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Facebook Announces Parse SDK for Apple's tvOS and watchOS 2

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 14 Followers on Jan 08, 2016. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Facebook's Parse SDK includes now support for Apple’s tvOS and watchOS 2 will enable building native immersive apps for the Apple TV and the Apple Watch, Facebook’s engineer Nikita Lutsenko writes. Additionally, the new SDK also features integration with Facebook’s recently announced tvOS SDK to make onboarding easier.

Parse SDK for watchOS 2 builds on the work that Facebook already did to support the first version of the Apple Watch. The main improvement brought by the new SDK is its ability to run natively on the Watch, which was not previously possible due to the design choices forced on to the developers by the Apple Watch’s original architecture. One of the biggest advantages of this, as Lutsenko highlights, is the possibility for Watch apps to run without requiring an iPhone.

On the other hand, developing the SDK for tvOS presented a few more challenges, in particular due to the lack of persistent storage on the tvOS. This implies that every file on disk has to be treated as temporary storage and cannot be plainly used to persist users sessions across app launches. Indeed, Apple guarantees that “data should stay there as long as your app is running. But when your app exits, that data could be deleted by the system”. From inspecting the sources, it looks like Parse is using an alternative mechanism that Apple provides to store private data that the user is not meant to access and that will not be backed up.

As mentioned, Parse SDK for tvOS relies on the recently announced Facebook’s tvOS SDK to simplify the onboarding process for users. This feature aims to work around the lack of a physical keyboard or touch screen support on the Apple TV, so inputting text can be cumbersome. Facebook’s tvOS SDK implements a two-factor authentication scheme: when verification is required, tvOS will show a short alphanumeric code that the user will have to enter on a specific web page via their laptop, tablet, or phone.

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