In late February 2014, Chitika Insights observed iOS 7 users generating the vast majority of Web traffic from U.S. and Canadian iPhones (84.3%) and iPads (78.5%). These high rates of adoption for the company’s latest OS versions have been a frequently touted selling point for Apple in its efforts to maintain its strong developer community. With iOS 8 expected to be at least partially unveiled at next week’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), we revisited overall iOS version distribution on each respective device type. Expectedly, the latest data indicate continued usage share growth for iOS 7 across both iPhones and iPads in North America.
To quantify this latest study, Chitika Insights analyzed tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian iOS-based online ad impressions generated from May 22 through May 28, 2014. The results were then split into OS version distributions for iPhone and iPad users, respectively.
As seen above, nearly 90% of U.S. and Canadian iPhone Web traffic is generated by users running some version of iOS 7. This share represents an increase of 5.4 percentage points since our February study on the subject.
Looking at iPad usage figures, while not quite matching the adoption rate on iPhones, iOS 7 users still constitute the vast majority of total U.S. and Canadian iPad Web traffic at just under 85%. This is a share increase of 6.3 percentage points since the February report.
For some additional historical perspective, when Chitika Insights examined iOS version distribution prior to WWDC 2013, iOS 6 represented 92.7% of iPhone Web traffic, while this percentage was 82.9% for iPads. At that time and for this most recent report, the last major iOS version had been released for slightly over eight months during the dates studied.
The slightly lower share for iPhone in 2014 may be the result of several issues some users have dealt with as part of iOS 7.x updates, leading a small percentage to stick with iOS 6. Meanwhile, the comparatively higher share for iPad this time around is possibly due to iOS 7 compatibility extended to all iPads with the exception of the original 2010 model, covering a sizable portion of the existing install base. However, the biggest differences between the two user bases from an OS distribution standpoint are with the earlier iOS versions.
More than 7% of iPad Web usage is coming from users running iOS 5 or earlier, while this number is only 1.5% for iPhones. This discrepancy is likely partially attributable to several factors. Consumers are keeping their tablets for longer periods of time as compared to smartphones, and some features in iOS updates present more value for iPhones (e.g. CarPlay, GPS), possibly leading a portion of iPad users not feeling that an update to their devices is needed. Although in both cases, the study results support the idea that regardless of device type, U.S. and Canadian Apple users are extremely likely to be running a recent iOS version.