WWDC 2018 Viewing Guide

It might have been a year with a focus on stability and performance but there are still lots of new videos to catch up on. Here are the sessions I found most interesting this year.

Platforms State of The Union?

The Platforms State of the Union is usually a good start for an overview of what’s changed this year across macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. If you are only interested in iOS jump straight to what is effectively the iOS state of the union session:

  • Session 202 What’s New in Cocoa Touch Josh Shaffer (no Eliza Block this year) covers what’s new in Cocoa Touch. The choice of topics is interesting: scrolling and memory performance, Auto Layout speed up, the “swiftification” of API’s goes on, NSSecureCoding, notifications, automatic strong passwords, Safe Area (a hint of more devices with a notch maybe?) and Siri Shortcuts.

App Frameworks

Over 30 sessions but these are my recommendations:

  • Session 204 Automatic Strong Passwords and Security Code AutoFill Covers one of the headline features of iOS 12 - the automatic creation of account and strong password credentials and the autofilling of security codes. Tag username and password fields with the correct content types to enable.

  • Session 220 High Performance Auto Layout The good news is that Apple promises a significant speed boost (no code changes required) to Auto Layout in iOS 12. There is also a new instrument to diagnose layout performance issues coming soon. This session covers some of the same ground as the 2015 sessions on Auto Layout with a deep dive into how the layout engine works and the common mistakes such as creating and tearing down constraints in updateConstraints.

  • Session 224 Core data Best Practises Nothing new here but a good recap on modern Core Data.

  • Session 225 A Tour of UICollectionView A good tutorial on building custom layouts when the flow layout does not meet your needs. See the call to action on animating your collection updates rather than just calling reload data (also applies to table views).

  • Session 235 UIKit Apps for Every Size and Shape Safe area and layout margins, the confusing scroll view adjusted content inset setting and readable Content Guides (iOS 12 changes the default to false for table views).

Some optional App Framework sessions that I liked for when you have more time:

Siri Shortcuts

Maybe the big new feature of the year but also maybe less than many hoped for.

To dig deeper:


The Swift 4.2 changes are not news but it is always good to have an Apple engineer explain what it means:

Developer Tools

Xcode 10 is here:


System Frameworks

Two sessions on low level networking and the new Network framework which you should use instead of BSD sockets. Also repeated advice to stop using reachability (SCNetworkReachability) and adopt the waitsForConnectivity NSURLSession API introduced in iOS 11.

Machine Learning And Augmented Reality

CoreML and ARKit were big news last year and get some incremental improvements this year:

The changes to CoreML in two sessions:

A new framework:

Object tracking and building image classifiers:

App Store

Apple Watch


I did not find the design sessions this year as engaging as last year. (That is no fault of the presenters I am sure). The two I liked the best:

Graphics and Games

Not my area of interest so I can’t make recommendations on the many sessions for Metal developers though I guess Session 604 Metal for OpenGL Developers is of interest to some now that Apple has deprecated OpenGL.

Want More Videos?

If you still need to catch up on what Apple introduced in iOS 11 and iOS 10 take a look at my WWDC recommendations from the last two years: