New iPhones Represent Opportunity for Acquiring New App Users

It’s been one month since the new iPhones became available for purchase. Ahead of Apple’s earnings next week, we reviewed adoption of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, overall and by country, and looked at app engagement performance on the new devices. While the engagement numbers may surprise you, it actually provides a great opportunity for app marketers.  


iPhone 6S and 6S Plus Adoption Increasing, But Still Behind Last Year’s Models 

After one month in the market, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus adoption rates are still lower than last year’s models for the equivalent period. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus adoption has slightly increased since our last update. The 6S and 6S Plus now account for 3.5% of all iPhones, an increase of 1.1% from our update two weeks ago.



Experimentation Results in Lower App Launches But More App Users

Of the most recent iPhones, apps on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are being launched less than on older models, with respective averages of 10.1 and 9.2 launches per app.




At first glance, it’s surprising to see such low numbers given the excitement a new device causes, but this phenomenon tends to happen every year. The average number of launches per app on last year’s models was also low, at 10.7 and 9.5 on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus respectively, one month after their release. 

Why is this? On new devices, users are often trying many different apps to see which ones they like the best for their new device. This experimentation often results in a lot of apps that are only launched once or twice, bringing the overall average down. Once users find the core group of apps they enjoy and begin to visit those apps more often, the averages are sure to go up.

This period of app exploration gives app publishers an amazing opportunity to gain new users. It’s a great time for app marketers to double down on their app onboarding experience and make it easy for users to jump in. And, apps need to keep the 3x3 rule in mind: 3 sessions in the first 3 days after an app’s download drastically reduces the number of users who churn in the first 30 days.

In a similar way, this time of year is crucial for avoiding the great app purge, i.e. the time of year that many people who are upgrading their devices also take the opportunity to delete (and not transfer) apps they don’t typically use. The 3.5% of all iPhones now on the new models represents thousands of users who have already gone through this evaluation period and potentially left your app behind. Imagine how many more users are about to upgrade to newer devices with the upcoming holiday season. If you’re an app marketer, make sure to increase your marketing efforts targeted towards inactive users now so that, in the event your users purchase a new device, your app is top of mind.


Countries in Asia Continue to Adopt the Fastest

Segmenting new devices by country is another potential starting point, especially for apps with an international user base. Of the 12 countries where the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus were available in the initial release, countries in Asia are seeing the fastest adoption.



Asian countries, notably Japan and Hong Kong, likely have such high adoption rates because they are the cheapest markets for the new models. 

There is a noticeable discrepancy between the adoption rates of Asian countries and European countries. The European countries’ low adoption rate is due to the fact that the 6S models have much higher price tags. The new models have been priced significantly higher compared to last year’s models, which seems to have deterred people from upgrading.

With Apple’s earning call next week, it will be interesting to hear their take on what’s happening and what this may mean for the release of the new iPad model.



Localytics is the leading lifecycle engagement platform across more than 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and web apps. Localytics processes 120 billion data points monthly. For this study, we examined over 50 million iOS devices. For the iPhone adoption data, we examined the relative percentage of iPhones one month after each device's release. For the country breakdown, Localytics examined the relative adoption rate in each of the twelve countries that released the iPhones on September 25th. For the app launch breakdown, Localytics examined the average number of times an individual app was launched for each device within the last 30 days.