Alongside the fourth betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 that were released to developers today, Apple has provided an ActivityKit beta, which will let app developers start creating apps that are able to take advantage of the Live Activities feature introduced in iOS 16.
Announced at WWDC, Live Activities are interactive notifications that stay up to date, allowing you to keep an eye on things happening in real time right from the Lock Screen. If you're following a sports game, for example, you can see the updated score on the Lock Screen, or if you're waiting for a Uber ride, you can watch for your driver to approach.
With the ActivityKit framework, you can start a Live Activity to share live updates from your app on the Lock Screen. For example, a sports app might allow the user to start a Live Activity for a live sports game. The Live Activity appears on the Lock Screen for the duration of the game and offers the latest updates about the game at a glance.
Developers can use ActivityKit to configure, start, update, and end a Live Activity. Apple says an app's widget extension creates the user interface of the Live Activity, but Live Activities are not widgets and ultimately use a different mechanism to receive updates.
On Apple's iOS 16 Preview page, Live Activities is listed as a feature that are not going to be available when iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 launch, but Apple is allowing developers to get a head start on adding the experiences into their apps. Apple says that Live Activities will come in an update to iOS 16 set to debut later in the year.
Developers will not be able to submit apps that support Live Activities until the feature launches in the future.