The Week in Mobile: April 22-27, 2018

Featured iOS apps boost downloads more than 800%, the iPhone 8 might be Apple’s best-selling smartphone, Facebook shuts down a dozen APIs and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry — all to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Featured Apps See Download Spike on the New iOS App Store

Last year’s revamp of the App Store with iOS 11 appears to be providing a huge payoff for app developers. According to a new report, apps with featured spots in the new store see downloads tick up by more 200%—and for the “App of the Day” or “Game of the Day” the impact can be even higher. Games that landed in the featured spot saw downloads increase by more than 800% compared to previous weeks. Meanwhile, “App of the Day” selections saw an average boost of 685%. (Read about one of our Titanium user’s experiences with having an app featured in the “New Apps We Love” section of the App Store here!)

Speaking of iOS 11, Apple revealed this week that the mobile operating system has now been installed on 76% of iPhones, an 11 percentage point increase since January. The numbers suggest steady adoption after a slow start resulting from bugs and minor controversies (such as performance throttling on older iPhone models) that could have made users wary of updating. Apple has since released updates for iOS 11 to address those problems and more. You can check out the latest version for yourself here.

The iPhone X Might Not be Apple’s Best-Selling Smartphone After All

The iPhone X got the hype, but the iPhone 8 is snagging more buyers. According to a recent consumer survey, Apple’s high-end device made up about 16% of iPhone sales this quarter. Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus combined to form a whopping 44% of Apple’s smartphone purchases. Given the small sample size of the survey, the results should be taken with a grain salt, but they might indicate Apple’s priciest iPhone ever isn’t resonating with the majority of users.

That could be a problem, as a new report claims production issues on OLED  displays likely mean that iPhones equipped with them won’t be cheaper than $1,000 before 2019. Apple is rumored to be releasing two new iPhones this year: the successor to the iPhone X and an iPhone X Plus, both of which are expected to feature OLED screens.

Facebook Axes Custom-Feed Sharing Prompts and 12 other APIs

Facebook and Instagram are putting an end to custom-feed sharing prompts and some dozen other APIs. Following the firestorm around the company’s mishandling of user data, the social media giant promised sweeping changes around how third-party apps access profile information. Now, they’re making good on that promise by axing some APIs that pull user data without permission or dupe users into sharing content without their consent. The shutdown includes the publish_actions API that allowed developers to create a custom-sharing prompt for their app. Those apps will now need to use the standard Facebook sharing dialog to publish to users’ News Feeds.

For Instagram, one noteworthy change includes the Graph API, which will no longer allow third-parties to pull the real name and bio of users who leave comments. In order to comply with the European Union’s upcoming GDPR regulations, Instagram has also launched a new tool that will allow users to download their data should they want to leave the platform. As droves of users sought to abandon Facebook’s properties following the Cambridge-Analytica privacy mishap, Instagram made headlines by lacking an option for users to download their profile, posts and pictures. Facebook announced it will also bring a similar download data tool to its popular messaging app, Whatsapp. Some API changes have already gone into effect while others are slated to roll out on August 1st, so developers still have some time to make adjustments to their apps.

Snapchat Debuts Series of AR-Powered Mini-Games Called Snappables

Snapchat is taking the meaning of head-to-head competition to a whole new level with the release of some brand new augmented reality games. Snappables are a collection of mini-games that utilize touch, motion and facial expressions to allow users to compete against each other for high scores. Users can bob their head back-and-forth to dodge Asteroids in a space shooter, raise their eyebrows to compete in a weight lifting contest or make wacky facial expressions to win in a dance-off. Some other mini-games include a kiss-blowing match, bubble gum blowing contest and an egg catching competition. Snappables are rolling out globally this week alongside some other updates to Snapchat’s AR Lenses.

A New Harry Potter Mobile Game Lets You Become a Student at Hogwarts

Ever wonder what life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would be like? Well, now you can find out. The highly anticipated mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has now launched for both iOS and Android. This role-playing-game allows users to create their own custom avatar and roam the hallways, corridors and courtyards of Hogwarts as they learn new spells, duel other students and try to solve the mystery around why their sibling was expelled. The game takes place several years before the events of the books (sorry, you won’t be able to meet Harry, Ron or Hermione), and features dozens of memorable characters from the series, including Albus Dumbledore, Professor Snape and more. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is free-to-play and now available for download from the iOS App Store and Google Play.