iOS 12 was announced in early June at the Apple WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2018, and with it came a lot of changes, leaving developers everywhere wondering about how the new changes with the iOS 12 App Store would affect their apps.
Apple’s App Store was launched ten years ago and currently has over two million apps with over 170 billion downloads and over $130 billion in revenue. Apple has seen over 4.5 million apps released on the App Store to date, many of which have been removed by Apple or the developers, which is why the existing number of live apps is so much lower.
Updates in iOS 12 build on Apple’s redesign of the App Store in iOS 11, improving it even further to make the app discovery experience better for users.
iOS 12 won’t be released to end users until Fall 2018. However, different beta versions have already been released to developers and testers worldwide to try it out and provide feedback. If you’re an app developer, you’ll want to know how these changes are going to affect your app and the App Store so that you can optimize and prepare for these changes. Even if you’re just an avid Apple consumer or user, you might want to get an idea of how Apple’s marketplace is changing and how it’s going to affect your experience.
So below is an overview of the changes coming to the iOS 12 App Store in 2018.
iOS 12 App Store Changes
The iOS 12 App Store provides a more personalized experience by customizing the content shown to you. You will be recommended apps and games as soon as you open the store in your Today tab based on your previous downloads.
You will still be getting Apple’s stories, spotlights, and apps and games of the day, however, some of the content and pieces shown to you will be based on your likes and interests instead of generic features about things that may be of no interest to you whatsoever.
You May Have Missed
Another thing about the iOS 12 App Store feed is the fact that it doesn’t show all the content from the past seven days like it used to and instead only showcases some of the previously posted content under a new section called “You May Have Missed”. This allows Apple to showcase the most important pieces from the previous days without having them get lost in a sea of updates.
Games For You
As of March 2017, the most popular Apple App Store category was gaming, with over 25 percent of apps being games. Apple calls its App Store “the world’s best game store”, which is why they’re always working on improving discovery of App Store games for users. iOS 11 saw a completely new Games tab separate from other kinds of apps and now in the iOS 12 App Store, the Games tab is customized with an algorithm instead of a chronological feed where the games you might like are prioritized and shown higher up than the rest. This doesn’t seem to be reflected in the Apps tab yet, but that may change in the final public version of the iOS 12 App Store.
Apple is enforcing new rules for app release notes or the “What’s New in This Version” section. Now, developers are required to mention any major releases or changes in the app. The constant generic release notes about “bug fixes and performance improvements” are no longer good enough. With Apple’s new rule, all developers will be obligated to inform their users about the changes by providing them with actual details about the new release or update.
Developers can now also only edit release notes when releasing a new version of the app. This means that these edits must go through the same Apple standard App Store review process that the app goes through, giving Apple more control over more aspects of released apps to ensure that only quality apps are provided to end users.
Other things that now have to go through Apple review before being edited or updated are the app’s support and marketing URLs. This rule has also been applied to prevent developers from using the support and marketing URLs to direct users to malicious websites.
Free Trials and Renewals
Non-subscription apps can now provide their users with a free trial by offering it as an in-app purchase that unlocks the functionality of the app and allows people to use it for a specific period of time before deciding whether to buy the app or not. Before now, only subscription apps were able to provide their users with the option of a free trial, but now all apps can do so. It is also forbidden for subscription apps to trick their users into buying subscriptions that are renewed automatically under false pretenses.
It is forbidden now for any app to run any unrelated background processes like cryptocurrency mining. This includes third-party ads as well.
Consent is Simple
Apps are also now forbidden from recording any user activity without obtaining explicit user consent to do so. The apps are also required to show a very clear visual indicating that the user’s activity is being recorded.
Another thing that is forbidden now is for apps to ask their users to disable Wi-Fi, turn off specific security features, or make any modifications to system settings when it’s unrelated to the app’s core functionality.
App Store Imposters
Apps are also forbidden from having a store-like interface or an interface that looks like the App Store. They are also not allowed to provide users with the ability to purchase software that they don’t already own.
Everybody Loves Emojis
One good thing that Apple now allows for is the use of emojis. Many apps used to get rejected for using emojis in their App Store descriptions, but now Apple allows the use of Unicode characters that render as Apple emojis inside the apps and in apps’ metadata, which is great news for emoji lovers everywhere.
Keep in mind that all the information here is based on the iOS 12 App Store beta versions, and while it’s highly unlikely that these new features could change drastically, there might be some slight changes with the public release of iOS 12 and the final iOS 12 App Store.