WWDC 2020: What’s new for ASO and Organic UA in iOS 14

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Ilia Kukharev
WWDC 2020: What’s new for ASO and Organic UA in iOS 14

Table of Content:

  1. What’s new in the iOS 14 App Store?
  2. More ASO related updates
  3. Summary

This year the WWDC 2020 was a completely virtual event, streamed at Apple.com website, Apple Developer apps, and even Apple YouTube channel — for the first time in history.

Apple introduced us to the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Let’s take a closer look at iOS 14 and how its new features will affect ASO and organic traffic acquisition.

What’s new in the iOS 14 App Store?

1. Featured cards – Collections are now shown in the detailed view

Before, if your app was on the second position after the Collection card, the majority of users tended to skip the card and download your app directly in one click. Now, however, the users will see the first two apps from the Collection card in the search results. That means your organic position is contested by two additional apps, i.e., your app effectively went from being the only suggestion on the page to position 3 on the list (see the screenshots below for clarity).

This new change has the potential to seriously cripple your app’s organic search downloads, as these Collection cards are available for thousands of popular search terms and appear to users as organic search results.

iOS 13 on the left, iOS 14 on the right (our thanks to Max Ott for the screenshot)

2. Autocorrection for search terms with typos

Many app developers used the “typo strategy” to rank higher for search terms with typos, as it was easier than ranking for complete brand names. That’s no longer feasible.

In iOS 14, App Store will automatically fix the typos and show you the correct search result for the correct search term.

3. Auto-complete for search terms
(was removed in one of the betas)

The App Store will automatically fill out the search terms for you. Auto-complete suggests the first available hint in the list, meaning this can be potentially used to increase organic traffic for highly popular search terms and decrease traffic for hints at the end of the list.

4. Product page updates

There are two updates to the product page in the App Store on iOS 14.

First is a minor update for the app info design: now it looks exactly like it does on the Apple Arcade game page and includes the app average rating and number of ratings (that means you should work even harder with the reviews), position in the category chart, supported languages and app size.

The second update is brand new Privacy cards that describe the exact data the app will request to use in order to operate.

1. The updated Apple review process

This is a big one. Starting this summer, Apple will allow you to contest any specific guidelines if your app is rejected from the App Store. You’ll have a chance to prove that you do not violate the Review Guidelines and your app qualifies to be in the App Store.

Another change is that critical bug fixes will be approved for the App Store, even if you have metadata violations (except for the legal issues). Your app will pass the review process, but you will need to fix all the violations before releasing the next version.

Apple will also create additional channels for developers to share feedback during new developer forums that will occur throughout the coming year. In these forums, developers are encouraged to share their suggestions, large and small, so that Apple may continue to implement changes and improve the App Store experience for the entire developer community.

Additionally, two changes are coming to the app review process and will be implemented this summer. First, developers will not only be able to appeal decisions about whether an app violates a given guideline of the App Store Review Guidelines, but will also have a mechanism to challenge the guideline itself. Second, for apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. Developers will instead be able to address the issue in their next submission.

source: Apple Newsroom

2. Family sharing for Subscriptions and in-app purchases

Subscription sharing for family use has been a long-awaited feature. Users can now save a lot of money on apps subscription. This can only mean a revenue decrease, as people will share subscriptions instead of buying a new one. Not really good news for app developers, but this feature will be turned off by default. Developers should turn it on manually in App Store Connect, but be careful — you won't be able to turn it off.

Now you can share App Store subscriptions with everyone in your family with a single purchase. Subscriptions from participating apps can be shared with members of your Family Sharing group.

source: iOS 14 Features preview

3. iOS apps on Apple Silicon Macs

A number of selected developers have already received the invitations to the brand new Mac App Store and now have the opportunity to publish their existing iPhone and iPad apps directly in the Mac App Store without any additional actions.

Compatible apps will be selected by Apple, and developers will get a new checkbox in the Availability section of the App Store Connect to turn the Mac App Store availability on.

iOS Apps and iPadOS Apps on Mac

In a future release of macOS Big Sur, all compatible iPhone and iPad apps on the App Store will be available on the Mac App Store on Apple Silicon Macs. If you prefer not to have your app published on the Mac App Store, you’ll be able to manage its availability in App Store Connect. Compatibility with macOS is determined by Apple. If you do not have appropriate rights for your app to operate on macOS, you agree to manage its availability in App Store Connect.

source: macOS Big Sur preview


This was a short overview of What’s new in iOS 14 for ASO. AppFollow experts noticed that Apple is trying to make the App Store search results cleaner with auto-correction and auto-completion, and this will be a challenge for ASO Community to find new ways to rank high and get organic installs.

AppFollow ASO tools are running in iOS 13.5 data right now and will be updated to iOS 14 data as soon as it is released to make sure users get the most precise and actual data to make correct ASO and UA decisions.


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