ASO news digest for August 2023
Apple added a System Help Screen for payment issues with iOS apps. Google changed the “Ads” badge to “Sponsored” on Google Play. Asodesk conducted research on new search suggestions on the App Store. Catch up on all important App Store Optimization news from the App Store, Google Play, and Asodesk in this digest.
1. The Supreme Court ruled that Apple is not required to allow third-party payments in the App Store
2. Apple added a System Help Screen for payment issues with iOS apps
3. Apple updated Apple Developer Program License Agreement
4. Apple has removed 10 apps from the App Store following alerts from the App Danger Project AI tool
5. Google changed the “Ads” badge to “Sponsored” on Google Play
6. Google Play apps must target API 31 or newer to remain available and API 33 to submit
7. New Google Play apps must use Play Billing Library 5 or newer
8. Google requires developers offering alternative billing in South Korea to use alternative billing APIs
9. Asodesk conducted research on new search suggestions on the App Store
App Store news
The Supreme Court ruled that Apple is not required to allow third-party payments in the App Store
The Supreme Court rejected Epic Games’ request to overturn a decision that favors Apple concerning the relaxation of App Store rules. Judge Elena Kagan declined Epic Games’ application to lift the suspension of a lower court ruling regarding Apple’s rules on combating third-party payments, which limit the ability of iOS app developers to direct users to alternative payment methods.
Kagan did not explain the reasons for this decision, but on the Supreme Court’s website, Epic’s petition was marked as rejected.
Apple added a System Help Screen for payment issues with iOS apps
In April, Apple announced that users could resolve billing issues without exiting the app.
Starting August 14, if a subscription doesn’t automatically renew due to billing issues, users will see a system-provided window that suggests updating their payment method for their Apple ID. This change is effective for iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 or later versions, and no additional steps are needed for its implementation.
Learn more about the system screen on Apple’s documentation page.
Apple updated Apple Developer Program License Agreement
The terms of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement have been updated to accommodate new features, clarify existing policies, and offer further details. The changes involve:
- Definitions, Section 3.3.39: Specified requirements for use of the Journaling Suggestions API.
- Schedule 1 Exhibit D Section 3 and Schedules 2 & 3 Exhibit E Section 3: Added language about the Digital Services Act (DSA) redress options available to developers based in the European Union.
- Schedule 1 Section 6.3 and Schedules 2 and 3 Section 7.3: Added clarifying language that the content moderation process is subject to human and systematic review and action pursuant to notices of illegal and harmful content.
Read more about all of the updates.
Apple has removed 10 apps from the App Store following alerts from the App Danger Project AI tool
The App Danger Project aims to assist parents globally in assessing the safety of apps for their children. It gathers reviews from both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store that indicate potential child exploitation risks.
Currently, the App Danger Project has identified 182 apps across Apple’s and Google’s platforms as meeting its risk criteria. When filtered to show only App Store results, the count drops to 146 apps.
The initiative’s website also features a search tool that allows users to scrutinize apps from both platforms based on reviews. The tool focuses on mentions of child pornography, pedophilia, and other red flags pointing to possible child exploitation within these reviews.
Although user-written reviews on the App Store are not definitive proof of an app’s involvement in child exploitation, they do serve as indicators. Recognizing the potential risks, Apple has introduced features on iPhones to safeguard minors from exploitative content.
The New York Times reports that, after scrutinizing the list from the App Risk Initiative, Apple removed 10 apps from its platform.
Google Play news
Google changed the “Ads” badge to “Sponsored” on Google Play
In Google’s product documentation for system updates scheduled for August 2023, one of the most eye-catching changes relates to the Play Store’s presentation of advertising material.
Instead of the “Ads” label, the platform now displays the term “Sponsored”. This adjustment aims to clarify visually that the content being viewed is paid for, as opposed to being a standard search result.
Google Play apps must target API 31 or newer to remain available and API 33 to submit
As of August 31, 2023, Google Play enforced new rules regarding the Target API policy:
1. New apps are required to aim for Android 13 (API level 33) or above. However, Wear OS applications should target at least Android 11 (API level 30) and can go up to Android 13 (API level 33).
2. Existing apps must target API level 31 or higher to remain accessible on Android devices that operate on an OS above the app’s targeted API level. Applications with a target API level of 30 or lower (or API level 29 or lower for Wear OS) will only be functional on Android devices with the same or a earlier OS version.
If you require additional time to update your app, extension requests will be accepted until November 1, 2023. Since early August, if your app is affected, you can navigate to the Policy status page in the Play Console to fill out your app’s extension forms by following the relevant warnings.
New Google Play apps must use Play Billing Library 5 or newer
As of August 2, 2023, new apps are required to implement Billing Library version 5 or above. Additionally all existing app updates must also transition to Billing Library version 5 or higher by November 1, 2023.
For more information, please refer to the guidelines.
Google requires developers offering alternative billing in South Korea to use alternative billing APIs
Due to new legislation, Google is allowing developers to provide a secondary billing option alongside the standard Google Play billing method for mobile and tablet users in South Korea. If a developer chooses a alternative payment system, the Google Play service charge will be cut by 4%. For further details, refer to Google’s Payments policy.
To ensure a secure and uniform user experience, developers are required to meet specific criteria. They have the opportunity to incorporate alternative billing APIs, which facilitate adherence to user experience guidelines and transaction reporting.
Asodesk made an index on new search suggestions on the App Store
To keep you in the loop with evolving user trends on the App Store, we’ve analyzed App Store Search suggestions that have popped up over the past week. Our research spans 18 different countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Spain.
Here are some insights that we found:
1. In the U.S., the search term “kick” has emerged, linked to a well-known streaming app.
2. Within the search suggestions of China’s App Store, the query 地震预警 (“earthquake alert”) was noticeable, garnering around 4,900 Daily Impressions.
3. In Germany and Sweden, the search term “lidl plus”, associated with a shopping app, appeared in suggestions.
Explore our comprehensive research across 18 countries to find fresh search hints that could benefit your metadata and Apple Search Ads campaings.
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