Published On: Sun, Mar 14th, 2021

This Week in Apps: Parler denied App Store re-entry, Walmart doubles down on TikTok live shopping, Instagram Lite rolls out worldwide

Welcome behind to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps a latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and a altogether app economy.

The app courtesy is as prohibited as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in tellurian consumer spend in 2020.

Consumers final year also spent 3.5 trillion mins regulating apps on Android inclination alone. And in a U.S., app use surged forward of a time spent examination live TV. Currently, a normal American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, yet now spends 4 hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t usually a proceed to pass idle hours — they’re also a large business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x aloft than those yet a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in collateral into mobile companies — a figure that’s adult 27% year-over-year.

This week, we’re holding a demeanour during some of a buzzier stories from a universe of apps, including a latest around Parler’s attempted lapse to a App Store, a examination of Walmart’s second livestream selling event, and Instagram Lite’s tellurian rollout. We also have new Clubhouse information on a sum installs and a tellurian footprint and info about Disney’s new use that could reinstate your MagicBand, among other things.

✨ Parler tries and fails to re-enter App Store

The worried amicable app was booted from a App Store, Google Play and Amazon AWS following a U.S. Capitol riot, for violations of village guidelines. Apple had privately asked Parler to change a mediation policies, that had been sincerely hands-off before to a dismissal from a App Store. Though Apple has a series of manners about what apps can and can't do, Parler’s possess policies were guided by a First Amendment’s proceed to giveaway debate — basically, users could contend roughly anything yet consequence.

According to papers performed by Bloomberg, Parler again attempted to benefit entrance into a App Store after a strange ban, and was again denied. Following a new review, Apple reportedly told Parler’s arch routine officer on Feb. 25, there was no place for “hateful, racist, discriminatory content” on a App Store. The examination had also enclosed several descent images, including form cinema with swastikas and other white jingoist imagery, as good as misogynistic, homophobic and extremist usernames and posts.

Parler final month had pronounced negotiations with Apple were underway, and it approaching to get behind in a App Store. But with this new rejection, Parler cut a 3 remaining iOS developers from a team, out of a sum of 7 who were let go, Bloomberg reported.

The debate around Parler is contemplative of a incomparable examination underway in a U.S. over tech’s shortcoming to assuage a calm on a platforms, as users’ posts and comments are increasingly heading to real-world violence. The U.S. supervision has not nonetheless regulated these platforms, withdrawal decisions like this adult to tech itself. Parler, in a statement, pronounced it had combined filters and tellurian examination to residence threats of violence, as good as discretionary collection that let users filter and retard certain kinds of hatred speech. But this didn’t go distant adequate to residence Apple’s claims about hatred black and descent debate still benefaction on a network.

Platforms: Apple

Apple expelled critical confidence rags opposite all platforms. The rags repair a disadvantage — a memory crime bug in WebKit, a engine that powers Apple’s Safari browser. An assailant can feat a disadvantage around a antagonistic web page.


Image Credits: Walmart

✨ Walmart again teamed adult with TikTok to horde a new livestream selling event on Thursday night. The event, co-hosted by Gabby Morrison and Nabela Noor, focused on beauty products, charity demos and tutorials where viewers could buy a products by an integrated selling cart. The calm itself was engaging, feeling really most like a makeup tutorials and “get prepared with me” vlogs users already watch opposite amicable media platforms. Gabby, who demoed all a products, was skilful during balancing a some-more infrequent makeup try-on portions of a live eventuality with a QVC-like call-to-action to indeed buy a object being shown.

At times, there were as many as 8,000+ indicate viewers participating in a live event, we beheld during a viewing. (We assimilated about 20 mins. after a start). During a event, we saw high rendezvous in a stream’s comments, including a series of certain comments — like jokes from users who lamented they were selling everything, shout-outs from those who usually combined an object to their cart, or compliments destined during a hosts. But there were also some trolling remarks that should have disregarded TikTok’s discipline over cyberbullying, that were not moderated out — an emanate TikTok will need to residence as these events grow incomparable and some-more common.

Image Credits: screenshot of Walmart’s criticism on TikTok

Walmart final year had run an apparel-focused live selling holiday eventuality — a initial commander of TikTok’s live selling underline in a U.S. The tradesman has not commented on sales from a initial event, yet says they strike Walmart’s projections. Walmart also pronounced a eventuality gathering a 25% boost in TikTok supporter growth, and 7x some-more views than anticipated.


Facebook is targeting rising markets with launch of Instagram Lite, a lightweight Android chronicle of a app that takes adult usually 2MB of space. The app was done permitted opposite 170 countries this week, charity a ability to perspective and share photos and videos, Stories, IGTV, learn calm by Explore, and more. However, a app lacks a ability to film Reels — Instagram’s TikTok opposition — users can usually perspective them.

Image Credits: Facebook

The app is not Facebook’s initial try to rise a lightweight chronicle of Instagram. The association formerly expelled an Progressive Web App, that was pulled in 2020. A new app was afterwards launched in Dec in India in a singular test, forward of this broader release.

✨ Clubhouse has now reached 12 million worldwide downloads, an boost of 600K given Mar 1, according to new information from App Annie. The largest marketplace for a app is still a U.S. that accounts for 3.1 million downloads. But a app has a clever tellurian footprint, with 1.8m downloads in Japan, 710K in Germany, 600K in Brazil, 505K in Russia, 420K in Italy, 375K in a U.K., 370K in South Korea, 350K in Turkey, and 107K in France, a organisation said. Clubhouse was pronounced to have 8 million tellurian downloads usually in February, so this is important growth.

Facebook expands creator monetization options with a further of ads for short-form video content — including videos as brief as 1 minute, instead of prior smallest of 3 minutes. Those ads will now play 30 seconds after a start of a shorter video. It also non-stop a in-stream ads module for Live videos out of invite-only mode. The pierce could inspire creators to make calm for Facebook instead of opposition platforms like TikTok, by courtship them with some-more money-making opportunities.

TikTok rolled out new commenting facilities directed during preventing bullying. Creators will now be means to control that comments can be posted on their content, before those comments go live. Another new addition, directed during users who are commenting, will cocktail adult a box that prompts a user to recur posting a criticism that might be inapt or unkind.

Image Credits: TikTok

Pakistan again bans TikTok over “immoral and objectionable” videos. The app, that has around 33 million users in a country, was blocked by a Pakistan Telecom Authority after Peshawar High Court’s Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan pronounced some TikTok videos were “unacceptable for Pakistani society,” and were “peddling vulgarity.”

A new app called Limit App is charity an Instagram-like use yet usually for those ages 18 to 25. Reviewed by Geekwire, a app’s creator pronounced it’s not about ageism, yet rather about giving immature people a place to be themselves. The app uses a secure ID and age corroboration routine to onboard users and, when they spin 26, they’re giving 30 days to download their calm before being booted out. Begone, boomers.

Pinterest saw over 193M downloads worldwide in 2020, according to App Annie — a 50% YoY increase, driven by consumers regulating a height for product discovery, pattern ideas, and shopping.

Instagram can now automatically supplement captions to Stories for improved accessibility. Captions are already a ordinarily used underline on Instagram rival, TikTok, not usually for accessibility yet also given many people now cite to have captions on when examination video content.

Facebook tests a underline in India that will share Instagram Reels on a Facebook News Feed. The pierce is an denote of how severely Facebook is holding a TikTok hazard — it’s now leveraging not usually one, yet dual of a world’s largest amicable networks to quarrel back.

TikTok in a U.K. launched a new “music hub” that highlights trending artists and tracks. The association has already been pushing song streams and sales by a amicable app, and a heart will now offer a dedicated territory to keep adult with what’s now trending.

Twitter’s conduct of consumer product, Kayvon Beykpour, shielded Apple’s App Store elect rates in new interview. The exec pronounced a elect isn’t a “highway tax,” yet reflects a cost and bid that goes into usurpation online payments, including issues with rascal and risk, and a patron use upsurge around refunds.

India’s supervision threatened to jail Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter employees if they don’t approve with information and takedown requests associated to a protests by Indian farmers over rural law changes.


Image Credits: Twitter

Twitter began a exam to make photos demeanour improved on a platform. The association is perplexing out a new proceed to arrangement images that offer sa some-more accurate preview of what a print looks like, instead of automatically gathering a picture as before. The change, in part, is also meant to residence issues around a baked-in secular disposition in Twitter’s algorithm that motionless that partial of a picture to concentration on when cropping.

Messaging and Communications

Google will couple Android phones with Chromebooks by a new Phone Hub feature, permitting Chrome OS users to respond to texts, check their battery life, capacitate a Wi-Fi hotspot and locate a unnoticed device, among other things.

Dating Apps

✨ Bumble launched “Night In,” a new underline in a U.S. and Canada that lets online daters play games together from a app. At launch, users can play trivia games yet a association says it skeleton some-more practical practice in a future. The timing of a launch is engaging — it comes a year into a pestilence that has forced people to stay home and amicable distance. But as “Night In” arrives, vaccinations are ramping adult and, likely, so will real-world, in-person dating. That Bumble still invested in practical dating practice indicates a association sees a underline as something with longer-term potential, rather than a proxy substitute for that initial splash or coffee date.

Bumble also filed a initial quarterly news given a Feb. 2021 IPO, commanding Wall St. estimates with $165.6 million in income and 2.7 million paid users (up 32.5% YoY) in a fourth quarter.

Streaming Entertainment

Amazon adds a merch store to a streaming song app. The company’s Amazon Music app is now charity in-app product sales from Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, and other artists around a Merchbar integration. (Just wait until it indeed remembers it has a whole sell website it could connect.)

YES Network debuts an app that will live tide New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, NYFC, and New York Liberty games around a TV Everywhere integration. This is a initial live streaming app from a network. Sure, we need another one.

Apple Podcasts is replacing a “subscribe” pitch with a “follow” button for gripping adult with favorite podcasts. The change, initial reported by Podnews, came about given people increasingly consider of concede as referring to a paid option. I’m certain they didn’t get that thought from…THE APP STORE.

Spotify this week updated a app with support for 36 new languages, as betrothed during final month’s “Stream On” event, including: Afrikaans, Amharic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Bulgarian, Simplified Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Estonian, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Icelandic, Kannada, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Odia, Persian, Portuguese for Portugal, Eastern Punjabi, Western Punjabi, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Zulu. The app is now permitted in 62 languages in total, and is expanding to over 80 tellurian markets.

New streaming use Paramount+ saw a app downloaded 277K+ times in a initial 5 days, reports Apptopia. The app launched likewise to how HBO Max did — it took an existent app and transitioned it to a new one. In a case, a CBS All Access app transitioned to Paramount+. This impacts a series of early downloads, as many users are usually upgraded. Thanks to a pre-launch sale, a app also saw $86.7K in IAP income on Mar 2, a tip single-day income to date.

Image Credits: Apptopia


✨ Epic Games takes a app store authorised quarrel to Australia with a new anti-competitive explain opposite Google, over a 30% commissions on in-app purchases. The association is fighting Apple and Google in many markets now, including a U.S., E.U., and U.K.

The normal distance of a U.S. App Store’s tip games has grown 76% in a past 5 years, says Sensor Tower. The normal diversion record distance in 2016 was approximately 264 megabytes opposite a tip 100 income generating games on a U.S. App Store. This has grown to 465 MB in 2020. Top games pushing a record distance expansion embody DoubleDown, Fortnite, Clash of Clans, Roblox and Homescapes.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Food Drink

Data from App Annie indicates app sessions in food and splash apps grew 105% YoY in 2020, as a pestilence led to a swell of adoption for food smoothness apps. Deliveroo in sold had a standout year in 2020, as a No. 2 “breakout” food splash app in France and No. 3 in a U.K. — a metric App Annie uses to lane expansion in sum sessions. App sessions grew from their lowest indicate of 1.81 billion on Mar 22, 2020 to 3.02 billion by a finish of Dec. 2020, a organisation said.

Digital Passes

✨ Disney is bringing a use that powers a existent MagicBands to Apple inclination with a launch of Disney MagicMobile. The service, that will launch in phases starting after this year, will concede guest to emanate a mobile pass regulating a My Disney Experience app, afterwards supplement it to their intelligent device’s digital wallet. Users can afterwards reason adult their intelligent device, including their Apple iPhone or Watch, to check into rides during a entrance points.

Image Credits: Disney

This doesn’t indispensably meant a finish for MagicBands, though. The bands still make clarity for kids yet inclination or for anyone who doesn’t wish to worry about pulling out their phone for each float (or who doesn’t possess an Apple Watch). Plus, some Disney fans like collecting MagicBands in new styles. Disney pronounced it will shortly recover a new set with favorite characters.


India’s Paytm will spin Android phones into POS terminals by introducing a label acceptance underline in a NFC-enabled Paytm Business app. Once activated, merchants will be means to routine exchange by drumming a remuneration label to their smartphone.

The new Google Pay app exited beta this week, to reinstate a comparison chronicle that will tighten down on Apr 5 in a U.S. The updated chronicle embody NFC tap-to-pay functionality and p2p payments, yet an Ars Technica examination slams a app as being reduction accessible and brimful with some-more fees, among other things.

Chinese beauty app Meitu bought $40 million value of cryptocurrency, including 15,000 units of Ether and 379.1214267 units of Bitcoin — value around $22.1 million and $17.9 million, respectively. Meitu authority Cai Wensheng has been bullish on cryptocurrency and believes in diversifying over holding usually cash.

Security Privacy

Apple contingency face a consumer lawsuit over FaceTime and iMessage remoteness in court, not by private arbitration. The case, Ohanian v Apple Inc. focuses on an iOS bug joined with T-Mobile’s proceed to recycling phone numbers that gave third-parties entrance to users’ communications, notwithstanding Apple’s selling of iMessage and FaceTime as secure features.

Apple is also now confronting a remoteness censure in Europe from startup run group, France Digitale. The censure focuses on a IDFA changes, that will compulsory third-party apps to have to ask to lane users, while Apple’s possess apps are means to lane user activity and run personalized ads by default yet a identical opt-in pop-up, giving it an astray advantage.

💰 Social networking app Wefarm, directed during eccentric farmers in Africa, raised $11 million in an prolongation of a 2019 Series A  led by Octopus Ventures. The London-based association now has 2.5 million users and has hosted over 37 million conversations around SMS.

📈 Gaming height Roblox done a batch marketplace debut on Wednesday underneath a ticker pitch RBLX. The batch sealed a day during $69.50 per share, giving a business a marketplace top of $38.26 billion. The cross-platform gaming use works opposite a operation of devices, including mobile.

💰 Chatbot startup Heyday lifted $5.1 million from existent investors Innovobot and Desjardins Capital for a complement that lets businesses respond to customers’ messages opposite apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Business Messages or even email.

💰 Songclip lifted $11 million in new appropriation to move song to some-more amicable media apps. The association is operative to popularize a brief audio shave media format, and make it permitted opposite a operation of services.

🤝 Real estate module and information organisation VTS acquired Chicago-based Rise Buildings, a makers of a skill tech mobile app used in over 130 million sq ft of bureau space.

💰 Japan’s SoftBank Group announced this week it will deposit $4.7 billion into Tokyo-based messaging app Line, owned by Naver. The investment aims to assistance rise Line into a “super app,” identical to China’s WeChat, by integrating online news and party from Yahoo Japan (which it owns) as good as financial services from SoftBanks’s mobile payments app PayPay, and more.

🤝 Mobile payments use PayPal to acquire cryptocurrency confidence startup Curv in a understanding valued during reduction than $200 million. PayPal has recently partnered with Paxos to concede U.S. users to buy, reason and sell cryptocurrencies in a app.

🤝 TikTok aspirant Triller bought livestream song foe Verzuz, combined by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. To date, a foe has hosted 43 artists including RZA, Nelly, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, DMX, and Gucci Mane. The module will continue to atmosphere on IG Live in further to now, Triller.

💰 Detail lifted $2 million in pre-seed funding led by Connect Ventures for a app that that will spin your iPhone into a software-optimized camera for live video.

💰 Krafton, a developer of PUBG Mobile, invested $22.4 million into a Indian esports organisation Nodwin Gaming, a auxiliary of gaming hulk Nazara and one of a largest esports firms in India.

💰 Eco, a startup building a personal financial app for saving and spending money, lifted $26 million led by a16z Crypto. Uber co-founder Garrett Camp came adult with a thought and now advises Eco as a house member. His startup studio, Expa, is also an investor, Fortune reported.

Runway gets YC subsidy for a use directed during streamlining mobile app releases. The app was built by a initial iOS organisation for Rent a Runway, and focuses on automating many common pain points that can stop an app release’s progress.

Image Credits: WildWorks

A new game,, has entered a marketplace to contest for Gen Z’s time and courtesy that is now spent in practical worlds like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite. The diversion was grown by WildWorks, a makers of what’s mostly kids’ initial practical universe game, Animal Jam. It also continues a animal-as-avatar metaphor, yet this time with anticipation creatures we customize yourself, and a storyline about a animal-themed existence show, dueling queens, factions, and adventures. The diversion is permitted opposite platforms including Mac, PC, iOS and Android.


Last week, “deep nostalgia” was going viral as people charcterised their long-lost kin or even closer family members regulating apps like MyHeritage or TokkingHeads. But this week, everyone’s perplexing out Wombo — an AI-powered deepfake app that can spur any face to mouth sync to songs like “Thriller” or “I Will Survive,”  as good as many meme songs, like “Never Gonna Give You Up” or “Numa Numa.” The formula are…ugh, cringe. But a courtesy sent a swell of downloads to a app, relocating it adult to (as of a time of writing) No. 30 Overall on a App Store. Since a Feb. 2020 launch, a app has been downloaded 2M+ times opposite iOS and Android.

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