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Developers use iOS Live Activities to track the Brazilian elections

With iOS 16.1, Apple introduced the Live Activities API – which lets third-party apps provide useful information on the iPhone lock screen and also on the Dynamic Island for those with iPhone 14 Pro. This weekend, developers proved the real potential of Live Activities with an iPhone app that let people follow the vote count of the Brazilian elections in real time.

There are already many apps with Live Activities available on the App Store, and they all provide cool interactions like showing flight details or Reddit comments in real time. But Felipe Ribeiro and Willian Max, both from the mobile app company Sorcererhat, have decided to take this feature to the next level.

In the midst of the second and final round of the Brazilian presidential elections, which took place last Sunday, they’ve created an app to show the vote count of the elections with real-time updates directly on the iPhone lock screen and Dynamic Island.

How the Brazilian elections became a great showcase for iOS Live Activities

Named “Apuração Dinâmica” (Dynamic Counting) in a reference to the iPhone’s Dynamic Island, the app combined the Live Activities API from iOS 16.1 with the voting data provided by Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court into a tool that made the vote counting stage much more enjoyable and entertaining.

“When Apple announced iOS 16 with Live Activities, we already knew the feature would be perfect for moments like this,” Max told 9to5Mac. “The runoff election coincided with the release of iOS 16.1, which officially brought the feature to everyone, and inspired us to create this small utility app, developed in SwiftUI, to add our own special touch to the experience of following the counting.”

For those unfamiliar, Brazil has an electronic voting system in which data extracted from the ballot boxes are sent directly to a secure “supercomputer” located at the headquarters of the Electoral Court that counts millions of votes in a matter of hours. The Electoral Court provides an official API so that third parties can also access the vote count in real time. Over 124 million votes were registered this time.

Once the vote counting began, Sorcererhat’s app was already showing the first numbers to those who installed it. Users with an iPhone 14 Pro were able to keep an eye on the dispute even with the screen locked, thanks to the Always-on display. At the same time, the Dynamic Island showed a brief look at the percentage of votes for each candidate.

Developers prove the potentials of Live Activities with an iOS app to track the Brazilian elections.

Technical limitations and the final result

According to Max, one of the main challenges was getting around the technical limitations of the frequency of Live Activities updates since the app was collecting data directly from the Electoral Court’s API instead of having its own server for push content. Even so, the data shown in the Live Activity was updated every minute without requiring any actions from the users.

Since iOS 16.1 was only released a few days ago, developers haven’t had much time to run tests with the app. This is why they released it as an experimental tool through TestFlight for anyone interested, rather than on the App Store. Still, the reactions were very positive, and the project was a good way to show users and even developers what they can do with Live Activities.

The reception of the app was incredible, much greater than we anticipated, and we were happy to see it being shared on social networks by voters who were anxious about the election results. We are proud to have been part of this historic moment for Brazil and for the opportunity to demonstrate how Live Activities and Dynamic Island are powerful tools when used in ways that really contribute to the user experience.

More about Sorcererhat

Even though the vote-counting app is not available on the App Store, Sorcererhat is also behind SongCapsule (formerly known as Next DJ), which is a great app that creates smart playlists based on the user’s Apple Music library. You can check out more details about the app on the company’s website.

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