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Daniel Sogl
Daniel Sogl

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Diving Into Capacitor 6: What’s New, What’s Improved, and How to Upgrade

Capacitor, developed by Ionic, has been a cornerstone for developers building performant, web-native applications across platforms. The release of Capacitor 6 marks a significant step forward, bringing a suite of updates, bolstered performance, and minimal breaking changes, ensuring a streamlined upgrade path for developers. Coupled with the recent unveiling of Ionic 8, it's an opportune moment to embrace the advancements offered by Capacitor 6 and refine your development toolkit.

What is Capacitor

Before diving into the new updates, let's revisit what makes Capacitor a go-to choice for building cross-platform native applications. Capacitor offers a modern native container, allowing web developers to craft applications that run natively on iOS and Android, without departing from web standards and tooling. It bridges the gap between web capabilities and native SDKs, providing a seamless pathway to incorporate native functionality through a simplified Plugin API.

Transitioning to Capacitor 6

Capacitor 6 is designed with minimal breaking changes, primarily focusing on keeping pace with the latest updates in Android and iOS SDKs. This approach ensures a seamless transition for us developers.

NodeJS 18+ Requirement

Capacitor 6 raises the bar by requiring NodeJS 18 or greater, aligning with the latest LTS versions and ensuring that your development environment is up-to-date with current standards.

Simplified Migration Process

Capacitor has always emphasized ease of use, and upgrading to version 6 is no exception. Whether you're using the CLI with a simple npx cap migrate command or leveraging the VS Code extension, transitioning your project is designed to be straightforward. Detailed guides for manual migration are also provided for those who prefer a hands-on approach.

// install the latest cli verison
npm i -D @capacitor/cli@latest

// run migrations
npx cap migrate
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It should also be mentioned that the official VSCode Ionic Plugin is also capable of migrating your existing application. Capacitor v6 now also supports bun as a package manager.

Xcode 15 and Android Studio Hedgehog Support

For iOS developers, Xcode 15 is now a prerequisite, ensuring compatibility with the latest iOS features and optimizations. Android developers are not left behind, with the requirement for Android Studio Hedgehog | 2023.1.1, which brings Gradle 8.2 support and a suite of tooling upgrades to streamline the development process.

Highlighted Features and Changes

Most of the updates are designed to improve the quality of life for developers. The most significant change might be the required https schema, which could necessitate adjustments in your backend, such as your CORS configurations.

Streamlined Android and iOS Project Configurations

Capacitor 6 introduces updated minimum SDK versions and dependencies for Android, including a significant shift from Cocoapods to Swift Package Manager (SPM) for iOS, promising more reliable dependency management and a smoother workflow.

Enhanced Plugin Functionality

A notable change in plugin architecture ensures that addListener now uniformly returns a promise across all platforms, simplifying event handling in your applications. Additionally, the Camera plugin has been optimized to reduce the necessity for explicit permissions when not using the saveToGallery option, streamlining user permissions flow.

Kotlin and Gradle Upgrades

For Android projects utilizing Kotlin, a bump to kotlin_version 1.9.10 aligns with the latest advancements in the language. Gradle updates enhance build performance and compatibility, ensuring your development process is as efficient as possible.

Focus on Security and User Experience

By defaulting to https for Android and making various plugin updates, Capacitor 6 places a strong emphasis on security and improving the overall user experience, addressing two critical areas of app development. The adoption of the https schema not only enhances security but also better enables Capacitor applications to make use of the system Autofill feature, contributing to an improved user experience.

Further Insights

For a deep dive into Capacitor 6, including detailed instructions for upgrading, I recommend exploring the following official resources:


Capacitor 6 is more than just an update; it's a commitment to the future of cross-platform development, marrying the simplicity of web technologies with the robustness of native platforms. Whether you're an existing Capacitor developer or considering your options for your next project, now is the perfect time to explore what Capacitor 6 has to offer.

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