Published On: Sun, Jan 24th, 2021

This Week in Apps: TikTok viral strike breaks Spotify records, coronation boosts news app installs, decider manners opposite Parler

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 attention 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, though now spends 4 hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t usually a approach to pass idle hours — they’re also a vast business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x aloft than those though 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 looking into how President Biden’s coronation impacted news apps, a latest in a Parler lawsuit, and how TikTok’s app continues to figure culture, among other things.

Judge says Amazon doesn’t have to horde Parler on AWS

logos for AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Parler

Logos for AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Parler. Image Credits: TechCrunch

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle this week ruled that Amazon won’t be compulsory to revive entrance to web services to Parler. As we might recall, Parler sued Amazon for booting it from AWS’ infrastructure, effectively forcing it offline. Like Apple and Google before it, Amazon had motionless that a calls for assault that were being widespread on Parler disregarded a terms of service. It also pronounced that Parler showed an “unwillingness and inability” to mislay dangerous posts that called for a rape, woe and assassination of politicians, tech executives and many others, a AP reported.

Judge denies Parler’s bid to make Amazon revive service

Amazon’s preference shouldn’t have been a warn for Parler. Amazon had reported 98 examples of Parler posts that incited assault over a past several weeks before a decision. It told Parler these were transparent violations of a terms of service.

Parler’s lawsuit opposite Amazon, however, went on to explain crack of agreement and even done antitrust allegations.

The decider shot down Parler’s claims that Amazon and Twitter were colluding over a preference to flog a app off AWS. Parler’s claims over crack of agreement were denied, too, as a agreement had never pronounced Amazon had to give Parler 30 days to repair things. (Not to discuss a fact that Parler breached a agreement on a side, too.) It also pronounced Parler had depressed brief in demonstrating a need for an claim to revive entrance to Amazon’s web services.

The statute usually blocks Parler from forcing Amazon to again horde it as a lawsuit proceeds, though is not a final statute in a altogether case, that is continuing.

TikTok drives another cocktail strain to No. 1 on Billboard charts, breaks Spotify’s record

@livbedumb♬ drivers permit – Olivia Rodrigo

We already knew TikTok was personification a vast purpose in conversion strain charts and listening behavior. For example, Billboard final year remarkable how TikTok gathering hits from Sony artists like Doja Cat (“Say So”) and 24kGoldn (“Mood”), and helped Sony learn new talent. Columbia also sealed viral TikTok artists like Lil Nas X, Powfu, StaySolidRocky, Jawsh 685, Arizona Zervas and 24kGoldn. Meanwhile, Nielsen has pronounced that no other app had helped mangle some-more songs in 2020 than TikTok.

This month, we’ve witnessed nonetheless another instance of this phenomenon. Olivia Rodrigo, a 17-year-old star of Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: a Series” expelled her latest song, “Drivers License” on Jan 8. The cocktail ballad and dissection anthem is believed to be referencing a actress’ attribute with co-star Joshua Bassett, that gave a strain even some-more interest to fans.

Upon a recover a strain was heavily streamed by TikTok users, that helped make it an overnight prodigy of sorts. According to a news by The WSJ, Billboard counted 76.1 million streams and 38,000 downloads in a U.S. during a week of a release. It also done a ancestral entrance during No. 1 on a Hot 100, apropos a initial pound strike of 2021.

On Jan 11, “Drivers License” pennyless Spotify’s record for many streams per day (for a non-holiday song) with 15.17 million tellurian streams. On TikTok, meanwhile, a series of videos featuring a strain and a views they perceived doubled each day, The WSJ said.

Charli D’Amelio’s dance to it on a app has now generated 5 million “Likes” opposite scarcely 33 million views, as of a time of writing.

@charlidamelio♬ drivers permit – Olivia Rodrigo

Of course, other TikTok hits have damaged out in a past, too — even reaching No. 1 like “Blinding Lights” (The Weeknd) and “Mood” (24kGoldn). But a success of “Drivers License” might be in partial due to a approach it focuses on a theme that’s some-more applicable to TikTok’s young, teenage user base. It talks about initial loves and being dumped for a other girl. And a pretension and opening impute to a time many adults have forgotten: a useful day when we get your driver’s license. It’s rarely relatable to a TikTok throng who entirely embraced it and done it a hit.

Platforms: Apple

  • Apple stops signing iOS 12.5, creation iOS 12.5.1 a usually versions of iOS permitted to comparison devices.
  • A news claims Apple’s iOS 15 refurbish will cut support for inclination with an A9 chip, like a iPhone 6, iPhone 6s Plus and a strange iPhone SE.
  • New research estimates Apple’s arriving iOS remoteness changes will means a roughly 7% income strike for Facebook in Q2. The income strike will continue in following buliding and will be “material.”

Platforms: Google

  • Google adds “trending” icons to a Play Store. New arrow icons seemed in a Top Charts tab, that prove possibly an app’s downloads are trending adult or down, in terms of popularity. This could yield an early vigilance about those that might still be rising in a charts or commencement to tumble out of favor, notwithstanding their stream high position.
  • Google appears to be operative on a Restricted Networking mode for Android 12. The mode, detected by XDA Developers digging in a Android Open Source Project, would invalidate network entrance for all third-party apps.


  • Goama (or Go Games) introduced a approach for developers to confederate amicable games into their apps, that was showcased during CES. The association focuses on Asia and Latin America and has some-more than 15 partners, including GCash and Rappi, for digital payments and communications.

Goama lets developers confederate a amicable gaming height into their apps

  • Fortnite builder Epic Games is removing into movies. The charcterised underline film Gilgamesh will use Epic’s Unreal Engine record to tell a story of a king-turned-deity. The film is not an in-house project, though rather is financed by Epic’s $100M MegaGrants fund.

Augmented Reality

  • Patents around Apple’s AR and VR efforts news how a complement could be identified in a approach that’s identical to FaceID, afterwards possibly available or denied a ability to change their entrance in a game.
  • Pinterest launches AR try-on for eyeshadow in a mobile app regulating Lens record and ModiFace data. The app already offering AR try-on for lipsticks.

Pinterest launches an AR-powered try-on knowledge for eyeshadow


  • The CW app became a No. 1 app on a App Store this week, commanding TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, interjection to CW’s deteriorate premieres of Batwoman, All American, Riverdale and Nancy Drew.
  • Users of podcasting app Anchor, owned by Spotify, contend a app isn’t bringing them any sponsorship opportunities, as promised, over those from Spotify and Anchor itself.
  • YouTube launches hashtag alighting pages on a web and in a mobile app. The pages are permitted when we click hashtags on YouTube, not around search, and weirdly arrange a “best” videos by some complicated algorithm.

YouTube launches hashtag alighting pages to all users

  • Apple’s Podcasts app adds a new editorial feature, Apple Podcasts Spotlight, meant to boost podcast listening by showcasing a best podcasts as comparison by Apple editors.


  • WeChat facilitated 1.6 trillion yuan (close to $250 billion) in annual transactions by a “mini programs” in 2020. The figure is some-more than double that of 2019.

WeChat advances e-commerce goals with $250B in transactions


  • Douyin, a Chinese chronicle of TikTok, launched an e-wallet, Douyin Pay. The wallet will addition a existent remuneration options, Alipay and WeChat Pay, and will assistance to support a Douyin app’s flourishing e-commerce business.
  • Neobank Monzo owner Tom Blomfield left a startup, observant he struggled during a pandemic. “I consider [for] a lot of people in a world…going by a pandemic, going by lockdown and a siege concerned in that has an impact on people’s mental health,” he told TechCrunch.

Monzo owner Tom Blomfield is vacating a challenger bank and says he’s ‘struggled’ during a pandemic

  • New estimates prove about 50% of a iPhone user bottom (or 507 million users) now use Apple Pay. 
  • Samsung’s newest phones dump support for MST, that emulates a mag ribbon during terminals that don’t support NFC.


  • Indian messaging app, StickerChat, owned by Hike, is shutting down. Founder Kavin Bharti Mittal pronounced India will never have a homegrown follower unless it bars Western companies from a market. Hike pivoted this month to practical amicable apps, Vibe and Rush, that it believes have some-more potential.
  • Instagram conduct Adam Mosseri, in a Verge podcast, pronounced he’s not happy with Reels so far, and how he feels many people substantially don’t know a disproportion between Instagram video and IGTV. He says a amicable network needs to facilitate and bond ideas.
  • Facebook and Instagram urge their accessibility features. The apps’ AI-generated picture captions now offer distant some-more sum about who or what is in a photos, interjection to improvements in picture approval systems.
  • TikTok launches a QA underline that lets creators respond to fan questions regulating calm or videos. The feature, rolled out to name creators with some-more than 10,000 followers, creates it easier to see all a questions in one place.

TikTok’s new QA underline lets creators respond to fan questions regulating calm or video

Health Fitness

  • Health and aptness app spending jumped 70% final year in Europe to record $544 million, a Sensor Tower news says. The year-over-year boost is distant incomparable than 2019, when expansion was usually 37.2%. COVID-19 played a vast purpose in this change as people incited to aptness apps instead of gyms to stay in shape.

Government Policy

  • Biden’s coronation increased installs of U.S. news apps adult to 170%, Sensor Tower reported. CNN was a biggest mover, climbing 530 positions to strech No. 41 on a App Store, and adult 170% in terms of downloads. News Break was a second highest, climbing 13 positions to No. 65. Right-wing opening Newsmax climbed 43 spots to strech No. 108. In 2020, a tip news apps were: News Break (23.7 million installs); SmartNews (9 million); CNN (5 million); and Fox News (4 million). This month, however, News Break saw 1.2 million installs, followed by Newsmax with about 863,000 installs, a news said.
  • Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) sent a breeze preference to associate EU Data Protection Authorities over a WhatsApp-Facebook information pity policy. This means a preference on a matter is entrance closer to a fortitude in terms of what standards of clarity is compulsory by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp-Facebook data-sharing clarity underneath examination by EU DPAs after Ireland sends breeze decision

  • German app developer Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents filed a censure with a EU, U.S. DOJ and other antitrust watchdogs around a universe over Apple and Google’s rejecting of his COVID-related mobile game. Both stores had policies to usually approve central COVID-19 apps from health authorities. Mueller renamed a diversion Viral Days and private references to a novel coronavirus to get a app approved. However, he still feels a stores’ manners are holding behind innovation.


  • Basecamp’s Hey, that famously fought behind opposite Apple’s App Store manners over IAP final year, has launched a business-focused platform, Hey for Work, approaching to be open in Q1. The app has some-more App Store ratings than opposition Superhuman, a news found. Currently, Hey has a 4.7-star rating opposite 3.3K reviews; Superhuman has 3.9 rating opposite usually 274 reviews.


  • Baby boomers are increasingly regulating apps. Baby boomers/Gen Xers in a U.S. spent 30% some-more time year-over-year in their many used apps, App Annie reports. That’s a incomparable boost than possibly Millennials or Gen Z, during 18% and 16%, respectively.
  • Curtsy, a wardrobe resale app for Gen Z women, lifted an $11 million Series A led by Index Ventures. The app tackles some of a problems with online resale by promulgation shipping reserve and labels to sellers, and by creation a marketplace permitted to new and infrequent sellers.
  • Storytelling height Wattpad acquired by South Korea’s Naver for $600 million. The reading apps whose stories have incited into book and Netflix hits will be incorporated into Naver’s edition height Webtoon.

Wattpad, a storytelling platform, is offered to South Korea’s Naver for $600 million

  • On-demand smoothness app Glovo partnered with Swiss-based genuine estate firm, Stoneweg, that is investing €100 million in building and refurbishing genuine estate in pivotal markets to build out Glovo’s network of “dark stores.”
  • Pocket Casts app is adult for sale. The podcast app was acquired scarcely 3 years ago by a open radio consortium of tip podcast producers (NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life). The owners have now concluded to sell a app, that posted a net detriment in 2020. (NPR’s share of a detriment was over $800,000.)
  • Travel app lifted $50 million in a turn led by Alameda Research. The appropriation will go toward a launch of a multi-currency wallet. Cryptocurrency lender Genesis Capital and institutional cryptocurrency organisation CMS Holdings also participated in a round, Coindesk reported.
  • Bangalore-based hyperlocal smoothness app Dunzo lifted $40 million in a turn that enclosed investment from Google, Lightbox, Evolvence, Hana Financial Investment, LGT Lightstone Aspada and Alteria.
  • London-based food smoothness app Deliveroo lifted $180 million in new appropriation from existent investors, led by Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management, valuing a business during some-more than $7 billion.
  • Dating Group acquired Swiss startup Once, a dating app that sends one compare per day, for $18 million.

‘Slow dating’ app Once is acquired by Dating Group for $18M as it seeks to enhance a portfolio


Image Credits: Bodyguard

A French calm mediation app called Bodyguard, minute here by TechCrunch, has brought a use to a English-speaking market. The app allows we to select a turn of calm mediation we wish to see on tip amicable networks, like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch. You can select to censor poisonous calm opposite a operation of categories, like insults, physique shaming, dignified harassment, passionate harassment, injustice and homophobia and prove possibly a calm is a low or high priority to block.

Bodyguard is a mobile app that hides poisonous calm on amicable platforms


Image Credits: Beeper

Pebble’s owner and stream YC Partner Eric Migicovsky has launched a new app, Beeper, that aims to centralize in one interface 15 opposite discuss apps, including iMessage. The app relies on an open-source federated, encrypted messaging custom called Matrix that uses “bridges” to bond to a several networks to pierce a messages. However, iMessage support is some-more wonky, as a association indeed ships we an aged iPhone to make a tie to a network. But this complement allows we to entrance Beeper on non-Apple devices, a association says. The app is solemnly onboarding new users due to initial demand. The app works opposite MacOS, Windows, Linux‍, iOS and Android and charges $10/mo for a service.

Pebble owner launches Beeper, a concept discuss app that works with iMessage and others


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