Third-party iPhone apps: one at a time, never in background | iLounge News


Third-party iPhone apps: one at a time, never in background

According to the official iPhone Human Interface Guidelines recently published by Apple, only one iPhone application may run at a time, and third-party iPhone applications will not be able to run in the background, posing a potential challenge to developers. “Only one iPhone application can run at a time, and third-party applications never run in the background,” the document states. “This means that when users switch to another application, answer the phone, or check their email, the application they were using quits. It’s important to make sure that users do not experience any negative effects because of this reality. In other words, users should not feel that leaving your iPhone application and returning to it later is any more difficult than switching among applications on a computer.” These guidelines may limit the usefulness of apps which benefit from a persistent network connection; it is unclear whether Apple will allow select partners, such as AOL and their AIM client, to bypass these rules. [via Daring Fireball]

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Are you freaking kidding me? This is the kind of stuff that encourages the iPhone hacker scene to continue jailbreaking phones. At this point, I’m really considering jailbreaking my phone, and saying goodbye to Apple’s strict guidelines.

Posted by Dan on March 8, 2008 at 3:45 PM (CST)


Some times it seems like Jobs just wants to bite back for being forced into releasing an sdk by his customers.  “Fine, you can have your SDK, but I’m not happy about it, so this is all I’m going to let you do!”

Posted by Nick on March 8, 2008 at 8:17 PM (CST)


Thats dumb. So I am playing a game, doing really well, getting a high score- then my phone rings. I take the call and lose my game? Dumb.

Posted by FRMRApple on March 9, 2008 at 3:17 AM (CDT)


FRMRApple - your game’s state should be persisted, if it was well written, and you will be able to pick up where you left off. The problem is for applications that need to sense and alert you to a change (like an incoming instant message or a location change, etc.)

Posted by xan on March 9, 2008 at 3:44 AM (CDT)


two remarks :

1. To me this looks like something I read and heard about web apps. Is this a copy/paste side effect or maybe the author confused native apps rules with web apps rules ?

2. In fact, native apps don’t exit when one returns to the springboard. Holding the home buttons for several seconds is the way to force one app to quit. On the other hand one can imagine why apple wouldnt want apps to consume processor time in the background.

Posted by marc on March 9, 2008 at 9:03 AM (CDT)


It’ll all be fine and work out. I bet by June, you’ll be able to answer the phone and come back to the same spot in the app you just left. Like answering the phone while listening to a podcast is now.

I like that Apple will keep things in order. They’ve announced some great things too that nobody expected, like AIM and welcoming VoIP apps. Pretty impressive.

By the way, I’m not a fanboi, the iPhone is the only Apple product I own.

Posted by Pffffffft on March 9, 2008 at 4:04 PM (CDT)


Applications will not be able to run in background, but this doesn’t mean that a smart iPhone developer can’t figure out how to persist the state the app was running in the last time it was active. Developers will be able to write data to flash memory, so all is not as bleak as it may seem to the FUD believers out there. The iPhone is not a PC. There simply isn’t enough desktop real estate and computing power to present a mobile desktop that is as technically mature as a PC desktop. If a web app like IM requires background processing, then maybe the logical thing to do is have AOL host a message queue. Pining for a full featured OS on a device that easily fits into your pocket is a little premature at this moment. I’m sure things will improve exponentially as time passes.

Posted by macp on March 9, 2008 at 11:28 PM (CDT)


I wonder how they will enforce this.  The video’s and the little documentation I have read state that POSIX functions will be available.  If this is true, then there should be fork() and signal() which would allow a developer to fork a process and than determine how to handle the received signals.  So the interface itself may be interrupted, but a background (read forked) process could persist.  This could be useful for IM developers since they could create a process that actually talks to the IM server and itself would act like a server to the user interface.  Of course this is all guess work since I have not had a chance to look at the SDK yet.

Posted by David Syzdek on March 10, 2008 at 4:31 PM (CDT)


Apple are not giving the users enough respect when it comes to using their iPhone!

With Windows Mobile I’ve been able to do whatever the hell I like with my XDA Mini; add any software, edit the registry, anything! If the phone crashes, runs out of battery quicker than normal or slows down due to the software I’ve installed on it, I put it down to the quality of the software I’m running or a limitation with the hardware I’m running it on. For instance playing music over a2dp while messaging slows down my phone loads. BUT AT LEAST I HAVE THE CHOICE!!! And all this from a 3 year old device!

Now don’t get me wrong, as a longtime user of WM I know all of the issues with the interface etc, and I would grab an iPhone immediately if various things got sorted (to be able to choose my own carrier, a2dp support, built in GPS, video recording, better camera, not having to use iTunes, SIM unlock, 3g/HSDPA…....), but at least my current phone is my own to do with as I please, and comes in various hardware formats to suit differing needs.

Apple need to allow the user to run software persistently, even if it does run the battery down faster, or if t takes up a lot of RAM. They should be able to make the choice as to whether they can live with the impact on performance or not.

Ultimately, until they stop trying to protect their precious little baby from being an open platform where developers and users are treated as adults they will start to lose fans fast!

Posted by Marky on March 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM (CDT)


Whenever the iPhone users switch to another application like answering the phone, or checking their email, the application they were previously using——————
a. quits
b. keeps running
c. resumes as soon as the other application is terminated
d. may or may not resume depending on the application
e. anything else

Posted by Abhinav on May 15, 2013 at 5:34 AM (CDT)

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