iOS 7 adoption rate (20140408)

After last summer’s WWDC, Apple started charting iOS adoption numbers on Dev Center, its portal for registered Mac and iOS developers.

According to data from March 24, 2014, a whopping 85 percent of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices in the wild ran iOS 7 at the time. The figure has now grown to 87 percent device, as per latest App Store numbers.

Although iOS adoption rates are now plateauing following the software’s public release more than six months ago, the two percentage-point difference in two weeks time is nonetheless a notable accomplishment.

I bet Apple’s executives will highlight iOS vs. Android adoption to paint Google’s platform as highly fragmented, but there’s more to data than meets the eye. Read on for more context…

The graphic seen in the top right is from Apple’s developer page and is based on a snapshot of App Store device access during a seven‑day period ending April 6, 2014.

Apple released iOS 7 for public consumption on September 18, 2013 and already by December 1 78 percent of active devices were running the software.

As for Google, the company’s official Android dashboard paints a messy picture of Android version distribution. Data collected during a 7-day period ending on April 1, 2014 shows that Android KitKat, the latest and greatest version of Android released six months ago, is installed on just 5.3 percent of Android smartphones and tablets, excluding vanilla devices that don’t use Google’s Play services.

Android adoption rate (20140408)

But how’s such a rapid adoption of iOS even possible?

For starters, with iOS 6 Apple built a software update mechanism right into the bowels of its mobile operating system. The feature, available in Settings > General > Software Update, periodically checks for new updates.

When it finds one, it downloads the installer in the background over Wi-Fi (iOS 7 lets  you delete these OTA  installers to free up storage space) and puts a badge on the Settings icon on a user’s Home screen to inform them of a pending update.

Over-the-air updates install without the need for desktop iTunes, which was historically the main sticking point that discouraged some people from applying iOS updates in the first place.

Last but not least, Apple only has a few iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models to develop against versus Google, whose Android software powers countless devices from dozens of vendors.

Also important: lazy carriers and UI skinning.

In fact, Android is at its most fragmented ever, with four major version each having less than a ten percent share.

Android adoption rate (20140408, Asymco)

This allows Apple to keep device fragmentation at a minimum and support older hardware. The same goes for desktop. Again, here Mac OS X targets very specific Apple hardware versus Windows that must support a wide variety of configurations, components and manufacturers.

iOS 7.1 also played a factor. The first major update to iOS 7 has polished the user interface while bringing out new features like CarPlay and Touch ID/Siri improvements and making devices zippier and more stable.

In turn, most of the people who originally passed on iOS 7.0.x versions over those concerns have responded by finally upgrading their devices to iOS 7.1.

iOS 7 (App Store teaser 004)

So, what about the eleven percent of iOS devices that are still on iOS 6? Most of these are likely older hardware so don’t expect adoption rates to come within the spitting distance of the 100 percent milestone.

For instance, by last June some 96 percent of devices were on iOS 6.

Apple’s annual conference for developers is kicking off on Monday, June 2, in San Francisco so this will be it as far as iOS 7 is concerned because all eyes will be on the upcoming iOS 8.

  • coLin

    I still have iOS 6 😛

    • Qasim

      Seriously? A major revamp came afte so long, u may be be waiting for a looooooooooong time

    • Anmol Malhotra

      I think 7 is his unlucky number.. Am I right ?? -_-

      • coLin

        I’m just sick of playing iSheep game.
        While we are reading blogs about Apple and buy their products, their brand is growing and their accounts as well.

  • David Gitman

    87%? must be users that had problems their jailbroken devices and had to restore their devices

  • Resume signing pre-iOS 7 firmwares and you have a totally different story. iDevices are best with the iOS generation they were released with…

    • coLin

      I totally agree:
      I have an 3GS and the first iPad with 5.1, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 with iOS 6, iPhone 5 with iOS 6 and I just sold the iPad 3 because it was lagging badly with iOS 7 on it.

    • Mozaik

      Can be said for every OS , like , Android galaxy nexus got laggy after 4.3 and nexus 7 2012 , no windows 8 for pre lumia and htc devices instead they got windows 7.8 with lesser features.FYI iOS 7 was complete change in Ui they didnt had enough time to fix the bugs but after 7.1 its flying again its even more stable than ios 6 there is article on in “arstechnia”.

  • My Wasted Fantasy

    iOS 5 will always be my favorite.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I still have a softspot for iOS 4.2.1. This was the firmware my first iPhone (an iPhone 3G) had and it was a jailbreak machine (of course compared to todays hardware it’s a p.o.s)…

  • deepdvd

    Yeah, because Apple nearly forces the current iOS down your throat whether you want it or not. Allowing users to choose the iOS version they want is bad business for them.

  • iOS 6.1.3 was the last good firmware.

  • blu

    I am still on iOS 6.1 on my iPhone 5.

    I jail broke it and have it set up like I like, with many of the tweaks not available on iOS 7, so I stayed on 6. Now that 7.1 is out and probably no JB for it, I will probably stick with iOS 6 till I get a new phone.

    My iPad is on iOS 7.0.1 (JB) and my wifes mini and 4s are on 7.1 (wish I had stayed on 6 with her 4s, 7 is making it lag some, but 7.1 is a little better).

  • Fadhlan

    I’m on iPhone 4s, still with iOS 6.1.2 JB 😀 Happy with it.

  • Jonathan Rosga

    iOS 7 makes my iPhone 5S look like a cheap phone

  • Jayy

    I’m Jailbroken on 5.0.1 on a iphone 4. New firmwares never add anything to the 4, so I never updated!

  • mav3rick

    Let users choose and post the charts after…