Introducing iOS 15 – What New Privacy Features and Tech Updates Mean for App Developers

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Introducing iOS 15 – What New Privacy Features and Tech Updates Mean for App Developers



Less than a year after their release of iOS 14, Apple made headlines with the announcement of their iOS 15 release, which will become available this fall. During their June Summit, they gave a comprehensive overview of exactly what the new system will look like for Apple users. The largest updates are related to privacy policy, but developers will be excited to know that Apple is also introducing new features to make marketing and development more exciting and efficient. SEM Nexus has gathered the most relevant information for app developers in order to help them prepare for the major changes that may lie ahead.

iOS 15 Will Contain My IP Address Feature in Mail 

Currently, developers can use marketing emails to gain valuable information about app users through different channels, including what time most users open emails and if that behavior varies by location, thanks to the opener’s ip address

Now with iOS 15, Apple is introducing a function called Mail Privacy Protection. This feature hides the IP addresses of users so that valuable IP tracking is no longer an option for email senders. It also hides user locations, making it more difficult to optimize different features based on differences related to user location. Additionally, it prevents senders from seeing if and when users open emails, meaning that it will be less clear what content appeals to different users.

Safari Privacy Report

The Safari Privacy Report allows users to see what tracking attempts Safari has blocked. Upon opening the report, users will see how many known trackers were blocked, the percentage of websites that contacted trackers, the name of the most contacted tracker, and more, all within a selected span of time. Apple felt so strongly about this that they decided to create a similar report for apps in iOS 15.

iOS Update – App Privacy Report

Similarly to the Safari Privacy Report, the App Privacy Report allows users to see how different apps use their information. Users will be able to see how often apps use the permissions they’ve been granted to access their

  • Location
  • Photos
  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Contacts
  • and more

Users are also able to see all the 3rd party domains that an app is contacting in order to find out who their data may be shared with. All of this information is available to users when they open the report going back seven days. While this may seem like a setback for app developers, the feature might actually inspire more confidence from users. If users can see the ways their information is being used to further perfect an app for them rather than take advantage of them, then they may be more likely to trust in your app.

Increased Privacy Measures with Apple iCloud+

Apple is introducing a new premium version of iCloud with the iOS 15 update called iCloud+. With the update, paying iCloud users will be able to take advantage of this service in two aspects: Private Relay and Hide My Email. Private Relay encrypts your device and sends your information through two separate channels so that no one can track who you are or what sites you’re browsing. Not even Apple has access to your information, according to their WWDC Summit presentation. Any user with a paid iCloud account will be able to take advantage of this feature at no additional cost.

With the new Hide My Email feature, users will be able share a unique, random address that forwards mail to their email address without giving their private information away. Users will be able to create and delete as many addresses as they wish. Due to this, developers can expect to need to enhance their email marketing skills in order to retain users’ attention and keep them from deleting their subscriber email. Additionally, apps will need to account for users manually entering their emails rather than relying solely on Apple ID sign-in for signups and logins.

The overwhelming theme when it comes to privacy in the iOS 15 release is that it will consistently update and remind users what apps they’ve allowed to track them. Therefore, a user may consent to sharing their information one day and then change their mind and rescind that permission at a later point in time. This means that apps that rely on tracking will be even less effective moving forward than they currently are.

iOS 15 Presents SharePlay

While there are many privacy features Apple is introducing that will require app developers to rethink strategies, there are also new features that will help developers to level up their apps. One of those features is SharePlay. SharePlay is a feature that allows iOS users to share their screens across FaceTime calls. It can be used to do anything from watching streaming services as a group, to listening to the same playlist in different households. And this fall, Apple will expand SharePlay, allowing any app to obtain an API to be able to be used in screenshare with FaceTime. This means that app developers that have apps built around networks and socializing will be able to capitalize on the ability for users to share and demonstrate their app with friends regardless of their locations.

Apple App Store Product Page

According to Apple, the App Product Page feature is one that will allow developers to create multiple, custom product pages to showcase different features of their app for different users. Developers can test different screenshots, videos, and app icons to see which ones users respond to best. This means that Apple is essentially making split testing available on the product page itself, which can be used to dramatically improve download rates for developers. With this new feature, app developers will be able to conveniently conduct testing in a streamlined manner.

In-App Events

In addition to the App Product Page, Apple is releasing a new attribute to the App Store in order to feature in-app events. The Apple team maintains that “The most popular apps and games are constantly introducing new content and limited-time events,” (Apple Summit June, 2021). In order to help users discover even more exciting new events, Apple is creating space within the Apple Store for limited time, dynamic events for apps to be seen by all users, whether they’re brand new to the App Store, or regularly login. 

Users can discover events with personalized recommendations and by searching. In-App Events can also be shown in the specific product page of each app, allowing them to be front and center in drawing users in. Because In-App Events drive a considerable amount of engagement for apps that are currently sitting at the top of the App Store charts, they will undoubtedly become an invaluable piece of the marketing strategy for apps across the board once Apple carves out this space for them.

It’s clear that Apple has created a stir with the news of this update. It is true that iOS 15 will require developers to begin changing their methods and the data that they rely on to optimize their applications. But, it will also offer a variety of opportunities for developers to become more creative in their process. Along every step of the way, we at SEM Nexus look forward to helping developers stay ahead of the curve and deliver with quality for their app users.

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