Apple Launches iOS 12.3

May 17, 2019

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The latest iOS update has launched, bringing several new features and enhancements to mobile devices. With the update to iOS 12.3, it’s important to look at what’s new, what’s changing and what app developers can utilize for their apps and App Store Optimization.

What’s New

iOS 12.3 provides a number of updates, starting with their TV app. This adds new sections for movies, Kids TV, sports and so on, as well as a new bottom bar. Apple is also including a recommendation engine to suggest new content, as well as subscription-based Channels for networks like CBS All Access, HBO and Showtime.

The TV app will also provide users access to the subscription-based Apple TV+. It will not be a distinct app, so iOS devices will come with app already installed; all they have to do is subscribe.

Apple has also updated AirPlay 2 to support sharing content from iPhones to AirPlay 2-enabled smart TVs. Other Apple-owned apps have received smaller updates, including:

  • News+ lets users follow magazines from the catalog browsing view
  • Apple Music now updates the “For You” tab with theme-based suggestions

The update also fixes various issues, such as dropped WiFi calls or CarPlay missing song information. Overall, there are over 20 patches to help maintain device security.

What App Developers Need to Know

As with any update to versions of iOS, developers should keep a close eye on their keyword rankings as the release rolls out.  During these updates, there are usually disruptions in rankings that can last several weeks before stabilizing.  If the change persists, there may be an algorithm change to account for.  Continued monitoring during this time and iterating as needed is vital for app discovery.

While the iOS 12.3 updates included several tweaks for Apple’s own built-in apps, the overall update to the operating system should help maintain a consistent speed and performance for all apps. With that said, there is always the possibility of bugs appearing, and there are some reports of users encountering issues after updating.

Developers should have their apps ready for iOS 12.3, as the beta has been available since March. Their apps should be tested to ensure optimal performance on the new operating system so users can update and keep using their apps uninterrupted.

More importantly, the updates to Apple’s TV app present new competition to other streaming apps. The Channels section of the TV app can allow users to access their subscriptions to networks that may have their own app, which could impact downloads; users might not feel the need to download the Starz app if they can access their Starz subscription through the built-in TV app, for instance. In these cases, the networks are still receiving money regardless of which app viewers use to watch their shows on, but other streaming apps may have difficulty with the new competition.

The key to competing is App Store Optimization. Not all TV and streaming apps offer the same features, even if they subscribe to the same networks. ASO helps apps stand out by highlighting these distinctions for users and helping the app appear in search results.

For instance, a network available on the TV app may have behind-the-scenes footage or special features that can only be accessed through the network’s app. With ASO, it can index for keywords related to the shows it provides and showcase the special features in its creative set. This will help it attract users even if they can already watch the shows through the TV app.

Networks not included in the TV app can stand out by showcasing the shows theirs has available. Including them in the description and creatives can help the app stand out and appeal to fans while providing value that Apple’s own app can’t.

Monitoring ranking movements during updates and adjusting accordingly will be vital to maintaining discoverability during this time, as with any update. Now that iOS 12.3 is available, developers can start anticipating and preparing for 12.4 or iOS 13. Just like apps and developers should keep up with the latest search trends and popular features for their App Store Optimization, so should they keep up with the latest updates to the operating systems to ensure their apps are up to date and running smoothly.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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