In Analytics insights, Games Analytics

iOS 9 was released with much fanfare on the 16th September 2015. Major OS updates represent a quandary for consumers who must weigh the risks of updating (e.g. poor performance, incompatibility of current apps, etc) against a bunch of shiny new features to play with. Indeed consumers are have become increasingly wary of major updates with the prevailing wisdom being to ‘wait a few weeks for them to iron out the bugs’.

At deltaDNA we track over 20 million iOS devices worldwide, so we are in a prime position to study the adoption of iOS 9 and what it says about Apple users.

In terms of overall adoption rate, we see that more than 90% of iOS users were on iOS 8 on the 15th September. Roughly half of these users (45%) had transitioned to iOS 9 by 23rd September. The chart below illustrates this transition.

Adoption rate of iOS 9

Adoption rate of iOS 9 across all devices: % of users on iOS 7 or earlier, iOS 8, and iOS, 9 over 10 days post launch

It is interesting that only half of iOS users were willing to update. Looking back at iOS 8 adoption, this ratio is slightly better. Only 36% of Apple users upgraded to iOS 8 within a week of its release, and it took a full 6 months to reach over 80% adoption.

All of the iOS 9 adoption has come from users previously on iOS 8; a constant 7% of iOS users are committed to sticking with iOS 7.

We would expect that much of this nervousness is users on old devices worried about performance. In the chart below we split the adoption rate out by iPhone generation.

Adoption rate of iOS 9 by iPhone generation

As expected, users on old iPhone 4S’s were very reluctant to update, with only 22% so far on iOS 9. Interestingly, there is not a lot of difference between iPhone 5 and 6 users, suggesting that the bigger worry is general `buggy-ness’ and app compatibility rather than performance issues.

It is also interesting to look at geographic trends. The chart below shows the iOS 9 adoption rate across different continents.


iOS 9 adoption rate across different continents

Europe, North America, and South America all had adoption rates of around 50%, while Africa and Asia trail behind at below 40%. This large difference appears to have little to do with device generation; around 50% of iPhone users in both North America and Asia were on iPhone 6, while only 23% of South American users were on iPhone 6. The real cause for this is unclear in our data, but it could’ve be due to nervousness about regional app support, the localization of iOS 9 features (e.g. Apple pay only works in US & UK) or internet availability.

Finally, we looked at iOS 9 adoption compared to IAP behavior. The chart below compares adoption rate for payers and non-payers in F2P games.

Comparision of the adoption rates for payers and non-payers in F2P games

Comparision of the adoption rate of iOS9 for payers and non-payers in F2P games

The non-payer adoption rate lagged behind the payer one by around 5% by the 24th September. It is likely this was simply a reflection of the device trend seen above, as 60% of payers, compared to 41% of non-payers, are on iPhone 6.


Each major OS release offers a unique snapshot of the Apple eco-system. While the adoption rate of iOS 9 has been good, better than previous releases, around 50% of users were willing to ‘wait and see’. That this fraction is dependent on region more so than device generation is interesting, and it speaks to the way Apple’s brand is perceived across the world.


If you found this interesting, you should read our article The best performing F2P game genres: A comparison of KPIs

This post was first published in PocketGamer.

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