2023 iOS and Android Updates: What to Expect and Keep an Eye On

Android updates

It’s fair to say that 2022 saw a lot of changes, and most of the world found it somewhat difficult to keep up. But we’re not here to talk politics or economics: we’re talking operating systems. There was the launch of Apple’s iOS16 and Google’s Android 13; a renewed focus on privacy and security; and something for the UA team in terms of new App Store advertising options. We’re here to give you the details on Android and iOS updates so that you can go into 2023 fully optimised for the year ahead.

Android updates to keep an eye on in 2023

Privacy labels

TL;DR: Providing compelling reasons for why your app collects data can be the difference between a user downloading your app or not.

 Since July, apps on the Google Play Store are required to ensure more transparency on data tracking. App developers are now required to disclose:

  • the data their app collects,
  • if and how it’s shared with third parties,
  • the app’s security practices and more. 

The focus is on whether data collection follows best practices, as well as the ‘why’ data is being collected – whether for functionality, personalisation, etc. – to give users the information they need before they download the app.

Privacy on Android 13
Source blog.google

Push notifications 

TL;DR: It’s worth spelling out to users what value your Push notifications will provide if you want to maximise opt-ins.

In another Apple-like move, Android 13 requires apps to ask for Push notification permission rather than granting permission by default. This means that if a user doesn’t opt-in, you can’t send anything. (For apps that have already been downloaded, users will be prompted to decide whether to allow notifications when they next use the app.) 

Developers who target Android 13 have control over when the permission dialogue appears. It could be after a specific user action that demonstrates your app’s value, or after enough time has elapsed for them to appreciate why notifications would enrich their experience. And while the default permission dialogue is simply “allow” or “don’t allow”, you can build a review prompt proactively asking for permission and include a compelling argument as to why.  Following best practices for requesting push notification permission can improve opt-in rates by up to 50%, so it’s worth investing time in your push strategy.

Android updates on app standby bucket rules

TL;DR: Android’s new app standby bucket rules requires a different approach to key metrics.

App standby buckets is a feature that helps manage battery usage by categorizing apps into different “buckets” based on how frequently they are used. Apps in the “active” bucket are allowed to run normally, while apps in the “working set” and “frequent” buckets may have certain restrictions placed on them, such as reduced access to network resources, to help conserve battery life.

Android updates have introduced new rules that would relegate an app to that last restricted bucket. These are:

  • no app interaction in eight days
  • app solicits too many broadcasts in a 24-hour time interval
  • app drains too much device’s battery life within 24 hours via several background app activities

As a result, it’s worth renewing focus on interactions as a key metric to monitor, given that low interaction will mean a downward move through those all-important app buckets. 

iOS updates to look out for in 2023

Better SKAdNetwork conversion tracking

TL;DR: Advertisers will now be able to better understand user engagement over time.

Apple’s SKAdNetwork can now return up to three conversion values for each download, each with a different attribution window (0-2 days, 3-7 days, and 8-35 days). This means multiple in-app purchases can be tracked, as opposed to just the one as previously set. It’s going to make it significantly easier to evaluate in-app behaviour and calculate ROAS, tracking the full impact of UA campaigns. 

New features

The takeaway: There are certain apps that can benefit from showing off Apple’s new features.

We spoke about Apple’s love of highlighting new features by promotion in the app store in our article, How to get featured in the App Store.  The launch of iOS16 has provided that opportunity for apps that can show off Apple’s new features and capabilities, including: 

  • Cross-generational apps – the new Parental Control setting in Family Sharing provides new functionality to apps used by the whole family.
  • Content apps  – Apple’s new SharePlay feature allows users to share media from within FaceTime. 
  • News, sports, delivery apps – “Live Activities” notifications streamline any thread of notifications, such as game updates, into one dynamically updated notification. 
  • Widget-friendly apps – the complete redesign of the lock screen allows for prominent placement of widgets, enriching the user experience even when not using an app.
iOS16 updates
Source: apple.com

Benchmarks

TL;DR: Focus your efforts where there is still room for improvement, rather than spending more time in areas you’re already excelling.

App Store Connect now allows you to compare your app’s performance to industry standards, across acquisition, usage and monetisation metrics. Apple is keen to point out that this is done in a privacy-compliant way, which means you’re plotted against apps that are similar to your own in terms of Category and Monetisation, with your own performance illustrated along a continuum. While not providing enough information to replicate what leading apps are doing right, it should provide additional insight into where resources should be directed, into areas where there is still ground to make up. 

New ad placements

TL;DR: Competitors will start appearing on your product page with new app page ad placements, just in time for the holidays.

Apple is now offering ad spots on the Today page and on individual app product pages, in addition to the existing Search tab and results placements. The former isn’t entirely surprising, but it’s the individual app pages that may set developers’ hearts racing. It won’t be possible to bid directly on specific competitors, but ads will be relevant to the app in question, indicating that you can bid on apps similar to yours or within the same category.

new ASA ads placement

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, the updates to iOS and Android operating systems in 2022 bring a range of changes and new features that will impact app marketers and users in 2023. With 2023’s Google I/O likely to take place in May and Apple’s WWDC at the beginning of June, there are five glorious months of the new year to make sure you’re up-to-date – before the next round of iOS and Android innovations hit.  But get this done now, and you’ll be able to kick back and relax (or at least take a quick breath) in the new year.

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧