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Apple Routing app coverage file for iOS explained

Ever since iOS6 rolled out, every developer noticed the “routing app coverage file”. Many were wondering “what is a routing app coverage file” and mainly if it was needed for their app. I looked into this some time ago and since I still have people asking me details I figured it would be good share what I know.

If you’re here for the short answer, the routing app coverage file is necessary only for apps that provide maps&directions for a specific area including public transit. This is how the native maps app on iOS knows if your app is eligible for the user’s request (ie registering as a routing app). If you want some more detail or wish to know how to implement a routing app coverage file, read on.

The direct definition (from the iTunes Connect Developer’s Guide) is “routing app coverage files are .geojson files which specify the geographic regions supported by your app. The file can have only one MultiPolygon element. MultiPolygon elements consist of at least one Polygon. Polygons contain at least four coordinate points. Polygon start and end coordinate points must be the same”.

On the technical side, uploading a routing app coverage file to iTunes Connect is not enough, you also need to implement a valid entry for MKDirectionsApplicationSupportedModes in your plist file.

A little extra info regarding routing app coverage files:

  • Testing and debugging of coverage files for routing apps is only supported during development through the Xcode Run workflow. You can specify the coverage file for a given Run scheme using the Options pane of the Run section of the scheme editor.
  • Apps that are archived and distributed (outside of the App Store) onto devices will not have access to the app’s coverage files.

This is one of the main changes/additions in iOS6. For a full list you can check this out.

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  1. […] Or, as said in Spanish, “Archivo de cobertura de la app de encaminamiento”. If you are submitting your App to iTunes Store, and you find an error message saying it needs the “Routing App Coverage File”, have a look at the nice explanation on Giacomo Balli’s blog. […]