The iOS 14.5 Update and Navigating Its Impact on CRO

The iOS 14.5 Update and Navigating Its Impact on CRO

Yusuf Shurbaji
Apr 17, 2023
min read


  • iOS 14.5 introduced several new features and changes, with App Tracking Transparency being a significant update to improve privacy for Apple users. This feature requires app developers to seek user consent for tracking capabilities.
  • For businesses focusing on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), the App Tracking Transparency feature has significant implications as it restricts storing any first-party tracking data without prior user permission.
  • Even if the tracking data is intended to enhance the user experience, businesses can't perform any first-party app tracking unless the user actively consents to it by clicking "Agree."
  • The update influences site conversion testing methods, compelling businesses to increasingly rely on other trusted third-party platforms for gathering user data.
  • While iOS 14.5 presents challenges for KPIs, companies can navigate through these by obtaining indirect permissions from third-party companies that users have previously accepted, ensuring the continuity of their tracking efforts.


The release of iOS 14.5 came with several new features, as well as a variety of general changes, bug fixes, and small improvements. Becoming familiar with these updates can help you better understand their impact on CRO.

What’s New in iOS 14.5? New Features and Changes

With the release of iOS updates comes a list of features and changes that any savvy marketer must keep in mind. If a business can’t keep up with changes in the platforms they use, they’ll ultimately be left in the dust. 

Here’s a rundown of the new features and some of the most noteworthy changes in the iOS 14.5 software update.

App Tracking Transparency

A significant update in iOS 14.5 is the App Tracking Transparency feature, designed to bolster privacy for Apple users downloading from the App Store. This feature compels developers to offer users a choice to either consent to or refuse the app's tracking capabilities.

Upon opening the app or using specific functions, users encounter a pop-up dialog inquiring if they wish to share particular data through trackers. Developers may only proceed with first-party tracking if users select "I Agree."

This update has sparked considerable debate and will alter numerous tracking methods employed by apps. The primary opponent of this feature is tech titan Facebook, which has incurred a $13 billion loss as a result.

Apple News Changes

Apple News has undergone a redesign for simpler navigation and now includes an "all-new search experience" for easier information discovery. As a marketer, adapt accordingly to ensure your articles appear here.

Changes to Siri

Siri has also changed in a few ways. First, there will no longer be a default Siri voice — users will now receive a wider set of selections from which they can choose their voice. Furthermore, Siri is now integrated further into various apps, providing more hands-free phone operation than ever before.

Also, when you’re wearing your AirPods or compatible headphones, Siri will announce who is calling, and you can answer the phone via voice. Finally, calls to emergency contacts can be made by asking Siri.

Face ID Updates

With the iOS 14.5 update, the facial identifier is now able to recognize users even while they are wearing a face mask. This may seem like a minor tweak, but it eliminates a common frustration for iPhone users in the post-pandemic world.

Podcast App Redesign

iOS 14.5 also brought a new app design for Apple Podcasts, working to streamline playback, subscriptions, and podcast “following.”

Bug Fixes and Improvements

iOS 14.5 also includes various bug fixes and improvements as well. Some of the bug fixes are:

  • Problems with messages failing to send or not being visible in some circumstances
  • Mail not loading emails
  • Call blocking and identification not appearing in the settings app
  • Issues with iCloud tabs appearing in Safari
  • Problems with the battery health reporting system
  • Issues with AirPods Automatic Switching

Some of the general improvements made include:

  • Updated support for AirTag in the Find My app
  • New “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature for iPhone
  • New emojis
  • Lyric-sharing capabilities in Apple Music
  • Ability to share ETA in Apple Maps 
  • Ability to stream content from Apple Fitness to devices using AirPlay 2
  • Dual sim support

How Does iOS 14.5 Affect CRO?

Wooden blocks spelling out CRO or Conversion Rate Oprimization

Understanding all of the updates made via iOS 14.5 can give you a leg up, but how does it impact CRO?

First-Party App Tracking

Perhaps the most important of the changes to anyone working on conversion rate optimization (CRO) is Apple’s addition of App Tracking Transparency. Apple’s new feature makes it impossible for businesses to store any tracking first-party data without getting prior permission from the user.

Even if the cookie or client-side data is for the user’s benefit and comfort, the business will not be able to conduct any first-party app tracking if the user doesn’t click “Agree.”

One way to convince users to click “Agree” is to build rapport. If the user is comfortable with the business and understands why granting tracking access might help with their own experience, they will be much more likely to grant that access when the dialog window pops up.

However, as you can imagine, establishing rapport and confidence with customers is a long-term task that takes dedication.

How Does the Update Change Site Conversion Testing?

As discussed above, site conversion testing must also change. Instead of tracking the customer’s conversion directly, the data must increasingly depend on using other trusted third-party platforms. 

This change allows a business to bypass the need for explicit permission from the user. Instead, they can use indirect permission from third-party companies the user has already accepted.

One option is to use a third-party advertising company that is well-supported on social media. This way, the user’s interactions with specific ads will inform the conversions. More organic conversions coming through social media can also help optimize conversions overall.

These methods are not perfect replacements for first-party tracking, but they are workarounds. Ideally, you should employ these tactics until the customer feels comfortable enough to grant direct access to tracking data.

Does the Update Affect Other Key Metrics?

A number of key performance indicators (KPIs) may also be affected by Apple’s iOS 14.5 update. These KPIs include customer lifetime value, customer retention rate, click-through rate, and more.

Customer lifetime value and customer retention rate are affected as it becomes increasingly difficult to track a customer's progress over larger periods of time. Without explicit permission from customers, tracking is impossible, and the conversion data received through third-party systems simply cannot measure the data of customers over a more extensive period of time. 

How Can You Protect Your Company’s Success Following iOS 14.5?

An elderly woman smiling in front of a desktop while holding her phone

Although iOS 14.5 does include some roadblocks for KPIs, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure your company continues on the track to success.

Make Sure Your Domain Is Verified by Facebook

The first thing you should do is make sure that your domain is verified by Facebook. This is to make sure that you can take advantage of Facebook’s ads and track conversion leads through them.

Domain verification helps Meta ensure that only the correct people can edit link previews that lead to your content. Without confirming the domain of your business, whether for eCommerce or lead generation, you will not be able to take full advantage of Facebook’s system. 

Separate Android and iPhone Users Into Two Groups

Another item to add to the to-do list is to separate Android and iPhone users into two groups so that you can track each group differently. 

Android users will not face the same problems as iPhone users in first-party tracking, so you should avoid lumping the two together. Lumping them together into one category may result in diminished conversion rate data from Android users even though they have plenty of data to provide.

You should separate these two phone groups and test them distinctly so that they provide accurate data based on the standards available to them.

For Android users, third-party app tracking and cross-app tracking data are prohibited, but first-party tracking data is not yet prohibited. Because of this, a business can track Android customers’ progress and interactions with much more freedom.

This is not possible for Apple users, and therefore, separating the two can help you work out conversion rate optimization much more efficiently. We would not be enacting lump changes based on data that may only help one side of the other. 

For example, if your consumer base has 70 percent Apple users and 30 percent Android users, collecting data and optimizing conversion rates for both of these users equally may cause you to miss changes in the majority group — Apple. However, if you separate the two, you can see detailed responses in the Android group and either supplement or differentiate with the Apple users to see what works and what doesn’t.

Consider Emphasizing More Organic Content

A crucial, future-proof strategy is to focus on organic content engagement. First-party app tracking may help you get a sense of the user and optimize content based on the users, but in many ways, nothing beats old-fashioned advertising via influence.

Producing more content can help future users and customers find and approach the content organically. 

One of the best ways to optimize the conversion rate for your business is to tap into this media. As targeted ads shrink naturally, people will come across new products through organic means such as social media. Even without tracking, this method can give you a sense of how you might be able to optimize your conversion.

Furthermore, you can use the many tools available on social media sites to track data through built-in methods.

Final Thoughts on iOS 14.5 and Marketing

Conversion rate optimization is essential for understanding how your target audience engages with and responds to your product or service.

As security and privacy concerns grow and big businesses implement protective measures, marketing must adapt and become more inventive. The iOS 14.5 update exemplifies this ongoing trend.

In response, marketing must creatively present and convey information. Initiating a social media campaign, for example, can organically attract attention and new customers.

The iOS 14.5 update underscores the need for constant marketing evolution. Prismfly is dedicated to helping businesses reach their full potential through marketing efforts, whether it's conversion rate optimization or UX/UI design. Prismfly helps businesses take the next step toward making the necessary changes to convert visitors into users and customers.