As developers explore the changes introduced in Apple’s recent release of iOS 10.3 beta and other software they are finding interesting new features that are now available to app developers. Developers are noting that Apple has added a new function in the SDK, which will make it possible for them to add multiple app icons to their applications. A new Instance method has been introduced that they can use to specify the primary app icon as well as “alternate icons”. Apple has used the plural term for icons, suggesting developers can have more than one alternate icons.
What this could mean is Apple is allowing app developers to have more than one icon for their app, something that was not possible before. Using this new feature developers can change their app’s icon whenever they like and offer new ways for users to interact with their apps. For example, weather apps can show a different icon based on the current weather conditions. Games can show a different icon based on user’s progress in the story mode. Music apps can show its alternate icon to indicate song is playing in the background. The possibilities for creativity are endless for developers.
Developers can declare both primary and alternate icons using the following code:
func setAlternateIconName(_ alternateIconName: String?, completionHandler: ((Error?) -> Void)? = nil)
Apple is also going to allow App Store developers to respond to App Store reviews on the App Store. This essentially means developers will be able to interact with their users in a way that wasn’t possible before and answer their questions and complains regarding applications. The responses published by developers to a review will be available for everyone to read on app’s iTunes page. While this will allow developers to respond to a review that unfairly criticizes their app, users will have the ability to flag a comment from developer to Apple if they find the comments misleading or the developer is abusing the system. The App Store response feature for developers will be activated with the release of iOS 10.3.
According to developer Stroughton Smith iOS will ask user’s permission before an app can change its icon.
If that’s the case, then this would make the icon changing feature pretty much pointless. It is unclear whether the permission will be required every time an app wants to use alternate icon or whether the permission will be required once. We will know more soon.