Apple’s iOS7: What’s in store for publishers

Friday, September 06, 2013
By: Boris Logvinskiy

When we last wrote about Apple’s annual fall release, the dominant theme for iOS6 and the latest iPhone was the disappearance of the Unique Device Identifier (UDID), a better screen resolution, and the new Apple Maps.

With the upcoming release of iOS7 (expected to announce on September 10th), we’re already planning our latest SDK update and are excited to once again see improvements for both app developers and end users. Foremost, the introduction of automatic app updates and the deprecation of MAC addresses for devs and third parties are worth calling out to the publisher community.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 10.04.00 AM

Automatic app updates reduce support pain
Managing app versions has long been the bane of a developer’s existence. Major bug fixes and releases have never been guaranteed to make it to a user’s device – leaving users with outdated app versions on their devices. In addition to support headaches, publishers have had to continuously maintain compatibility with old versions of applications because users weren’t consistently updating.

With iOS7, this pain will be significantly decreased. Users will still have to opt-in to automatic app updates, but we think adoption of this feature will be high. For publishers, this means apps will get updated faster by users, allowing for quicker iterations and less fear of users left on older versions.

MAC addresses are officially deprecated
As we covered extensively last year, there was great uncertainty around which identifiers publishers and advertisers would be able to use for analytics and advertising before iOS6.

When Apple announced it would deprecate access to the UDID, there was a lot of concern about how third parties would continue to track usage and engagement. Apple tackled the problem elegantly by releasing the identifierForAdvertising (IFA). When it was released, we updated our SDKs to support the new identifier and deprecated UDID use.

Others were slower to move to the IFA, or continued to rely on the MAC address in place of the IFA. The MAC address offered an easy way to identify the device, however, it has many privacy issues because it’s tied to the device’s physical hardware and cannot be reset or obfuscated.

With iOS 7, Apple will cut off the last vestige of the old way of tracking user behavior and make everyone standardize across the IFA. We think this is a great final step in unifying the ecosystem. This update will force all advertisers and publishers to the IFA to identify users for frequency capping, analytics, and conversion tracking while addressing many of the privacy concerns around the MAC address.

Stay tuned for a new MoPub SDK
If history has anything to show for itself, September should be an exciting month for iOS developers. We are staying on top of the beta versions Apple has released for its SDK and will be watching the September 10th unveiling closely. We’re working hard to ensure our SDK and 3rd party network adapters are fully supported for iOS 7.

We look forward to the release of the Gold Master version (date still to be announced by Apple), after which we will release a new MoPub SDK that officially supports iOS7. Stay tuned for more updates!

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