

The problem here is that a lot of developers feel that filing bug reports with Apple is akin to throwing a dart into a massive black hole. Unless you happen to know someone inside Apple – and not all developers have that luxury – bug reports often go undealt with or, perhaps worse, simply closed as duplicates of existing reports.

Regardless, Apple continues to push the onus onto developers.

Whenever you log a new bug report, be clear and descriptive. Whether you're providing specific feedback around a bug you're running into or general feedback, describe your issue in detail.This starts with a clear title that describes both the issue and the inciting factor. "Calendar events are missing" tells the screener that there's an issue with Calendar events, but not how or why. In contrast, "Calendar events on macOS 10.15.4 are missing after creating a quick event" provides more detail at a glance and potentially helps identify duplicate bugs sooner.

Apple continues, asking developers to create sample projects to show Apple's teams what an issue is. Because it makes life easier for Apple.

Running into an issue while developing an app? Consider isolating the problem into a small sample project that compiles. Not only can it help you narrow down the specific bug you're facing, but it's one of the easiest ways for Apple's bug screeners and engineers to triage the offending problem. If you can't produce a sample project, sample code is also helpful — any additional information that can help narrow down the issue is valuable.

I'm super interested to hear how this is being received by developers, both large and small. Developers are a group of people who are already under the cosh to get new features ready for a big iOS release in September. Having Apple push the burden of improving that big release onto them might not be something that goes down well.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • I would file this under "Not A Good Sign". Sort of like a restaurant introducing a new menu item with "Reminder: here is the Poison Control Hotline phone number".
  • I guess I don't understand what's new about this, or why it's ominous, at all. In the 24 years I've been doing software, submitting bugs to other teams, groups or companies, or more recently, open source project, always, ALWAYS, the gold standard is to have a minimal compilable project that repros the bug. ALWAYS. This is not new, and it's a pain, and it's also completely reasonable if you expect them to do anything with it. Now, I'm not defending Apple and saying, submitting RADARs (or Feeback, or whatever) is *not* a black hole, but the sheer fact that they want us to give them a reproducible scenario is a pretty fair ask. As a dev who has to field half-baked bug reports where it ranges from cryptic to design-by-ticket (where the tester tries to change the way something works more to their liking, and calls that a 'bug'), I can tell you that Apple's ask here seems eminently reasonable. Now, if Apple would just make Universal Linking dead-on reliable on iOS 13, I'd be a happy guy.