Bloomberg explains that up to now, Apple engineers would ‘cram’ features into daily builds of iOS versions before they were fully tested. This meant that using test devices on these internal versions became a nightmare, with the system running so many different branches of components at different levels of stability.
The publication explains that this made it nigh-impossible for Apple to understand the actual state of its software.
With iOS 14, the plan is that all work-in-progress features for OS builds are disabled by default and have to be enabled using a special configuration menu. This should let Apple management keep tabs on the progress of their new operating system releases and make the software more flexibly adaptable; features that are not ready to ship can be more easily removed.
The new approach will also apply to iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS development. Apple expects iOS 14 to be a feature-packed release but is apparently ready to delay some features until iOS 15 if it needs to.
Bloomberg says that Apple engineers started to realize iOS 13 was not up to scratch ahead of the June WWDC conference. The report also says that engineers effectively gave up on perfecting iOS 13.0 and instead focused efforts on iOS 13.1.
By August, realizing that the initial iOS 13.0 set to ship with new iPhones a few weeks later wouldn’t hit quality standards, Apple engineers decided to mostly abandon that work and focus on improving iOS 13.1, the first update. Apple privately considered iOS 13.1 the “actual public release” with a quality level matching iOS 12. The company expected only die-hard Apple fans to load iOS 13.0 onto their phones.