Apple recently seeded iOS 16 beta 4 to developers and beta testers. The latest beta update includes the Live Activities API called the “ActivityKit” framework.
Announced at the WWDC 2022 event, the upcoming iOS 16 update will feature a completely new Lock Screen with customization options to change wallpapers, date, time, and more. It also includes the Live Activities feature which allows users to update on sports games, food delivery, rideshare, workout, and others right on their Lock Screen in real-time.
Although available in iOS 16 beta 4, the ‘Live Activities’ feature will not be part of the iOS 16 public updated
For developers to add the Live Activities capability in their apps, Apple has released ActivityKit API in iOS 16 beta 4 for developers. Although the Live Activities updates will appear as they do on widgets, the feature has a different mechanism than widgets. Live Activities API will receive data from the app, not the timeline mechanism used by widgets.
In your app, you use ActivityKit to configure, start, update, and end the Live Activity, and your app’s widget extension uses SwiftUI and WidgetKit to create the user interface of the Live Activity. This makes the presentation code of a Live Activity similar to the widget code and enables code sharing between your widgets and Live Activities.
However, Live Activities use a different mechanism to receive updates compared to widgets. Instead of using a timeline mechanism, Live Activities receive updated data from your app with ActivityKit or by receiving remote push notifications with the User Notifications framework.
However, the company has also informed developers that Live Activities will not be part of the iOS 16 public release coming in this fall and will be available later this year.
Please note that Live Activities and ActivityKit won’t be included in the initial public release of iOS 16. Later this year, they’ll be publicly available in an update and you’ll be able to submit your apps with Live Activities to the App Store.