In addition to the release of iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 betas today, Apple debuted the first beta of Xcode 9.3, the latest version of its software development tool for Apple devices. Most noteworthy in version 9.3 is an updated Energy organizer feature designed to help developers reduce mobile battery drain.
During testing, the Energy organizer will let developers know when foreground apps, background apps, and app extensions exceed a certain CPU threshold, causing excessive battery drain. After the app is released, the Energy organizer will let the developer receive app-specific crash reports with energy issues from users who opted in to sharing app analytics.
In addition to the expected bug fixes and Swift compilation speed improvements, Xcode 9.3 also heralds the end of 32-bit app support in macOS, which will soon require apps to be fully 64-bit. To that end, Apple is introducing a 64-bit testing mode, enabling Mac developers to test apps for 64-bit compatibility. Apple said in June 2017 that “macOS High Sierra will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit apps without compromise.” iOS 11 ended 32-bit app support for Apple’s smaller devices last year, promising improved processor performance.
Apple’s obsession with efficient processor and battery use dates back far before the iPhone throttling fiasco. As just one example, the company’s late CEO Steve Jobs publicly called out Adobe’s Flash extension as a battery hog, performance killer, and crash inducer, refusing to allow it on iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches. After Jobs’ death, the company maintained the iOS ban, later disabling Flash by default in its macOS Safari browser to improve laptop performance and battery life.
The Xcode 9.3 beta is available now to registered Apple developers through the Mac App Store.