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The growing demand for mobile devices has lead into a rapid increase in the count of application developers who’re busy building applications for a variety of hand-held gadgets. Well, there is a good majority of mobile apps which need to interact with external devices. Square is a popular software program which allows users to use an iPhone or iPad along with a specially made scanner which can further be used for undertaking all sorts of credit card transactions. If you too are a mobile developer then indulging in iOS app development for external devices is something which will allow you to gain instant recognition among the leading application developers all over the world.

Getting familiar with the key parameters which need to be considered for ensuring successful iOS app development for external devices

iOS app development

In order to come up with an iOS application that connects with a piece of hardware, you need to consider a few important parameters which have been explained as below:

  • Limitations of the targeted hardware

As the very first point of concern, you need to get a detailed insight into the different limitations associated with the hardware you’re building the application for. Check out whether these limitations would affect the performance of your app in any way or not.

  • Consider how your app is going to connect with the targeted hardware

As the second most important concern, you need to look into the manner in which your application is going to connect with the chosen hardware. Do ensure to chalk out a detailed plan on connecting the app with hardware in a simple and convenient way.

Understanding the use of External Accessory Framework

use of External Accessory Framework

When it comes to developing an iOS app for a specific set of accessories, you need to adhere to an entire series of protocols which will make your accessory/device work with the iPhone. You’ll be required to write a common chunk of code so as to inform the iOS product that it needs to communicate with a different device. External Accessory Framework offers you incredible support for communicating with the external hardware that has been connected to a different iOS powered device. This communication is being handled via a 30-pin dock connector or in a wireless format using Bluetooth.

It is vital for you to ensure that the iOS applications supporting external accessories are capable of configuring their Info. Plist file in an accurate way. To be more precise, you must include the UI Supported External Accessory Protocols key in order to declare the appropriate hardware protocol that are being supported by the respective iOS application. Here is a look at some of the Classes and Protocols which are being used in the External Accessory Framework:


  1. EA Session

This class is used for creating a communications channel between the application and the connected hardware accessory.

  1. NS Object

This is the root class of a majority of Objective-C class hierarchies.

  1. EA Accessory

This is a class which provides your application with information about a single connected hardware accessory.

  1. EA Accessory Manager

This is the class which coordinates the attached accessories for an iOS-based device.

  1. EA WiFi Unconfigured Accessory- This is a class which provides the app information about an un-configured Mfi(Made for iPhone) Wireless Accessory Configuration accessory.
  2. EA WiFi Unconfigured Accessory Browser- This class gives your app an easy access to the Mfi Wireless Accessory Configuration process.


  1. EA Accessory Delegate

This protocol defines a single method that is used for receiving notifications under a situation where the associated EA Accessory object has been disconnected.

  1. EA QiFi Unconfigured Accessory Browser Delegate

This is a protocol which defines several necessary callbacks which inform the delegate of EA WiFi Unconfigured Accessory Browser object about the current state of the search process for unconfigured accessories and the related configuration processes.

Making the most of MFi program and iOS Developer Library

MFi program and iOS Developer Library

Both, Mfi program and iOS Developer Library are available and open for developers who’re on a look out for assistance on designing iOS accessories. After signing up with any of these programs, you can avail free technical support for effective engineering of almost any electronic component.

Wrapping Up

Creating a remarkable app for a specific set of hardware devices is perhaps something which expects you to spend a good deal of time and effort. I’m sure the details covered above would aid you in delivering the right kind of hardware-oriented iOS application.

Author Bio: Juana Steves is an efficient mobile app developer  with Xicom – a reputed growing iPhone application development company. You can also share your technical skills with her through Facebook or by getting in touch with her.

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