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When we are about to develop a new iOS application one of the first things to consider is which should be the minimum iOS version to support. Supporting an old iOS version may mean more users for our application but sacrificing the latest platform functionalities or conditionally using them, making development harder.

It’s clear that in order to make a decision you should have access to the market share of all the different iOS versions. But things get tricky here. Apple, contrary to what Google does with his Android statistics, does not publish official data about the market share of iOS versions, so we must search for this information elsewhere. What are our options?

  • First of all, if we already have a published application we can extract our own statistics… you are already doing it, don’t you? Any way this will only work if our application already has support for all the iOS versions we would like to measure and has a good amount of monthly downloads.
  • If this is not your case, you can also wait for some blogs to publish information about the market share of different iOS versions, although this only happens from time to time and when there is an important iOS version change. For example, Chitika, an online marketing network, publishes from time to time reports about iOS adoption, as the one published on October 2nd where they report a 60% adoption of iOS 6 on iPhones, with iPads and iPods lagging a bit behind.
  • Finally, some developers publish their own statistics based on their products. For example, David Smith, developer of Audiobooks with more than 100.000 monthly downloads, publishes his statistics of iOS versions limited to those versions his application runs in. On October 2nd iOS reaches almost 60% for all the available devices (although he doesn’t gather statistics for versions lower than 4.x)

Once we have this information we may take an informed decision about the minimum version our application will support, weighing on one hand all the iOS functionalities we’ll have available and their impact in the user experience as well as in development time, and on the other hand, the percentage of users that will be left out in the cold.

Do you know any other source to check regarding this? If so, share it with us!