What to expect from iOS 13 and its impact on ASO
For a few years now, September has been an important time of year for app developers as it marks the rollout of a new iOS version. This year’s version, iOS 13, is expected to be rolled out around September 10th, and will include new features for all iPhone users, such as a dark mode for the general interface, updates for several native apps (iMessage, Photos), and changes in privacy management. As some of these new features are also likely to have an impact for ASO, we thought it would be worth to share an overview of what we think will change for ASO with iOS 13.
Arabic and Hebrew to be added to the list of available languages for App Store product pages
This is probably the most anticipated change for ASO in the next iOS version. While it was already possible to make apps available to Arabic and Hebrew speaking markets, up until now apps could only be promoted on the store via their default global listing (set in English more often than not).
The addition of the Arabic and Hebrew languages will help apps looking to expand their reach in those countries do so, and we can expect some movements in search and browse traffic in the App Store in markets of the MENA region and more. Note that if you are interested in tracking keywords in these languages, you can already upload your keywords lists for the locales you wish to track in your AppTweak dashboard.
If you are already offering your app in Arabic or Hebrew speaking countries, don’t forget to also watch out for possible changes in your conversion from search to product page and to app install, as an increase in traffic from native speakers is likely to help or hurt your downloads depending on whether your product page is localized or not. On that note, it’s worth remembering that developers and marketers can already submit an App Store title, subtitle, description and list of keywords in Arabic and Hebrew via the App Store Connect interface, although these do not show for users who are not part of the iOS 13 beta today.
A New Search Tab display recently discovered in beta
As iOS 13 is about to roll out, a few beta users have reported seeing a new Search Tab in the store. In the new version of the tab, suggested search items would be replaced by possible search queries under a mention called “discover”, and a new section would be displayed for “suggested” apps that could be based on a recommendation algorithm. Another alternative version that has been shared does not show “suggested” apps but suggests search items either in apps or in games.
This could be an important change for iOS 13, although it’s very late appearance in the beta might mean it only be rolled out in later versions of iOS 13 or even not at all, should Apple deem the test to be inconclusive. Nevertheless we recommend all ASO practitioners to keep an eye out for what might come in the Search Tab.
The new Search tab display in IOS 13 beta
App download limit to reach 200MB
Apps between 150MB and 200MB will no longer require a WiFi connexion for download. This could help improve conversion for some games and apps that still take a certain amount of free space on iPhones. Nevertheless, keeping your app package light remains a best practice for both OSes, as some users tend to list app size as one of their criteria for download.
As Apple gets ready to roll out its own dark mode for its general interface, we can anticipate two possible consequences for ASO:
Apple already hinted that compatible apps also offering a dark mode to users might get a chance for featuring in the Store.
A closer look at what the AppStore will look like with dark mode enabled
More importantly, ASO practitioners should get ready for the possibility that their product page might now appear in a dark background, changing the user experience around how icons, app previews and creatives are perceived. While it’s hard to predict what share of users will make the switch from light to dark mode, it’s quite possible that apps using very bright or very dark creatives might see their conversion from search and pageview to install drop, if users start burning their eyes or struggle to make out what the creatives really show.
While not a main concern for ASO, it’s also worth noting that Apple announced users who delete an app that is linked to a subscription will now be shown a prompt asking if they want to unsubscribe as well.
App Store algorithm update?
Last but not least, a new iOS is also likely to come out with some tweaks to the store algorithm. Since Apple does not usually communicate about store algorithm updates, we cannot be certain of upcoming changes, nevertheless ASO practitioners should start keep an eye out for some keyword dances.
In 2018, we saw evidence of an algorithm change in the US one week before the rollout of iOS 13
Last year the release of iOS 12 had been preceded by a bit of keyword dance across several major iOS locales including the US, China, France or Germany in the weeks ahead of September 17, and this could very well be the case again this year.
If you want to keep an eye out for possible algorithm update, you might want to check out AppTweak’s Algorithm Change Detector.
Now that you know what to expect from iOS13, make sure to get your app ready on time!