What’s New with Multitasking 

Session 204 WWDC 2013

It’s critical to keep people’s content as up to date as possible. Learn how new APIs in iOS 7 will let your applications fetch new data in the background to keep people up to date. See techniques you can use to perform operations in the background without draining the user’s battery. Understand how you can keep your app’s snapshot up to date so users see the latest content in the new multitasking interface in iOS 7. All these techniques will let you build an app that feels alive and always up to date.

[ Silence ]

Good afternoon.

My name is David Chan.

Today, we’re going to talk a bit about multitasking.

As you saw yesterday, we have some great new APIs for you today, and we’re going to just dive right in.

So first, we want to just do a quick review of the multitasking that we have in iOS 6.

We have a few changes here that we want to just to note right at the top and then we’re going to dive right into the new APIs that we have for you.

We’re really excited to see what you guys think about it and what you’ll do inside of your applications.

And then next, we’re going to talk a little bit about what it means to run in the background.

For those of you who haven’t adapted any of the more significant multitasking APIs in the past, these are a few tips and things that you should be considering as you’re implementing it.

Details are incredibly important to make a great application and this is where you’re going to learn about what you need to do for those.

So, in iOS 6, we have a number of great APIs for you to for example playing audio into the background if you’re listening to music, for your application to be woken up and notified when the user changes location, if they enter in a region that they’re interested in.

And of course, in iOS 5, we introduced Newsstand which allows newspaper and magazine applications to keep their content up to date.

So, here are a few changes that we’ve made to some of the existing multitasking APIs.

The UIApplication background task API is really great.

It’s certainly very useful to continue operation after users have left your application.

And a number of applications use this for encoding video or transferring files, uploading or downloading and completing database operations or just generally finishing up whatever the user was doing.

And so from a power standpoint, it kind of looked like this.

When the application enters the background, obviously the phone stays awake to keep that task running, even when the user locks her phone.

So, when you lock your phone and you put it in your pocket, you kind of expect it to go to sleep.

But in iOS 6, that background task would keep the phone awake and then it would only go to sleep after that task has ended.

In iOS 7, we’ve changed this slightly to improve battery life.

So, we have where the application enters the background, where it locks and you’ll see that the phone goes to sleep shortly afterwards.

And that anytime that the device is awake to, for example, check mail, your application will get a chance to run at that point too, so you get these opportunistic slices of time to run.

And you’ll see that you still get about the same amount of time to run your task.

It’s just split up over that period.

So, if you’re an application that uses the background tasks to transfer files, in iOS 7, we’re going to encourage you to use the NSURLSession API and we’re going to discuss what that looks like and how to use that in a little bit.

And of course, if you’re going to support iOS 6 as well as iOS 7, all we ask is that you check to see if that class exists and use the new enqueuing behavior but of course, continuing to use your old stuff for iOS 6 as well.

So, just to summarize, applications will no longer keep the device awake when you’re running these tasks.

You’ll still get several minutes of runtime just as before, it’s just not guaranteed to be contiguous.

So, next stop is the App Switcher.

So, I hope you guys noticed yesterday, we have a great new App Switcher.

It prominently features snapshots, so users can go through and find what they’re looking for just by recognition.

So, the really important thing to note about this is that your snapshots that got taken after your application goes into the background is even more important, and it’s really, really important now that you go back to the same place that the user was at when they left.

And if you haven’t seen it before, I encourage you to go to the State Restoration talk that will be on Thursday.

And you’ll be able to see how to use State Restoration to do that.

It’s a really simple API.

It’s very powerful.

You’ll be able to use that to make sure that when that user taps that snapshot and it flies in, it goes right back into the same place that they left it.

Also, users will be able to swipe up to remove applications, and so just as before in iOS 6, that will stop the application from running but now in iOS 7, it will also stop that application from running in the background.

And we’ve made this consistent across a number of APIs, but you guys should be aware that that is what’s that will be what’s happening when the application is removed.

So, we applied these to location services as well, so with respect to the App Switcher state, so your application for region monitoring or significant location changes won’t launch in the background if the users remove that application.

In addition, users will be able to configure whether or not they want that application to run in the background with the new Background App Refresh Settings under General.


So quick note about Newsstand, we’ve only updated it to support these two things, Settings as well as the App Switcher.

You’ll see a lot of really great APIs here that might be tempting to use if you’re a Newsstand developer.

Suffice it to say, we encourage you to stick with the Newsstand API for your Newsstand behavior and that for new features, you’ll certainly want to consider using our new stuff.

OK, so with that, let’s dive in.

First, multitasking API is background app fetch.

And what this is, is it’s a periodic way for your application to get launched into the background to update its content.

It’s based on when the user actually users your application so that your fetch opportunities can be as fresh as possible.

And we’ll go into a little bit about what that means and how that works so that you guys can get an understanding of how to build your features.

Next stop is notifications.

This is really a great API.

We’ve had lots of request for this and I think you guys are going to love this.

This basically just gives your application a chance to launch whenever you send it a push notification crafted in a certain way, it can actually wake up your application in the background with a silent push notification.

So that if there’s something immediate that needs to happen inside of the application but doesn’t need to bother the user, you can do that too.

It’s really great.

And lastly is a Background Transfer Service, so this will allow you to enqueue large uploads and downloads for iOS to continue in the background after the user leaves your application and can continue across reboots and just handles all of that for you.

It’s really great.

So with that, let’s start talking about background app refresh.

So, let’s say you’ve got the next great social networking application.

Now, this might sound typical to all of you, or familiar to all of you.

When your app becomes front most, you typically refresh your feed right then, which means that for a few seconds, your users are stuck looking at what they saw last time and not what’s new.

And obviously, they’ve gone to your application to see what’s going on with your you know, with their friends and family.

So, now in iOS 7, you can update your content before the user returns to your application.

So, just like you resume mail and has new mail there, then you can get that same experience in iOS 7.

So, that new interesting content is just waiting there for the users to go and see.

So, let’s dig into the API.

It’s really simple, but it’s a common pattern that we’re going to use throughout the top.

So, I want you to pay attention to how this works.

The first thing you do is either in the Info.plist or in the new Xcode feature capability’s PNG, you’re going to enable Background Fetch by adding this key to UI background modes.

The second thing you do is you set this Minimum Background Fetch interval and that will allow your application to enable these fetches to start with.

And we’ll go over what these values are and what that actually means in practice in just a moment.

Finally, once your application does get launched in the background, it’ll go through this typical pattern where it did finish launching, gets called, and then obviously if your application was already running and it was simply suspended in the background, your application will be resumed and perform fetch with completion handle will be called.

So, this is our new delegate callback in UIApplicationDelegate.

All you do is you implement that, you get passed in a completion handler and from that point on, you’re allowed a certain amount of time in order to kick off any network request you need to do to retrieve new content and update your UI.

And then after you’ve done all of that and you’ve gotten that brand new stuff, you’re going to call the completion handler that was called that was passed in and that’s really important.

That’s where your snapshot gets taken and will go right into that app switcher UI, so that if the user is passing by your application the app switcher, they can see, “Hey, look, there’s brand new content there.

That’s a cool new picture, I want to see that.”

In addition, it also saves the state restoration archive so that, of course, when you tap that, the user goes right into your application even if it may have exited in the background.

So, let’s talk about the minimum fetch interval.

So with that same social networking app, right, it’s like any other application, you have a user account that you have to log in with.

And so when the user first installs it, it starts signed out which means that there’s no content available.

And so the default value of the minimum fetch interval is never.

Once the user signs in, however, the content will then be available.

So you can set that fetch interval to minimum and that means that the system will use a reasonable default in order to find out when your application should be launched to update.

And of course, the cycle completes, if the user happens to log out, you want to set that back to never.

So never and minimum are two of the values that you can use, but of course you can set a custom value expressed in seconds.

So let’s take a look at what that actually how that actually works.

So let’s say that I app icon there represents some app activity like the user using your application or a previous fetch.

For a limited amount of time afterwards, fetching will be disabled.

So if you set this to let’s say an hour, for the next hour, the system will not wake up your application in order to go and fetch.

But that for any time after that, fetching will be allowed at any time.

So if you zoom out a little bit, what that looks like is that there’s no repeating interval.

It just means that there’s a period of time after your app launches where the system won’t wake it up.

Now, you might ask, “Why would you want to do that?

Of course, I want to be updated all the time.”

So I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say you have an application that reads data from a number of personal weather stations and that’s really expensive to do, so you only do it once an hour.

You know ahead of time that your content only updates once an hour.

So if you were being woken up let’s say every 15 minutes, that would be a waste of the user’s battery life and it would be a waste of your server resources.

So you can set this value to that.

But if you don’t have constraints like that, we highly encourage you to use the default minimum.

We think that will give you a really great experience and give your users the right thing.

So, with that I’d like to invite up on stage Brittany Hughes from the SpringBoard team and she’ll show us how to update your application with these APIs and how easy it is to do an Xcode.


Hi. My name is Brittany and I’m going to show you how to update your app to fetch new content in the background.

OK, I think I have the next great social networking app.

I’ve been working on an app that is a social network for clowns and clown enthusiasts.

I call it Clowntown.

So, let’s start by giving you a little tour of my app.

[ Pause ]

OK, here we go.

You can see it’s a very simple app.

It just has a lot of posts from my clown friends.

I can pull the refresh to get new posts and when I just pulled the refresh, we just got two new posts.

They’re marked in blue and if you look really closely down here on the corner of a post, there’s a timestamp.

That means these posts were downloaded at 2:20.

So unfortunately for my users, the only way for them to see new posts from their clown friends is to pull the refresh.

Wouldn’t it be great if my app was already up to date when the user launched it?

Well now in iOS 7, we can do that.

Let me show you how.

The first thing we need to do is we need to add the new UI background mode.

Xcode 5 has made it much easier to manage your UI background modes.

All you have to do is click on your project over here on the left.

And then on the Capabilities tab, down here there’s a background mode section.

If I zoom in here, you can see here is the list of background modes, so I’m just going to check Background Fetch and now it’s added to my apps Info.plist The next thing I need to do is I need to set my apps minimum fetch interval.

This is super important because the default interval is never, that means my app will never be given a chance to run in the background.

I’m going to set my apps minimum fetch interval to the minimum interval which means that iOS will decide when it’s best for my app to run in the background.

The next thing I need to do is I need to implement the new UI application delegate callback.

Application performs fetch with completion handler.

In this method, I need to go fetch my new posts.

I need to update my apps UI to show the new posts, and then I need to call the completion handler to signal to iOS that I’m finished with my refresh.

Let’s go check out my View Controller to see what options I have.

OK, it looks like I have conveniently refreshed with completion handler.

Let’s use that.

It looks like this method takes in a block than when the refresh is finished, will give me back a bool whether or not we downloaded new post in that refresh.

Let’s add that over here in my UI application delegate callback.

Now inside this block, what I need to do is I need to call the UI application delegates completion handler.

The UIApplicationDelegate’s completion handler can take a couple of different arguments.

So, if we did receive new posts, then I’m going to call the completion handler with UI Background Fetch result new data.

If there weren’t any new posts, then I’m going to call the completion handler with UI Background Fetch result no data.

OK, let’s go check out and see what refresh with completion handler actually does.

OK, it looks like it takes that completion handler and assigns it to a property.

This was probably a good idea before when there was only one code path that was coming through here, but now that we just added that second code path, it’s not a great idea anymore.

The reason why this isn’t a good idea is because it’s possible for us to come through this method one time with a completion handler, stash it away in our property and then before that refresh is finished, we’ll come in here with a different completion handler, assign it to the property which will overwrite the first one.

That means the first completion handler will never get called.

One of the most important things about the UI application delegate callback is that we call the completion handler.

Like I said a minute ago, that’s the signal to the system that we’re done with everything, we’re ready to be snapshotted.

If I don’t call the completion handler, bad things will happen.

So, instead of signing it to a property, let’s just get rid of that and let’s pass the completion handler all the way through the refresh.

So I’m going to delete that line, I’m going to get rid of my property and then I’ll just change this method to fetch new posts with completion handler.

And then that means I need to update the signature to fetch new posts with completion handler.

And then inside this method, it’s look like we were referencing the completion handler property that we just get rid of.

So instead, let’s just reference the completion handler argument.

OK, looks like everything’s going good so far.

Let me run my app and make sure I didn’t break anything.

OK, here we are, looks good so far.

If I pull the refresh, all right, we’ve got three new posts, they’re marked in blue and their timestamp is 2:24 p.m. Now, I need to test that my app can actually fetch new content in the background.

There are two very important scenarios you need to test here.

The first scenario is having your app launched in the background to fetch new content.

The second scenario is having your app resumed in the background to fetch new content.

Let’s test the resume case first.

I recommend testing the resume case by creating a new scheme.

So what I’m going to do is I’m going to come up here to my scheme list and I’m going to hit Manage Schemes.

And I just have one the default, so I’m just going to duplicate that.

Let’s call it Clowntown Background Fetch with an R.

And if I zoom in here, in the Run section of the scheme under the Options tab, there’s a checkbox down here that is Launch Due to a Background Fetch Event.

So I’m just going to check that, and zoom out and then hit OK, OK.

Going to sneakily clear this, OK.

And now I’m going to run my app.

What you’ll notice here is that the simulator launched and my app is running but it’s not in the foreground.

That’s because it was launched into the background to fetch new content.

If I look down here in the Syslog for my app, it says that we fetched one new post and then saved a snapshot.

Let’s resume my app and see what it looks like.

OK great, we have our one new post, it’s marked in blue and the timestamp is 2:26 p.m.

That was just a couple of seconds ago.

So the launch case worked.

Now we need to test the resume case.

Xcode 5 has added a new menu item in the Debug menu called Simulate Background Fetch that will test the resume case.

So I’m just going to click that and if I come back over here at the simulator, it’s still running my apps not in the foreground because it was resumed in the background.

And if I check down here on the Syslog, it looks like we fetched another new post and saved another snapshot.

So let me resume my app and see what it looks like now.

OK great, we have one new post from Mr. Happy, it’s the blue post and its timestamp is 2:26:52 which is just a couple of seconds ago.

So we just verified that my app could be launched and resumed in the background to fetch new content.

And now it’s possible for my app to be up to date when the user launches my app.

You’ve seen how easy it is to update your app to fetch new content in the background.

It’s not that hard.

Back to you Dave.

[ Applause ]

Thanks Brittany.

So what did we learn?

It’s really, really easy to update your application with the new APIs.

We’ve made it intentionally very simple.

We think that it should be really easy for you guys to get started even today.

But two main points that Brittany made, make sure to pass that completion handler all the way through so that every perform fetch is bookended with calling the completion handler and calling the completion handler with the proper status of whether or not there’s new data, there’s no data or failed will give you will give us the system more information about how your application is working.

So next, I wanted to pull the curtain back a little bit so that you guys can get a sense of how Background Fetch works under the behind the curtains so that so that you can design your features in the right way.

So the first thing that you need to know is that this system iOS schedules these fetches.

It’s important that the system do this so that these opportunities can be coalesced across applications.

That means that multiple applications get an opportunity fetch at the same time so that we can optimize power, that’s really important.

You know, these phones have great batteries but you do too many of these things at the same time and or you do too many of these things over the course of the day and that can really wear it down.

The second thing to note is that the system looks at how users actually use their device on the device in order to see when they’re typically using it.

So that means it does a bit of prediction in order to figure out what the right time to use that what the right time to update that application.

The other thing that it does is it’s sensitive to energy in daily users.

That means that it can look at how much data is being used and how much energy is being used in order to manage these fetches correctly so that we don’t have users with poor battery life and excessive data plans.

And as we’ve mentioned before, this is completely indifferent to your actual app running state.

If you happen to be running, you’ll get resumed.

If your application is no longer running, you’ll get launched.

So let me give you a small example about of what I mean by when I say adapts to user activity.

So let’s say the user uses their device in this particular pattern on the first day and uses it in a slightly different way on the second day and so on.

The device can observe this pattern so it can really figure out that yes, the user uses this INN app in the morning.

And they use it around lunch time and then they use it in the evening.

And that’s a really simple thing to observe because then it allows us to actually make this prediction about when those apps get used.

And the best time to update an application’s info is just before the user launches it.

So that the data is as fresh and up to date as possible before they get into it.

So it allows us to make this prediction.

So three main points that you should remember.

It learns these patterns based on actual device usage.

It coalesces, fetches across the applications at the same time.

And this system allows us to avoid frequent fetching during periods of inactivity.

So of course, it would be inefficient both for the device, as well as your servers, if we have the system fetching, you know, every 15 minutes or in the middle of the night when the user is asleep.

So that’s Background Fetch.

Now, we think this is going to be incredibly useful for many different kinds of applications, we thought about social networking feeds, news and entertainment applications, blog aggregators, weather apps, finance apps.

And we think that you can use this in conjunction with one of the other APIs that we’re going to be talking about soon, call background transfers in order to download even bigger things like photos or videos to allow you to get an experience where the user can pop up in your application and instantly start viewing, you know, large beautiful photos or videos.

So next, let’s talk about Remote Notifications.

So if any of you have a kind of messaging functionality inside of your application, I’m sure you’re familiar with this flow.

If I send a message to somebody over my new application here, what happens is my server send a push to the Apple servers and that sends a push to the device and that causes a notification banner to show up on the lock screen.

When the user goes and slides to view that notification, only then is your application launched or resumed and then that’s when you go and retrieve the full message so that it’s ready to view.

Now, this can leave users with a bit of lag where they see either the old message or an old transcript that they were looking at before.

And then only after a few seconds does it actually update to show them their message.

So we flipped this around.

In iOS 7, you can actually get woken up before the user sees that banner notification.

So you can immediately retrieve that message and then make it ready for viewing so that when the user just swipes to view on the lock screen, they can see that message right away and we think this is really powerful.

[ Applause ]

In addition, you can omit that alert line and that’ll allow you to actually send a silent notification.

And this gets delivered in the background.

Again, if your app wasn’t running, we’d launch it.

If it is running, we resume it.

And you can go and retrieve whatever content you need to at this point.

Now, this is incredibly powerful.

We think there’s a lot of applications that we’ll be able to take advantage of this and do really, really great auto behavior with it.

There are a couple things to note.

There’s a new protocol that we’re introducing this year that is optional right now.

That also was intended to support silent pushes.

And you should go to the push notifications lab on Wednesday to learn more about it.

We think many providers will get a kick out of what the new protocol can do.

But for you guys, all you need to know is that you just need to provide this content available flag here and you can set silent notifications that gets to your app up to date.

So let’s take a look about the at the API in a little bit more detail.

So this should be a familiar pattern.

You just set this Remote Notification key in the UI background modes or use the X code feature capabilities menu to enable this.

You set content-available 1 in your APS payload and then when your app is launched in the background or resumed, you will get a, didReceiveRemoteNotification with a completion handler.

So that will allow you to go and retrieve that new message or whatever you need to do.

And then call the completion handler when you’re done.

So again, in order to do a silent push, all you need to do is omit that alert or sound entry in the APS payload.

Important thing to realize about silent notifications though is that the rate limited.

With normal notifications, we fully expect users to be able to manage that.

If you’re annoying your user, they will clearly do something about it.

But with silent notifications, obviously, if the user doesn’t have any indication of them, they can’t manage that on their own.

So iOS and our push servers will manage a rate limit for you.

And the thing you need to get out of this is that we’re not asking you to hold back your silent push notifications.

We want you to send them as frequently as your application dictates.

And the thing you need to realize is that we’ve done the work for you to make sure that the device can protect itself and that it can make sure that it doesn’t run out of power because it’s using too many push notifications.

So, I just want to let you know how this works so that you can as you’re going ahead and testing this that you’re not surprised by the way the pushes are rate limited.

So when the push rate is completely acceptable and, you know, let’s say you’re sending only a couple an hour, something like that, both normal and silent push notifications are delivered immediately.

You have that same quality service that we have today, it just sends straight through and of course, they don’t wake up the device.

Or rather they don’t wake the screen up.

When that push rate is too high, silent pushes can then get stored for later delivery on our servers.

And for those of you who are familiar with the way pushes work today, we still have the same storage guarantee, we store one on the server, and if there’s another silent notification that comes in when the push rate is still too high, that will get stored in the server.

Then, if there’s any other communication between the Apple push service and the device, we’ll actually put that silent notification on the back of that and actually piggyback that along, send along to the device.

So we’re not halting your pushes.

All we’re doing is delaying it by just a little bit until when it’s a good time for the device to receive it based on power.

So again, there’s nothing special that you need to do here.

All you need to do is realize that the device and the servers will take care of the rate for you, that you can just send it when it’s appropriate for your application.

So here’re some really great examples that we came up with.

Obviously, like we had in the example, instant messaging is a perfect example for this.

We think picture messaging is especially important here because oftentimes, when you get that message, the application needs to then download that whole photo.

So now, you can download it in the background and that picture is completely ready to go once users use that.

We think this is really, really awesome.

This is really great for email.

So if you’re already sending push notifications as email notifications, right, you can then go and fetch the entire mailbox.

We think silent notification is being used for completely different things.

If you have episodic content, you can get those downloaded using the Background Transfer Service.

There are applications out there that implement this kind of read some stories later kind of functionality.

And some applications have actually gone so far as to implement a fetching behavior on the back of region monitoring.

So that when you go home or you leave work, you can actually go and download content then.

We think that this is a much better model.

All you do in that case is when the user add something to that list, selling the silent notification to the device because A, the user doesn’t need to be notified that they added something to that list.

So that should be silent.

And then the application can download that content that they want to read offline.

So we think this is actually really awesome and it will work really well.

For Purchase Syncing, so if you have a library of magazines or comic books or something, and the user buys something on your website, this can be a great way to send a notification to the device so that it can go download that new content so it’s available offline.

Or if you have a File Syncing application with documents, same thing.

Just send that notification when it’s ready, and then go.

So let’s talk a little bit about how silent notifications can work with background transfers to provide a brand new feature, auto downloading in a TV application.

So let’s say some TV network has an application out there that allows you to do offline content viewing.

And they want to offer a system where, hey, every week when that new episode of the show that the user’s favorited is ready that it can download onto the device so that they can view it at anytime.

So the user asks for new episodes to be downloaded when it’s available.

When that episode is available, the content provider can just send a silent push to the devices that have signed up for the stuff.

And so the app going to wake up and can check for any newly available episodes and queue them into the Background Transfer Service so the application can go back to sleep at this point and then once it’s completed, the application just wakes up, updates the UI and then post a local notification letting the user know that it has new content.

So the same thing would kind of go for File Syncing application.

If you, let’s say, favorite a particular file and then you want it updated all the time, whether that file changes, let’s say, if they’re editing on their desktop, that service can send a silent push right away and because it’s rate limited already, you don’t need to do anything to make sure that’s going at the right speed.

So once that app wakes up, it can check for any newly available files and enqueue those file diffs into the transfer service and then the UI I’m sorry, the application will then wake up and update its UI.

So receive push notifications at the background, we think this is big.

Silent pushers are rate limited and that’s intended to help save you effort and time.

So here were the two APIs that we’ve talked about so far.

And when you’re sitting down and looking to enhance one of your features with this, we want you to kind of keep in consideration why you would pick one or the other.

You would typically use fetch when the content is really interesting but not quite critical.

It’s not really important to let the user know about it right away.

Whereas Remote Notifications that would be a lot more immediate, you know, it’s a message from their friend or it needs as much time as possible in order to download.

If the content was available all the time very, very frequently, it can be really burdensome on power as well as your servers to notify all the applications about it whenever that happens.

So we think that that’s a much better use case for Background Fetch.

So for example, I don’t know about you but my social networking feeds always look like they’re updating every single second.

And for Remote Notifications, it’s fine if it’s very frequent but maybe that’s more sporadic so if I’m working on a document on my PC and it’s supposed to sync to my phone, that would be sporadic but maybe kind of frequent for that period of time, where Remote Notifications would be the appropriate thing to use there.

OK, so let’s dive into the Background Transfer Service.

So in iOS 6, using the UI application background test API, applications can transfer files while in the foreground or even for a few minutes when the application returns to the background.

But that’s limited sort of arbitrarily by time.

You only get a few minutes to download or upload and that can cause weird user experience where, you know, maybe your video didn’t finish uploading.

So in addition, you couldn’t kind of effectively download the content or upload large assets.

In iOS 7, we’ve changed this.

We’re providing a service that allows you to enqueue downloads and uploads that are managed by the OS that continue even after your application exits or the device reboots.

It’s not restricted by time.

We intend this for you to enqueue large things.

You can enqueue it anytime, either from the foreground.

Let’s say if the user decided to upload a video or download, let’s say an episodic content, or from the background.

So if you get woken up for a Background Fetch or for Remote Notifications, that’s a great time to enqueue a transfer into Background Transfer Service.

And of course, your application is woken up to handle authentication errors or completion.

So once it’s done, you can update your UI and make sure the user sees it very prominently, that they have a new piece of content.

So let’s just take a quick look at the API.

So we are introducing a new class called NSURLSession today.

It’s part of the CFNetwork framework and I highly encourage you to go to the What’s New in Foundation Networking talk as well as the foundation networking lab and we’ll have links at the end of the talk.

So you create this NSURLSession, you configure it using a background session configuration and then all you do is you enqueue these NSURLSessionTasks that are associated with an existing NSURLRequest.

So any of the NSURLRequests that you’re doing right now, all you do is you attach them to the session task and enqueue them into the service.

And this can be download tasks or upload tasks and those just continue.

And then once you’re once that transfer is complete, if you’re in the background, if you’re not running or you have been suspended, your application will get launched into background, you’ll get did finish launching and then you’ll get this new callback called handle events for background URL session with a completion handler.

And what this allows you to do is reconnect to your NSURLSession by providing a unique identifier.

And that will allow you to handle that new content so you can, for example, you know, update your UI to prominently show that there’s your upload is completed or that your download is done.

And then, of course, you want to call the completion handler to make sure that the system can go back to sleep and your snapshot gets taken.

So within the transfer service, we have this notion of a discretionary transfer.

And discretionary transfers help preserve battery life and data usage.

And the way they do that is that they’re power managed and they also only go for Wi-Fi.

So if you enqueue a transfer from the background, these transfers will always be discretionary.

And if you’re enqueuing something let’s say from the foreground, that transfer can optionally request for it to be discretionary.

So for example, if it’s something that is not let’s say, it needs to happen at some point but the user didn’t say specifically, “I want this downloaded,” that would be something that you would enqueue as discretionary.

So here’re some examples.

So this would be incredibly useful for uploading photos and videos like we said before.

Used in combination with some of the existing multitasking modes, so for example, if you have significant location change, and your user, for example, flies to San Francisco, they can download, let’s say, new Map Packs and new tiles for the area in order to automatically make sure that their navigation application continues to work really well.

This will help keep your app up to date by downloading in the background number of different things.

Maybe even, you know, podcast or game content.

We think this will be really great and users will get a kick out of this.

OK, so these are our three new multitasking modes.

We think they’re really excellent.

We think that they add a lot to the ecosystem and we really can’t wait to see what you guys do with it.

So details.

We have the viewed details that we want to discuss with you to make sure that as you’re architecting your applications to take advantages of these new opportunities that you do the right things in order to kind of function well in the system.

The first thing to realize is that you get a limited amount of time to run to the background.

This wouldn’t be very power efficient if you were able to run for, let’s say 10 minutes.

You’re given about less than a minute to finish your update and your fetch is in parallel with other apps, which means that you want to make sure that your CPU profile is as minimal as possible and you’re doing these updates.

Obviously, since this is designed for networking, we expect many of your applications to use very little CPU time because you’re just transferring data for the most part.

But you want to make sure to use time profile and instruments to make sure that you are using as much as as little CPU time as possible and that there’s nothing obvious that you can get rid off.

So, it’s really important that you also complete as soon as possible because if you’ve been woken up, the device is going to stay awake for as much time as it gave you until you tell it to say, “I’m done, I can let the system go to sleep.”

So it’s important to complete as soon as possible, call the completion handler, let the device sleep.

So the background task API.

When it’s called from the Background Fetch AP delegate or the Remote Notification delegate or the background transfer completion, your task will only be given seconds to run to the background rather than minutes.

We realize that many of you use the background task API to close database connections or close file handlers or other system resources.

And we want to let you continue doing that but this is not a way for your application to run for minutes and minutes on it.

The next detail.

So like I said before, your snapshot and your state restoration is saved after calling the completion handler.

You want to make sure it configure your view hierarchy to hide sensitive information like, let’s say the user’s passwords of your say password management application.

And like I said before, you really want to use save restoration to transition seamlessly from that cool snapshot of the app switcher back to the application.

Next up is a bit of privacy.

We’ve always encouraged you to use data protection when handling sensitive user data.

This is incredibly important for privacy.

We think that users come to iOS and user applications because it’s a secure way of using their device.

And so a lot of you should be familiar with this NSFileProtection API.

Just to explain just a little bit.

Of course, there is a Data Protection lab that you can go to and we’ll have a link at the end of the session, but let’s explain this for a second.

So we’ve got NSFileProtectionComplete.

What that means is that whenever the device is unlocked and actively being used, these files are available.

You can use them as normal.

But when the device is locked, those files are inaccessible.

And of course, the low means that these files and keychain items are available always.

So even after the first boot, you know, when the device is locked, et cetera.

And we highly encourage you to not use the lowest but use the highest or one of the ones in between.

And we’ll go over what this mean in just a second.

But for completeness, here are the rest of the APIs that you should be looking at but of course, that’ll be on the slides that you’ll get afterwards and you can look at it there.

So, why should you care about this if you’re doing the right thing?

If you’re doing the right thing, your keychain items and credential, so let’s say, users usernames and passwords and log-in tokens or cookies should be in the keychain item as a sec item.

And that should be the maximum protection.

That’s actually the default.

Your database, SQLite database or coordinated database should also be using the complete protection so that it’s not available when the device is locked.

Now, we’ve just told you about all these great ways that you can wake up and run in the background and some of those times, the device is going to be locked.

It’s going to be in their pocket when they receive a new text message or if they get an opportunity to launch.

So that means that you need to kind of make that a little bit more partial.

You want to be able to have access to connect to your service, but what we’re going to do here is set these keychain items to be partially protected and specifically, we’re going to use the mode where the data is available after the very first unlock.

So what we encourage you to do is to actually create is not to actually reduce the protection of that main credential but to create a kind of derivative credential that has limited access.

So you might make it Read-Only or you might make it expire within, let’s say, a week or so, so that if that were to get out, then there wouldn’t be, you know, harmful consequences.

So what do you do with the data that you then download?

So you have that credential, you connect your server, you’re able to download some new information.

What you wanted use is the background mode that allows you to have this data accessible while the file handle is open.

And you can go back and refer to the read the previous slides afterwards, but all it does is allows you to download new data, save it, and as soon as you close it, it can be secured.

And then once that main database is accessible when the device is unlocked, you’re going to merge that new data into your database when that’s appropriate.

So there’s a fairly common pattern.

You can definitely go to the data protection lab and get more details about how to do this, but we encourage you to do this instead of, let’s say, just downgrading the protection on your end credentials.

OK, so next is battery life and cellular data usage.

So, even though the system protects the device and the user against excessive cellular data usage and power efficient and power usage, you can do a lot to be a good citizen and make sure that on the user’s devices, they get as many opportunities as possible in order to have other applications and your own application get launched more often.

Very specifically, the more efficient you are, the more opportunities there will be for your app and other apps to get launched.

So what can you do?

Well, just minimize cellular data usage.

That’s absolutely the best thing you can do.

So we encourage you, before calling the completion handler to only really download what’s necessary to update your UI.

So download thumbnails instead of full images.

But then enqueue those full images into a background transfer so that the system can manage that.

For power efficiency, we encourage you to enqueue as many transfers as possible in parallel that allows the radios to go back to sleep as quickly as possible.

So in addition, that also means that if you have to be using, let’ say, Core Motion or one of the other hardware-specific APIs in order to, you know, provide some kind of user interaction, let’s say you have a game that involves moving your phone around, we encourage you to make sure that that’s get turned off while you’re running in the background so that you’re not impacting power.

And then of course, like I said before, call the completion handler as soon as you’re done.

That allows the system to go back to sleep.

OK, so a quick reminder as well.

If the user removes your application from app switcher, your application will no longer run until it’s then relaunched by the user.

So if your you know, you get feedback from users of saying, “Hey, I removed it and then I was expecting update.”

This why. And the same is true for settings.

If the user turns you off, obviously, you won’t get up any background opportunities.

We’ll be introducing API soon to inspect new settings sorry, new API that will allow you to inspect settings so that you can say, “Hey, am I going to actually run in the background after this,” so you can make sure that if you’re promising some functionality to the user, that you can warn them, that it’s not going to be there.

And of course, like Newsstand and Location, they’ll appear here as well.

So that the user can go through and, you know, turn off particular applications or turn off Background Fetch overall if they want to.

So this is multitasking in iOS 6 and we’ve added Background Fetch which allows you to periodically get new content.

We added Remote Notifications so that your application can launch and be updated, in-response from push notification.

And finally, we have a Background Transfer Service that allows you to enqueue large uploads and downloads to be finished later and then woken up in the background.

For more information, you’re welcome to contact our evangelist and look at the programming guide as well as access to developer forms.

We have a lot of related sessions to this.

We highly encourage you to go the What’s New in Foundation Networking session.

The keychain session will let you learn more about the data protection pattern that I showed here.

I highly encourage you to go to the What’s New in Core Location talk.

They have a lot of great new things and you want to check it out, as well as the State Restoration talk.

You’ll learn about how do you state restoration in your application, how you can make sure that your application is up to date when the user taps on that app switcher.

With that, thank you.

[ Applause ]

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