Apple Connect App provides incorrect download statistics

I check my app’s download statistics on Apple’s Connect app pretty frequently, and was surprised when a weekly total for my latest app was significantly less than the daily count from a few days ago. I tried restarting Apple’s app, but got the same figures.

Starting to get concerned that the figure reported a few days ago was mistakenly inflated, I checked the download statistics on the iTunes Connect site (under the Sales and Trends area), and was relieved to find the aggregate numbers there were close to what I had seen in the app for the daily numbers. The numbers in the App Analytics page are all still zero, probably because the app has only been out a week.

I have no way to verify for sure which number is correct, but the odds are that the aggregate numbers being displayed in the Connect app. In my case, the numbers were over 10x smaller than they should be, which is a pretty serious bug.

If this doesn’t correct itself, I may send Apple a note since it’s pretty bad a bug this basic could escape unfound by testing. But maybe it only happens in a rare situation that doesn’t effect most users. Though the numbers are slightly different for my apps that have been out for several months, the difference is no more than 10 downloads.

If a company like Apple can’t provide accurate download statistics, it might be wise to consider using some 3rd-party SDK like Flurry which should give a more accurate count, plus much more information on how your app was used. I haven’t tried this myself, but am considering it eventually.

If anyone has noticed this bug please let me know.

iOS development: Don’t unknowingly limit your users

Recently I asked a friend to try Play The Field, after which he replied he could not because the game required iOS 8.3, but his iPhone was currently still at 8.1. I hadn’t realized the app was set such that “Deployment Target” (in the XCode project’s General settings under “Deployment Info”) was set to 8.3, which means that 8.3 is the minimum OS required to install the game. This was very valuable information, and in the next release I’ll change this to 8.0.

Just be careful because your program may be using Apple APIs which aren’t supported by certain older OS versions. The father back you go the more you have to worry about writing code to dynamically detect the version and use alternate APIs.

If you are new to mobile development you might take the stance of “Why don’t the users just upgrade to the latest OS?”, but that naive stance won’t help you get any more downloads. There are several reasons people might avoid an upgrade: risk avoidance of new bugs and security problems, inability to upgrade on a jailbroken device, and fear of bricking their device. You may think having a device destroyed by an upgrade is impossible, but I have had a MacBook Pro totally messed by a failed OS upgrade before.

I doubt that once I remove this restriction the downloads will come pouring in, but it’s literally a single click to fix (excluding the whole process of uploading a new version to the app store, which I would have to do eventually anyway). Creating an iPhone version was significantly more difficult, but had the same end result – reducing a reason that user’s couldn’t download the app.

Play The Field 1.1 released with iPhone/iTouch support

Version 1.1 of Play The Field, the minimalist RTS game for mobile, has just been released on the iTunes store!

While this is technically an update, containing some minor balance tweaks, bug fixes, and menu refinements, it is effect also a release of a new game since iPhone and iTouch support has been added.

Originally it wasn’t my plan to make a iPhone version so quickly, but when thinking of how to get my game out to a wider audience I did some research and discovered it wasn’t so hard after all. I did face some challenges which I’ll discuss in detail in a future post.

Because of the smaller screen sizes on iPhone/iTouch devices, the difficulty of the levels can vary from the iPad version, sometimes increasing and sometimes decreasing. Because of that, In a few places I modified the level to make it a bit easier on the iPhone/iTouch version. Nevertheless, I think the best experience will be on the iPhone 6 or 6 plus, though all device types are supported.

I also have added a short (~20s) app preview for the iPad version as well as some of the device types for iPhone. Here is the game on iTunes for those interested:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/play-the-field/id985621862?mt=8