Apple Releases iOS 14, watchOS 7 and More

September 19, 2020

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Apple has officially launched the latest versions of its operating systems. Along with iOS 14, we’re also getting iPadOS 14, watchOS 7 and tvOS 14, bringing new updates to each of Apple’s operating systems. What new features do they bring, and how might they impact your App Store Optimization?

iOS 14

iOS 14, as announced at WWDC 2020, brings several new features to iPhone devices, many of which can impact apps and their usage. These include:

  • Home screen widget
  • Picture in picture support
  • App Library
  • Setting third party email and browser apps as the default
  • App Clips

Widgets

Home screen widgets are one of the highlights of iOS 14. The new feature allows users to set up customized widgets to access app functionality directly from the home screen. Not all apps are available as widgets, but developers that design widgets for their apps may find that they can increase usage and ease of accessibility.

Picture in Picture

Picture in picture support has been a part of iPadOS for a few years, but iOS 14 marks its debut on iPhone devices. Adding picture in picture functionality requires developer support, but with it, users can watch videos or scroll through apps in a box on the screen while accessing the rest of the device without interruption.

App Library

The App Library is not an app itself, but rather a new way of sorting apps and app downloads. The App Library sorts apps into automatically generated categories, so users can access their games, video apps, shopping apps and so forth from easily accessible folders. Users can also hide app pages and manage their app libraries, enabling more customizable accessibility.

Default Apps

When users get an iOS device, it’s set with Safari as the default browser app and Mail as the default for email. iOS 14 gives users the option to change their default web and email apps, so links will not automatically open in Safari.

Developers will need to adopt support for the option before their apps can become the default. Currently, default browser apps are limited to Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and DuckDuck Go.

App developers with web browser or email apps can enable their apps to be set as defaults as long as they follow Apple’s guidelines. These are basic requirements, but if the app meets them, the developers can potentially increase ease of use and usage metrics for them.

App Clips

iOS 14 introduces App Clips, new ways of helping users engage with select app features at a time that they need them. This can help users access apps in a quick and timely manner and present developers with new opportunities to reach users.

App Clips are entirely new, so we’ll be seeing their benefits as developers use them. Developers with apps that could benefit from clips, such as restaurant or e-scooter apps, should consider how they can utilize App Clips to improve their usage metrics.

iPadOS

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 share many of the same features and updates. At the same time, there are some updates unique to iPad. These include:

  • Scribble for the Apple Pencil, which converts handwriting into text and enables scratch-to-delete
  • Smart Selection that can identify handwriting in drawings to turn into text, as well as shape recognition
  • Updates and a new sidebar UI for many of Apple’s apps

tvOS 14

tvOS has also updated into tvOS 14. This brings new capabilities, including:

  • Multiuser support for games
  • An increased range of controller and device input options
  • Improved in-app search
  • Picture in Picture

This opens up new tools for developers with mobile games and streaming apps available on Apple TV. While they may not improve visibility in the App Store, the multiuser support and increased device options can provide a more positive user experience.

watchOS 7

Following the announcement of new Apple Watch devices, Apple has launched the new watchOS. watchOS 7 adds new APIs and tools, including:

  • Multiple complications APIs
  • SwiftUI complications
  • Xcode Previews
  • Face Sharing

Developers with apps available on the Apple Watch should look into the new APIs and see how they can benefit their apps and update their listings accordingly.

What Developers Should Do

With all the new operating systems coming out, developers need to ensure their apps are up to date. Starting April 2021, all apps submitted to the store must be built with Xcode 12 and the proper SDK, so developers have time to ensure their apps are compliant.

If an app does not work properly on the new OS, it could have a detrimental effect on its metrics and optimization. If users update to iOS 14 and discover a game they enjoy no longer works, they are likely to uninstall it and leave a poor review. This can have a negative impact on the app, so developers should ensure their apps work and run effectively once users update.

Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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