This Week in Apps: Elections’ affect on the app retailer, new app privateness necessities, iOS 14.2 arrives

By | November 7, 2020

Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch sequence that recaps the most recent OS information, the functions they assist and the cash that flows via all of it.

The app trade is as sizzling as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in client spending in 2019. Individuals at the moment are spending three hours and 40 minutes per day utilizing apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t only a strategy to move idle hours — they’re an enormous enterprise. In 2019, mobile-first firms had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x greater than these with no cell focus.

High Tales

Apps and the Elections

The tight, nail-biting U.S. elections this week had quite a lot of impacts on the app market.

Picture Credit: Sensor Tower

The apps People selected to look at the elections on their iPhone have been reflective of the nation’s divisions. As an alternative of a extra impartial information supply, like a broadcast community, the highest 2 apps have been CNN and Fox Information — cable information channels that lean left and proper, respectively.

On the day after Election Day, the Fox Information app hit No. 2 among the many prime free iPhone apps on the U.S. App Retailer. That is the best it has ever ranked. The second-highest rating it reached was No. 9 on November 9, 2016.

In the meantime, the CNN app hit No. 3 on the identical — its highest rank because it hit No. 2 again on Jan. 20, 2017, the date of Trump’s inauguration. This was additionally the third highest ever rank. (The app beforehand reached No, 1 on Nov. 9, 2016).

As of Nov. 5, CNN maintained a prime rating at No. 4 however Fox Information slipped to No. 14.

Different information apps didn’t do as properly, barely cracking the highest 50 at finest

Android customers confirmed much less curiosity within the elections, the place Fox Information solely received as excessive as No. 12 on Nov. 5 and CNN reached No. 16.

Picture Credit: Sensor Tower

Picture Credit: Sensor Tower

In lighter information from this traumatic week, Calm’s meditation app made headlines for its hilarious advert marketing campaign that noticed it sponsoring CNN’s protection of the presidential election. The app popped up on the display screen throughout CNN’s “Key Race Alert.” The transfer appeared to benefit the app in terms of downloads and rankings. 

On social media apps, firms needed to react shortly to clamp down on the rapid-fire unfold of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and different violating content material. Fb and Instagram ran notifications to tell customers that votes have been nonetheless being counted after Trump falsely claimed he had received.

Fb also removed conspiracy groups and hashtags related to election misinformation, as did TikTok. In Fb’s case, a hashtag block is just not a full removing — content material will nonetheless be returned if you happen to seek for a blocked phrase, even when it’s largely from information organizations reporting on the development. On TikTok, nevertheless, a blocked phrases returns nothing. TikTok additionally took extra decisive motion to fully remove videos spreading election misinformation.

Nonetheless, for these available in the market for misinformation, it’s nonetheless pretty straightforward to seek out throughout TikTok, as many different hashtags and phrases the place misinfo is shared remained untouched.

YouTube, nevertheless, took a extra controversial stance on its dealing with of misinformation. The platform this week demonstrated the way it’s complicit within the unfold of false and harmful data, when it refused to remove a video that falsely claimed Trump received the election and labored to undermine People’ belief in democratic elections. YouTube believes demonetization and warning labels are the answer, however by retaining this content material on-line, it retains customers. After which these individuals do, in reality, watch advertisements elsewhere, permitting YouTube to revenue.

The corporate did draw the line, a minimum of, at a video from Steve Bannon, that referred to as for violence in opposition to and deaths of Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray.

In line with Sensor Tower, the highest social media apps within the U.S. together with TikTok, Fb, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter noticed their mixed iOS and Android installs from November 3 to November 5 decline 8% week-over-week when in comparison with the installs from October 27 to October 29.

Proper-wing social app Parler, in the meantime, ranked at No. 1,023 on iOS on November 2. On November 5, it had climbed to No. 241. As of Friday, it was No. 29.

Apple rolls out an enormous replace to iOS 14

Apple this week launched iOS 14.2, which brings quite a lot of new options along with the same old bug fixes and safety updates.

Of word to customers, the replace brings 117 new emojis.

Among the many new emoji is a tweaked model of the “Face with Medical Masks,” which modifications the face so the eyes are smiling. Different notable additions embrace the transgender flag, pinched fingers, individuals hugging, a smiling face with tear, a person bottle-feeding a child and a extra inclusive set of tuxedo-wearing individuals and other people sporting a veil. There’s additionally a gender-inclusive different to Santa and Mrs. Claus, which provides a gender impartial possibility of an individual in a Santa hat.

The up to date iOS additionally provides eight new wallpapers in each gentle and darkish model; new AirPlay controls; the power to attach the HomePod to Apple TV for stereo, encompass sound and Dolby Atmos audio; assist for iPhone 12 Leather-based Sleeve with MagSafe; optimized battery charging for AirPods; headphone audio degree notifications; and extra.

One of many extra fascinating new options, nevertheless, is an accessibility improve for blind customers that takes benefit of the lidar assist in iPhone 12, 12 Professional Max and iPad Professional.

The “Individuals Detection” options leverages lidar to detect how shut persons are to the gadget proprietor, as a method to assist blind users better navigate the world. 

Prepare for Apple’s new “app privateness” labels

Picture Credit: Apple

Apple this week announced a deadline of December 8, 2020 for app builders to submit their app’s privateness data to the App Retailer. This data can be required to submit new apps and app updates, and can give customers a greater understanding of how apps are accessing their information.

On every app’s product web page following the deadline, customers will have the ability to see what information an app collects and the way that information is used to trace them, Apple says. This doesn’t solely embrace information the app builders accumulate themselves, but additionally information that’s transmitted off the gadget for later use by the developer or a third-party associate. Meaning app builders should disclose how information is being handed over to analytics instruments, advert networks and different third-party SDKs and different distributors.

With this pro-consumer privateness change, Apple customers will know how developers are tracking and/or sharing their private data, well being information, monetary data, location, contacts information, person content material, looking and search histories, purchases, app utilization, diagnostic and extra.

Whereas it’s arduous to argue that it is a change for the higher, by way of client advantages, Apple’s causes is probably not nearly serving their buyer base.

By slicing off the advert analytics trade with its upcoming crippling of IDFA and making it extra apparent which apps monitor person information, Apple is placing its personal advert tech in a extra favored place. Its framework SKAdNetwork massively advantages from these modifications — successfully giving Apple a seat on the desk in the multi-billion-dollar ad industry. So, let’s cease pretending that is all about how a lot Apple cares for its customers. That is enterprise.

Weekly Information Spherical-Up


  • Fortnite finds a way to skirt App Retailer ban. The sport, banned by Apple in a battle over App Retailer charges, could have one other strategy to attain the iPhone person base by means of Nvidia’s GeForce cloud gaming service that runs on the cell internet.
  • WhatsApp rolls out a payments service in India. The Fb-owned messaging app started testing the service in 2018, however struggled to get authorities approval. The service, which is constructed on UPI, provides a problem to Google and Walmart which presently dominate the mobile payments market in India.
  • WhatsApp adds disappearing messages. The brand new ephemeral messages disappear after seven days and rolled out throughout iOS and Android. It additionally made it easier for users to delete massive recordsdata and handle storage.
  • Apple broadcasts a brand new occasion. The expectation is that this one will be Mac-focused.
  • Apple warns investors that decreased App Retailer revenues would harm its monetary outcomes. The warning comes amidst growing regulatory stress on the App Retailer, which immediately requires builders to distribute via its platform to achieve iOS customers, and requires IAPs via Apple Pay.



  • PUBG Cell plots a way to return to the Indian market, after a ban over cybersecurity issues on account of its connections with Chinese language large Tencent. The corporate is in search of an area writer.
  • Fb and Instagram added notifications during the tight U.S. election this week to alert customers that votes have been nonetheless being counted. The transfer follows Trump’s unfold of conspiracies that elections have been rigged and his lies saying he had received earlier than all votes had been counted.

Safety & Privateness

  • Google Screenwise is dead. The monitoring app, which data customers’ internet utilization, had been in the news last year for improperly utilizing an iOS enterprise certificates for distribution.

Apps within the Information

  • Spotify adds standalone streaming support to its Apple Watch app. Meaning customers can depart their iPhone behind and stream immediately from their Watch over Wi-Fi or mobile.
  • Fb tests “dark mode” on Android. The brand new darkish mode possibility had been examined earlier on desktop.
  • Triller names Daniel Gillick its International Head of Partnerships. The exec was beforehand senior supervisor of music content material and trade relations at Triller rival TikTok.
  • TikTok signed a new, longer-term agreement with Sony Music. The deal permits the app to proceed to supply music from Sony artists in its app.
  • TikTok exams iOS 14 “App Clips.” The take a look at was spotted in beta, and would enable customers a full-screen preview with a obtain immediate.
  • NBC Information launched an iOS 14 widget for placing election information and outcomes on your house display screen.
  • Pokémon GO reaches $1 billion in 2020; lifetime income tops $4 billion, says Sensor Tower.
  • Tencent claims record 100 million day by day customers on cell recreation, Honor of Kings. The sport constantly ranks among the many world’s top-grossing video games, as properly.
  • Match Group reported Tinder subscriber development regardless of a pandemic the place persons are alleged to be social distancing. Tinder had 6.6 million subscribers within the quarter, up from 6.2 million within the prior quarter. Tinder income rose 15%, however ARPU slipped 1%.


Picture Credit: Sensor Tower

Funding and M&A (and IPOs)

  • Supply startup goPuff, whose app enables you to order comfort retailer gadgets and alcohol for same-day supply, acquires alcoholic beverage chain BevMo for $350 million. 
  • TikTok father or mother firm ByteDance looking to raise $2 billion before its IPO on the Hong Kong StockExchange.
  • Kuaishou Know-how, the world’s second-largest quick time period video app and TikTok rival, filed for IPO in Hong Kong
  • European challenger banking app Vivid Cash raises $17.6 million. The financial institution provides a metallic debit card managed by an app, and different tech-forward options.


The Roku Channel app

The just lately launched app lets anybody, together with non-Roku customers, stream from Roku’s catalog of free, reside and premium film and TV content material on their iOS or Android gadget. The app additionally provides greater than 115 reside channels together with reside information, climate, sports activities, meals & residence, actuality TV, science fiction, true crime, youngsters’ leisure and Spanish language content material.

The Collage Atlas

Seeking to wind-down from per week of stress and nervousness? The Apple Arcade recreation, The Collage Atlas, could assist. This distinctive hand-drawn recreation created by developer John William Evelyn is a murals the place gamers are invited to journey via a pen-and-ink dream world, accompanied by a soundtrack formed by your gameplay. The title, which was in development for more than four years, is extra of one thing to expertise than one thing to extra actively “play” — and that could be simply what’s wanted proper now.

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