To understand what a texture atlas is, check the figure following this section. As you can see, an atlas is an image that contains many subimages. Our game is able to access certain images in a texture atlas due to a special configuration file that keeps the coordinates of each image in a texture atlas.
Before Xcode 5 and Sprite Kit, you had to use third-party tools in order to create texture atlases, but now, all you need to do is create a folder named
name.atlas, where the name can be anything; add images to it and add that into your project in Xcode. Xcode will handle everything for you transparently, and you won't have to worry about plists, coordinates, efficiency, and everything else.
Benefits that texture atlases ...