Apple tells developers it's time to 'optimize your app for 5G'

5g Iphone
5g Iphone (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has told developers to "optimize" their apps for 5G data.
  • Streaming apps, games, machine learning apps, and AR apps are called out specifically.

Apple made a big deal about 5G when it announced iPhone 12 last year and it's using WWDC21 as a way to remind developers that they should "optimize" their apps for the super-fast cellular data connection.

In a piece posted to the Apple developer website yesterday, Apple told developers that they should "up [their] 5G came" and outlined a few ways they can go about that across multiple app categories.

Wi-Fi and LTE have long helped apps deliver connected experiences like video streaming, social networking, and online gaming — and 5G networking can provide even more opportunities to take advantage of high-bandwidth and low-latency connections in your app. Discover how you can optimize your existing app or build a new product from the ground up with 5G in mind so that you can move more data faster and deliver a great experience to people around the world.

Apple called out streaming apps, games, machine learning apps, and apps that use augmented reality as just some that should be making better use of 5G. Apple also pointed out that 5G can be more speedy than some Wi-Fi networks, suggesting that developers no longer think of cellular as the lesser of the two.

Forget the network Because 5G networks typically offer better performance than Wi-Fi, it's up to you to decide how your app best utilizes network resources — and you no longer need to rely on overall network type (cellular or Wi-Fi) to do so. Instead, you can use Constrained and Expensive to describe various network states. Each of these states relies on information from a person's Data Mode choices (as defined in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options) as well as their cellular plan restrictions.

Developers can read the lengthy post for more details on what Apple is trying to help them achieve here.

Don't yet have an iPhone with 5G? These are the best iPhone 12 deals we've come across that will get you into a 5G iPhone for less.

Oliver Haslam

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.