There’s one rule in the App Store Review Guidelines that has never been taken seriously by Apple:

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

By it’s very nature this guideline is impossible to enforce during app review. But apps that break the guideline once they are in the App Store are also seemingly never punished for it, at least I’ve never heard of it happening. Worse, Apple also break this rule themselves and this week saw more notifications go out from the company promoting Carpool Karaoke and Apple Music.

It’s ridiculous that this part of rule 4.5.4 still remains in the guidelines. Apple should either get rid of it and accept that push notifications will be used for promotion, or my preference would be to really enforce the rule and implement punitive measures for apps that are reported as breaking this rule. Step one of that is for Apple to stop doing this themselves.

Rant over. But as with all good rants about Apple, this one ends with a radar number! 😀

As this year draws to a close it’s for my regular week off next week! However, I have had an idea for something which you may enjoy and so I’m not going to take my break this year. Don’t expect a normal though, it’s not going to be that.

I hope you all enjoy seeing family and friends over the next week and I wish you all happy holidays! 🍾🎄

Dave Verwer


Facial recognition: It’s time for action

Not directly related to iOS development, but since we carry around a device in our pockets which is more than capable of recognising faces I think we should all have an interest in this. It’s a proposal from Microsoft for government level action and legislation around facial recognition and it’s something I can completely get behind.

Apple Changes App Store Rules to Allow Users to Gift In-App Purchases

This is a change to the guidelines, and not to the App Store itself so it’s still not possible for end users to gift someone else a subscription or an In-App Purchase (yet? 🤞) but this is a good step in the right direction.

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How do you easily get Swift code into the iPad version of Swift Playgrounds? John Sundell figured this was a problem that needed solving, and then solved it!

I looked at the code for this and wondered for a minute what I was missing as there is maybe 5 lines of actual code in the tool. That led me to his Xgen project though which I had no idea about!

Swift Studio

It’s early days for this new IDE from Marcin Krzyżanowski but I can see it being a success if the focus is on server side Swift. It’s not yet available in beta, but I signed up to take a look when it comes out.


The Beauty of Swift 5 String Interpolation

String interpolation is changing in Swift 5 and Erica Sadun has put together a three part blog post on the subject. She starts with the basics but then goes on to cover radix/base, date, and number formatting. It’s also worth reading this post from Olivier Halligon about formatting attributed strings with interpolation.

Connecting to WiFis is still an unsolved problem

How does your app behave when it’s connected to a captive WiFi network that hasn’t authenticated yet? This proof of concept code from Felix Krause shows you how to cope with the situation so you can at least let your users know that they’re currently captive.

Analyzing Complexity

Soroush Khanlou on the process of figuring out where an optimisation was needed, and then picking the best solution for it when trying to get the twenty smallest numbers from a large array. The result is this function, but as always it’s the journey that’s really interesting.


More open source from Airbnb, this time the collection view layout that powers their main content view. I still love that UICollectionView was architected in a way where the layout is totally independent of the content. We get to take advantage of all of the benefits of a standard collection view without being tied to any single look and feel.


Displaying HTML is easy enough on iOS, but Markdown and LaTeX both require pre-processing to get to HTML. This control from Ahmed Elkady and Jake Bolam renders any of those formats natively. The inclusion of YouTube/Vimeo support is curious, I’d have been tempted to make that a separate component but Markdown support is certainly useful.


Can Users Control and Understand a UI Driven by Machine Learning?

Raluca Budiu with a great article on how we can create usable, logical user interfaces when machine learning powers a feature. One example of where I feel iOS gets this kind of UI right is the notification that appears when your phone connects to your car’s bluetooth and traffic information for where you’re likely to be going is displayed. It’s smart (which is good for a ML powered feature), it’s clear why it is there, and it’s useful without needing to touch the phone. 🚘

And finally…

Xcode Symbology Challenge!

If you’re bored over the holiday break this year, this little game from Erica Sadun should keep you all busy. Fun for the whole family! 😅

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