iOS app developers need to support IPv6, and fast

5 May 2016

From 1 June, iOS app developers need to have their creations running on IPv6-only networks or else face them fading into obscurity on the App Store.

iOS app developers who attended Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last year were warned of the impending changeover to only allowing apps that support IPv6-only networking in the future.

As has been foretold by many of the internet’s leading authorities, including Vint Cerf, the need to transition from IPv4 – which allows for 4.3bn IP addresses at any time – is paramount given that we are creating more devices that need individual IP addresses than the available amount on this platform thanks to the internet of things (IoT).

A minority of apps

IPv6, on the other hand,  is capable of creating 340 undecillion possibilities, or, to be exact, 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, which should be more than capable of handling the expected 50bn connected devices by 2020.

Now, on its blog, the company has announced that this deadline is less than a month away, with developers needing to make sure they’re ready for 1 June or else face their apps no longer having a future on the App Store.

It appears, however, that most developers have been prepared for the switch, with Apple having said that most apps will not require any changes because the APIs used by developers, including NSURLSession and CFNetwork, are already IPv6-supported.

However, a small percentage of apps out there in the wilds of the App Store are still running code that does not work on IPv6-only networks but, to help them make the transition, Apple has laid out an explanation on how they can make the switch.

App Store image via ymgerman/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic