iOS 13 Launches: What App Developers Should Know

After months of buildup, beta tests and preparation, Apple has launched iOS 13. The latest version of its operating system brings new features and functionality to the iPhone, which developers should take into consideration for their apps and App Store Optimization.

New Features

Many of the new iOS 13 features have been advertised and well-known for some time, while others have received less press. These updates include:

In addition to those, iOS 13 will now provide additional information about how apps are using location services. Developers of apps that use location services should be aware of the update and make sure their apps only track user locations when necessary, in addition to complying with Apple’s location tracking guidelines.

Apple’s Maps app is also updated with street imaging, similar to the AR Street View on Google Maps. Developers of navigation apps should take this into consideration and find ways to ensure their apps and its features can differentiate themselves from Maps.

iOS 13’s update to the Health app provides new features such as cycle tracking and period predictions. Developers of apps focused on women’s health and period tracking should keep this update in mind, as the Health app now provides new competition. They should ensure that their App Store Optimization is designed to show what features it provides that the Health app does not, so as to stand out and differentiate the app from Apple’s default option.

App Store Changes

With the release of Apple Arcade, the App Store has undergone some adjustments.

Users can access Apple Arcade games from the App Store by tapping the Arcade tab. Users are offered one free month upon updating. From the Arcade tab, users can scroll through the games available. This displays the app’s icon, title, and promotional video. At the moment, it appears that all Arcade games include videos, although they still include screenshots on the app page.

When users search on the App Store, they can look for specific games in the Arcade category. Arcade games also appear with other apps in the App Store search results.

The “Updates” tab has been moved under Account settings, in order to make room for the Arcade tab. Users can find their updates by tapping on their user icon on the top right corner, then scrolling down to see current and upcoming updates.

Impact on ASO

Whenever a new OS rolls out, there’s typically some volatility with App Store keyword rankings. This may be more so than usual with the addition of Apple Arcade, although its full impact has yet to be seen.

In the meantime, developers should focus on what they can do to improve their optimization. Apps should be prepared and updated for iOS 13 at this point, including Dark Mode and compliance with new privacy policy updates.

If an app is adding new features in iOS 13, it can call them out in its description and screenshots, as well as its promotional text. If an app is facing new competition from iOS 13 updates, such as period trackers or navigation apps, the app’s ASO should focus on what it has that makes it stand out as an alternative to Apple’s built-in apps.

After the initial disruption in keyword rankings, developers should check and see how their rankings change over the coming weeks. They may need to adjust their keyword targeting due to changing trends or competition. Research and testing will be of vital importance during this time.

WatchOS 6, iPadOS & More

Along with iOS 13, Apple also launched WatchOS 6 today. This adds new watch faces, built-in apps from the Apple Watch’s App Store and new health apps. It also updates new Siri features and activity trends, with radio streaming set to be added soon.

Meanwhile, iOS 13.1 is already undergoing beta testing. The update is scheduled for September 24th and will include features that were not ready in time for the iOS 13 release. This includes automated Siri Shortcut actions and data separation for enterprise devices. There will also be general bug fixes, including a patch for a reported lockscreen bypass exploit.

At the same time as iOS 13.1 is released, Apple will be rolling out iPadOS. This will split iPhone and iPod touch devices from the iPad with a distinct operating system, although they will share a common base.

The release of iOS 13 provides new changes that app developers should be aware of, but those changes also present new opportunities for app development and App Store Optimization.

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

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