Apple tackles iPad-to-Mac app portability

Xcode framework enables app developers to use one set of source code to target either iPadOS or MacOS

Among the products Apple showcased at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference this week was a suite of tools to help Mac developers.

According to Apple, the new tools and application programming interfaces (APIs) will make it easy to convert iPad apps to Mac.

It said: “With Xcode, developers can open an existing iPad project and simply check a single box to automatically add fundamental Mac and windowing features, and adapt platform-unique elements like touch controls to keyboard and mouse – providing a huge head start on building a native Mac version of their app.”

The benefit of Xcode is that Mac and iPad apps share the same project and source code, said Apple. This means that any changes made to the code translate to both the iPadOS and MacOS versions of the app. Developers will be able to save time and resources because one team can work on both versions of their app, and Xcode also benefits users, said Apple.

“With both the Mac and iPad versions of their apps, users will also enjoy the unique capabilities of each platform, including the precision and speed when using their Mac’s keyboard, mouse, trackpad and unique Mac features like Touch Bar,” it said.

The company also unveiled SwiftUI, a tool which, it claimed, will enable developers to create apps easier and faster. “The new app development technologies unveiled today make app development faster, easier and more fun for developers, and represent the future of app creation across all Apple platforms,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering.

Federighi also previewed iOS 13, which introduces Apple ID to provide two-factor authentication to enable users to log into websites and online service via Face ID or Touch ID. “iOS 13 brings new capabilities to the apps you use every day, with rich updates to Photos and Maps, and privacy-protecting features like Sign in with Apple, all while delivering faster performance,” he said.

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