NIX Solutions: 3rd-Party iOS Apps Developers to Lose $400 M After iOS 18 Release

Apple has a long history of integrating features offered by third-party software into its iOS and macOS platforms, a practice that often comes at a cost to the latter’s developers. This trend continues with the release of iOS 18, which could negatively impact applications with total annual revenue of $393 million and 58 million downloads over the past year, according to a study by the analytical company Appfigures, reported by TechCrunch.

NIX Solutions

Every June at WWDC, Apple announces new versions of its software and operating systems, frequently adding features that were previously exclusive to third-party applications. This practice began in the nineties with the introduction of the Sherlock search program on Mac computers, which borrowed functionalities from the third-party application Watson. While this approach allows Apple to customize its OS features to better meet user needs based on popular third-party offerings, it also raises concerns about fair competition between Apple’s native solutions and third-party products.

Recent Integrations and Market Impact

In recent years, Apple has increasingly incorporated features from third-party developers into its platforms. Notable additions include the Continuity camera, medication tracking, sleep and mood monitoring, as well as the Freeform and Diary apps. This year, new integrations feature a password manager, call recording and transcription, custom emoticon creation, AI-powered text writing tools, a math assistant, and a tourist route planner, among others. Appfigures analyzed the market for applications with over a thousand downloads per year and identified several segments that were particularly appealing to Apple in 2024.

Travel apps emerged as the most profitable, generating $307 million in the past year, with AllTrails being named “App of the Year” in 2023. Grammar and math assistants earned $35.7 million and $23.4 million, respectively, while password managers brought in $20.3 million, and custom emoji apps generated $7 million. Due to Apple’s integration efforts, 78% of lost revenue is expected to come from travel apps, which will account for 40% of the loss in download numbers. To illustrate the impact, in May 2024 alone, these apps accounted for approximately $28.8 million in revenue and 2.5 million downloads.

Many of these categories experienced significant growth: math problem-solving apps increased revenue by 43% year over year, grammar assistants by 40%, password managers by 38%, and travel apps by 28%. Conversely, apps for creating custom emoji saw a 17% decline. Grammar assistants were installed 9.4 million times in the last 12 months, emoji editors 10.6 million, and math problem-solving apps 9.5 million. Despite their dedicated user bases, the growth of these projects is expected to slow as many users will find Apple’s solutions satisfactory and may not seek alternatives, notes NIX Solutions.

Future Outlook for Developers

Developers whose projects continue to innovate and offer features that Apple’s alternatives lack, as well as those leveraging new technologies like the next-generation Siri voice assistant, will have the best chance of thriving. We’ll keep you updated on how these developments unfold and their broader implications for the app market.