Watch out for glitchy apps if you update to iOS 14

Developers say their apps may experience glitches because they only had a day's notice about the final release of iOS 14. Here's what to look out for on your iPhone.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
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Developers say they didn't know that the final version of iOS 14 would be released so quickly after Tuesday's Apple event. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Apple fans have been looking forward to the release of iOS 14, the latest version of the iPhone operating system and its new features like home screen widgets, automated shortcuts and camera tricks. But several iOS app developers took to Twitter Tuesday to say they were caught off guard during Apple's iPad and Apple Watch event, when CEO Tim Cook announced that iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 would be released on Wednesday -- giving them just one day's notice to update their apps, instead of a full week, as has been the case in the past. 

The lack of preparation time could have some negative consequences for Apple device users. Imagine if you found out your banking app suddenly didn't work once you updated to iOS 14 and you couldn't pay your rent or bills as expected. 

Watch this: Wait to download iOS 14

"Having this preparation period, even as short as a week, is what helps minimize any such issue with every yearly update to iOS,"  said developer Steve Troughton-Smith. "Nobody's at their best when rushing to meet an unexpected deadline, and that in itself can introduce all kinds of silly mistakes and bugs."

Apple usually provides the final tools to build and test the apps a week ahead of time, and the final version of the OS itself (known as the "Golden Master"). Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

That week period is usually when developers uncover any bugs that made it into the final version of the OS, finish their apps and make any necessary fixes. It also gives them time to make sure their apps work on any new hardware that Apple announces -- in this case a new iPad Air and eighth-generation iPad -- and update the newly compatible version to the App Store, Troughton-Smith said.

That early access is also the first time that many developers trust that it's safe to install the new iOS on all of their devices, to make sure that their apps work properly on compatible models of iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. So, what do you do?

How to avoid app glitches in iOS 14

The only real solution for avoiding any app glitches is to delay your update to iOS 14 by a week or two, Troughton-Smith said. Keep an eye on user reviews for any apps you depend on daily. In the App Store, check the "What's New" page for the apps you use most often, and see if they've updated recently, or if they mention supporting iOS 14. 

If you've already updated, and you find that you're having issues with any apps, you can try reaching out to the developers to make sure they know about the problem, and see if they have a timeline to update the app for iOS 14.

See also: iOS 14, iPadOS 14 are here: How to install on your iPhone and iPad now

You can also contact or otherwise follow developers to see if they believe it's safe to download them (many have also posted their progress on Twitter). 

That being said, chances are most of your apps will be totally fine, and it's likely safe for you to update to iOS 14. The developer beta of the OS has been out since June, so app makers have likely already worked through most of the major problems in their apps, said Simon Forrest, a principal technology analyst at Futuresource Consulting. Plus, Apple hasn't changed its interface enough that apps would stop functioning overnight.

"In a couple weeks, this will all shake itself out," Troughton-Smith said.