Published On: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021

This Week in Apps: WWDC Prep, F8 recap, TikTok goes after biometric data

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 continues to grow, 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 was a bustling one. Facebook hold a developer discussion F8 that delivered a lot of app-related news opposite a platform. Now, WWDC is usually days away. We also pennyless a few vast app stories this week, including one about TikTok’s remoteness process and a newly sum accede to collect biometric information on U.S. users, including “faceprints and voiceprints.” Twitter sum a subscription service, and Tinder tested organisation video chat.

And in a downloads section, we have a yield for readers: a time-sensitive and disdainful entice formula to get into one of a hottest new apps for sneakerheads: Sole Retriever. 

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Image Credits: Apple

WWDC’s vast keynote is kicking off subsequent week on Jun 7 during 1 PM ET. The livestream page is here. While we competence see new MacBook Pros, what module developers will caring about are a stirring sum about Apple’s latest OS releases and other new technologies. As to what they competence include? Bloomberg reported that iOS 15 will deliver a approach for users to set opposite presentation preferences and involuntary replies, shaped on their stream standing (driving, working, sleeping, etc.) and an updated Lock Screen where this menu of choices would be accessible. iMessage competence be upgraded to be some-more social, to improved contest with Messenger and WhatsApp. Meanwhile, iPadOS could be removing a App Library and an upgraded Home Screen with support for widgets. (And we can fill a shade with usually widgets, if we choose.) Or who knows! Until it’s official, it’s all a maybe!

But one potentially engaging gossip to watch for would be a new remoteness underline that would uncover users that apps were collecting information about them. This builds on Apple’s investments in App Tracking Transparency and could make it some-more formidable for untrustworthy SDKs to stay in business.

There will expected be some updates entrance to other Apple’s possess apps, Siri, watchOS and more. It’s going to be a packaged week — stay tuned!

Ahead of WWDC, Apple also updated a news (conducted on a seductiveness around a Analysis Group) on App Store commerce. The association says a App Store facilitated $643 billion in billings and sales in 2020, adult 24% from a $519 billion seen a year prior. It also remarkable that about 90% of a billings and sales facilitated by a App Store indeed took place outward a walls, definition Apple took no elect on those purchases. This is adult from a 85% figure reported final year. The full news delves into other trends associated to a pandemic’s impact, tiny and vast businesses, and more. Apple primarily consecrated a news to denote how tiny business on a App Store is indeed theme to App Store fees, though now it’s updated a news a year later. It’s engaging how many bargain Apple has about a App Store, generally when Tim Cook claimed to know so tiny about several essential figures.

Image Credits: Apple

Apple also this week denounced a 2021 Apple Design finalists. The awards respect apps and games that offer a mixed of innovation, skill and technical feat — a latter that mostly means origination good use of Apple technologies. The finalists camber 6 categories: Inclusivity, Delight and Fun, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Innovation.

Among a impending winners are apps including snarky continue app Carrot Weather as good as a singular (Not Boring) Weather, short-form news use Brief, mental wellness app and Google Play endowment leader Loona, Editor’s Choice Genshin Impact, Snowman’s new kids app Pok Pok Playroom and summer fun song app Poolside FM, and many others.

Platforms: Google

Google this week non-stop submissions for dual of a annual developer programs: a Indie Games Accelerator and a Indie Games Festival. The programs are designed to assistance tiny games studios grow on Google Play. This year, a programs will embody some-more authorised markets and will be entirely digital experiences.

Google will shorten third-party apps from customizing a inner Android Sharesheet in Android 12. Currently, a UI of a Sharesheet can differ from app to app, though XDA Developers reports it will turn some-more iOS-like, by charity a unchanging menu opposite apps.

Google is holding a evidence from Apple by permitting users to opt out of personalization regulating a promotion ID in a Android Settings. Once users opt out, a promotion ID is disabled. The ID is a unique, user-resettable identifier supposing by Google Play services. As partial of a entrance Google Play services refurbish in late 2021, a promotion identifier will be private when a user opts out of tracking, and any try to entrance a identifier will usually lapse a fibre of zeros. Google says ad and analytics use partners will accept notifications about a user’s preferences to assistance them with compliance. The change will hurl out in late 2021 and will impact apps regulating on Android 12 inclination initially, with an enlargement to inclination that support Google Play in early 2022.

Platforms: Huawei (!!)

Image Credits: Wang Chenglu, boss of Huawei Consumer Business Group’s module department

Two years after Huawei was put on a list of Chinese companies criminialized from doing business with U.S. organizations, it launched a exclusive handling system, HarmonyOS, for smartphones. The OS is designed to energy phones, tablets and intelligent devices. Smartphone builder Meizu has already hinted it competence adopt a new OS.

Augmented Reality

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook’s flagship AR origination software, Spark AR, has already been used by some-more than 600,000 creators from over 190 countries to tell over 2 million AR effects. At Facebook’s F8 eventuality this week, a association announced Multipeer API for video calls on Messenger, Instagram and Portal. The API will concede developers to emanate “shared AR” effects that request to all a call participants — like a celebration shawl that shows adult on everyone’s heads for a birthday call, for instance.


Convenience store-style on-demand smoothness startup JOKR launched in New York City to yield 15-minute or reduction smoothness of equipment we competence differently find in tiny stores and inner delis. Except instead of traffic with stores, JOKR has a possess strategically placed micro-hubs. The startup was founded by Ralf Wenzel, who formerly founded Foodpanda, that after joined with Delivery Hero.

Image Credits: Walmart

Walmart is handing out over 740,000 new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphones (retail $499) to a employees, observant that “constant communication” is essential to a business. The phones will run Walmart’s exclusive Me@Walmart app, where employees time in, adjust schedules, use a voice partner “Ask Sam,” and promulgate with others around push-to-talk. Employees will be authorised to use a phone for personal use after work hours, and Walmart will not have entrance to their personal data, a tradesman says.


Image Credits: Kraken

Coinbase opposition Kraken launched a mobile app in a U.S. that allows users to buy and sell some-more than 50 crypto tokens from their mobile phone. Kraken is a world’s fourth-largest digital banking exchange, in terms of trade volume.

Venmo now lets users censor their crony list for additional privacy. The change to a app came after BuzzFeed News found President Biden’s Venmo criticism regulating open crony lists. Digital rights groups had called a pattern a “security nightmare.”

Japan-based Line Corp. is rising a digital banking height in Indonesia, that means it will now charity banking services in 3 of a biggest abroad markets: Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Coinbase Card, that allows users to spend their crypto while on a go, now works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. The label will offer adult to 4% in crypto rewards for bland purchases.

Chime has determined itself as a No. 1 neobank in a U.S., according to eMarketer. The banking app will have 13.1 million U.S. accounts this year, adult 30.7% from 2020. Current will have 4 million, double from a 2.1 million it had final year. Aspiration is in third place, with 3 million, followed by Varo, during 2.7 million.


✨ Scoop: Tinder tested a organisation video discuss underline forward of primogenitor association Match’s pierce into amicable find with a $1.73 billion merger of Seoul-based Hyperconnect. The underline was usually tested quickly in New Zealand and afterwards close down, though competence have served as a approach to advantage profitable information about younger users’ seductiveness in amicable find apps and services as Match moves into that marketplace that it says is double a distance of a dating market.

Image Credits: Twitter

Twitter Blue strictly launched. Will we compensate for improved Twitter? Twitter’s new reward subscription brings collection to classify your bookmarks, examination threads in a clutter-free format and take advantage of an “Undo Tweet” underline — that is a closest thing Twitter will have to a long-requested “Edit” button. It also offers a few other perks, like tradition app icons, colorful themes and subscription patron support. Unfortunately, a use is usually live in Canada and Australia for a time being.

Twitter redesigned a mobile app to put a Clubhouse rival, Twitter Spaces, in a center of a navigation bar. Initially, usually around 500 people from a strange Spaces beta exam will initial see a new Spaces find tab, though it will enhance to some-more people over time. The add-on will assistance people keep lane of Spaces they wish to listen to and conduct notifications, among other things.

Twitter began rolling out Birdwatch fact checks inside tweets. Birdwatch is Twitter’s commander module that aims to crowdsource fact-checking of tweets, as an choice to relying on fact-checkers. The program’s idea will be to attach some-more info to misinformation online in genuine time.

TikTok reamined a tip non-game app worldwide in May 2021 by downloads. According to Sensor Tower, TikTok was No. 1 on both a App Store and Google Play with 80 million sum installs. Brazil accounted for 16% of those, and China 12%.

Facebook during a developer discussion F8 also introduced Facebook Login Connect with Messenger. For businesses that have already integrated with Facebook Login, this concede users to record in to their app regulating their Facebook certification and opt in to discuss with businesses over Messenger, all in a Facebook Login flow. The apparatus is in sealed beta.

Facebook also updated a Business Suite with a new underline that will concede developers to build “business apps,” that are collection done by third-party developers that work alongside a Business Suite. These “apps” could do things like move in calm from a catalog to their Facebook page or Instagram account. The height already has 30 developers operative on it and integrates with e-commerce platforms, like BigCommerce.

Image Credits: Facebook


WhatsApp topsy-turvy march and now says it won’t revoke a app’s functionality if users don’t determine to a new remoteness policy. The rollout had led to a lot of recoil as it suggested a messaging app would start pity some-more info with Facebook.

As partial of a F8-related announcements, WhatsApp pronounced it would refurbish a Business API to make it quicker for business to get started with a service. WhatsApp will make it faster to set adult a business criticism (5 mins instead of weeks), and will concede businesses to respond faster to inbound messages, as good as send messages to users who opted in. The business apparatus for patron caring will concede adult to 10 pre-written messages, among other updates.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told renouned news outlet/leaker WaBetaInfo that WhatsApp will supplement multi-device support for joining adult to 4 inclination to one account. He also pronounced WhatsApp will deliver a “view once” disintegrating underline for photos and videos, and is operative on an iPad app. The process of delivering this news is value observant — WaBetaInfo is not a normal news outlet, though some-more of an eccentric news portal of sorts. Zuckerberg has been holding Facebook news to non-traditional (and mostly distant friendlier) channels as of late, including popping adult in Clubhouse bedrooms and other eccentric outlets. Facebook clearly feels mainstream press has incited on it when they…[checks notes]…held Facebook accountable for a actions.

Facebook also announced a ubiquitous accessibility of a Messenger API for Instagram. First announced final tumble and rolling out in phases, a API offers a some-more fit approach for incomparable brands to hoop a high volume of messages by permitting them to confederate Instagram messaging into a collection and applications they’re already regulating in-house to conduct their Facebook conversations.

Community amicable network Nextdoor launched a new underline called Free Finds that helps a users unpack their neglected things on others in their neighborhood. Notably, a underline doesn’t need we to be a Nextdoor member to entrance a listings, though eventually, those users competence convert.

Streaming Entertainment

Image Credits: Spotify

Spotify rolled out a arrange of mid-year chronicle of Wrapped with a launch of a new personalized experience, Only You. The underline offers insights about your song story in a sharable format, like your low-pitched cooking celebration or audio birth chart, and other fun finds. Why now? Perhaps Spotify is streamer off Apple Music news to come with a underline that reminds users it does personalization best?

Spotify also sum Blend, a approach to emanate a playlist with any other Spotify user. The association offers a identical underline for users on a Family and Duo plans, though this new apparatus doesn’t need users to be in a same household.

Spotify rolls out new personalized practice and playlists, including a mid-year examination and a blended brew with a friend

Apple attempted to acquire livestreaming song height Verzuz, that after sole to video amicable network Triller, Bloomberg reported. Apple didn’t rivet in a behest fight and charity a reduce cost than what Triller paid, it said.

The Apple TV app launched on Android devices. Like Apple Music, Apple TV is a use that needs to work opposite platforms in sequence to contest with rivals. The Android app’s attainment followed a Apple TV app’s entrance on Nvidia’s Shield TV, that means it’s now permitted opposite all vital Android TV-based devices.

Health Fitness

Amazon updated a Halo health app with a new underline called Movement Health, that will use mechanism prophesy and appurtenance training to asses users’ posture, mobility and fortitude and afterwards advise exercises to urge them.

Peloton slashed a pricing for a aptness app, routinely $12.99/mo, for students, teachers, medical workers and military. Students can compensate $6.99/mo while a others can compensate $9.99/mo. Military members and their families can close in that rate for life. The association is confronting a PR predicament after recalling treadmills that harmed 70 and led to one tot death.


Image Credits: App Annie

A TikTok trend where users antic people by spamming them on calm has driven a app that creates that possible, Paste Keyboard, to a tip of a App Store. Mashable remarkable a app’s rise, though couldn’t figure out why. Nor could App Annie. It’s kids, y’all. Honestly, a App Store needs a new “viral” draft during this point.

AirTag support is entrance to Android. Apple announced some changes to AirTag, including a duration of time they’ll make a sound when moved. The time will change from 3 times per day to a pointless time between 8-24 hours. Apple believes a cutting of a window will offer as a improved halt opposite bad actors regulating AirTag to lane someone.  Alongside this announcement, Apple pronounced it will after this year launch an Android concentration that will concede users to detect AirTag or other Find My network-enabled accessories that are distant from a owners and competence be roving with a user.

Firefox revamped a Mac and iOS app this week with a what it claims is a some-more distraction-free design, featuring streamlined toolbar and menus, stretched remoteness protections, a new demeanour for tabs, updated notifications and alerts, easier muting, and more.


Ring sum “Request for Assistance posts” on a Neighbors app, claiming this will concede open reserve agencies (e.g. police) to ask communities for assistance in investigations by open posts. The Request for Assistance posts can usually be released from accurate open reserve organisation profiles, Ring says. Police have been means to acquire Ring videos by private emails in a past, as a association has many military partnerships opposite a U.S. that let them acquire footage though a warrant.


Toyota sum a information remoteness portal to a apps. The underline is permitted in a Account Settings of a Toyota and Lexus apps and works with vehicles charity connected services that were built in a 2013 indication year or later. It also allows consumers who possess mixed Toyota or Lexus vehicles to customize remoteness and data-sharing settings for each.

Gokada is rising a ride-hailing use in dual some-more Nigerian cities as partial of a super app plans. The association is merging a ride-hailing use with food smoothness height GShop. In a past year, Gokada crossed $100 million in annualized transaction value, and helped onboard 30,000 merchants.


Image Credits: Apptopia

The tip reading and essay apps grew their IAP income 50% YoY in May 2021, Apptopia reported. This organisation includes apps for essay novels or comic books, or reading a works from others, like Webtoon, Wattpad, Dreame, GoodNovel, Webnovel, Tapas and Radish. As a grouping, these apps have also grown IAP income 15% over a past 6 months. Since Jan 2020, Webtoon and Dreame sum accounted for 56.3% of a grouping’s sum IAP revenue.

Government Policy

Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, LinkedIn and startups ShareChat and Koo have now possibly entirely or partially complied with India’s IT manners that need them to designate and share strike sum of member tasked with compliance, nodal indicate of anxiety and protest redressals to residence on-ground concerns. Twitter, whose offices were raided by military in Delhi, has not nonetheless complied.

EU will examination TikTok’s Terms of Service following child reserve complaints. Areas of regard embody dark marketing, assertive promotion techniques targeted during children and contractual terms in a company’s policies that could be dubious or treacherous for consumers.

Security Privacy

The TikTok trademark is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max

The TikTok trademark is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max

✨ Scoop: TikTok usually gave itself accede to collect biometric information on U.S. users, including “faceprints and voiceprints.” A change to TikTok’s U.S. remoteness process on Wednesday introduced a new territory that says a amicable video app “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information” from a users’ content, including things like “faceprints and voiceprints.” Reached for comment, TikTok could not endorse what product developments necessitated a further of biometric information to a list of disclosures about a information it automatically collects from users, though pronounced it would ask for agree in a box such information collection practices began.

The biometric information collection sum were introduced in a newly sum section, “Image and Audio Information,” found underneath a streamer of “Information we collect automatically” in a policy.

TikTok usually gave itself accede to collect biometric information on US users, including ‘faceprints and voiceprints’


Alibaba’s UC Browser app has been found to be harvesting a private web activity of users opposite Android or iOS when incognito mode is incited on. The browser is a fourth largest in a world, with 500 million Android downloads alone. Before being criminialized in India over confidence concerns associated to Chinese apps, it was also one of a many renouned in India, as well.

💰 Miami-based NUE Life Health lifted $3.3 million for a telemedicine height and app in a U.S., where it combines mental wellness solutions that occupy psychedelic-assisted therapies with a graph database-driven app. The app was corroborated by investors who recently left SV for Miami, including Jack Abraham, Shervin Pishevar, Martin Varsavsky, Jon Oringer, James Bailey and Christina Getty.

🤝 Etsy acquired secondhand e-commerce startup Depop for some-more than $1.6 billion. Depop, that caters to a Gen Z crowd, saw 2020 sum sell sales and income of approximately $650 million and $70 million, respectively.

💰 Social network height Venn lifted $60 million in Series B appropriation led by Group 11. The startup provides record that allows building owners and other genuine estate partners and communities to yield amicable networking services to their tenants, with collection for organizing buy/sell groups, organizing village activities, joining with neighbors and more.

💰 Digital health government association Hello Heart lifted $45 million Series C led by IVP. The company’s app is marketed by employers as partial of their advantage programs and helps patients conduct heart health and blood pressure, drugs and more.

💰 Personal financial app Truebill lifted $17 million in Series C appropriation led by Accel, valuing a business during $500 million. The app helps consumers get improved control over their finances by assisting them cancel subscriptions, negotiate bills, perspective credit reports, budget, and entrance spending insights, among other things.

💰 Newly launched batch trade app Lightyear disclosed it lifted $1.5 million pre-seed funding in a turn co-led by a new unnamed account shaped by Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport co-founder Sten Tamkivi. The app was a fund’s initial investment.

💰 Istanbul-based grocery smoothness app Getir lifted $550 million in new funding, tripling a gratefulness to $7.5 billion. New investors embody DisruptAD and Mubadala Funding Firm (both being arms of Abu Dhabi emperor resources funds) as good as Silicon Valley-based Silver Lake.

Sole Retriever

Image Credits: Sole Retriever

Sole Retriever is a newly launched app that aims to be a sneakerhead’s dream.

The app offers a one-stop emporium for all things sneaker — including sneaker news, sneaker releases, sneaker raffles, a calendar of arriving drops and more. The association says a idea is to democratize entrance to sneaker drops by origination this info some-more permitted and accessible for consumers. Before a mobile launch, Sole Retriever had charity a use around a web only. Now it’s live on both iOS and Android.

Unique to a mobile knowledge is a ability to customize your alerts so we usually hear about a raffles we wish to know about — like those in a U.S., or usually those that are in-store or online, for example. It also creates entering raffles easier with autofill features. Custom profiles that let we save a info for others who have concluded to let we enter their name and residence to boost your chances of winning. And a app can save your logins for opposite retailers to make selling easier.

Sole Retriever is now usually permitted as a waitlist, but TechCrunch readers can bypass a waitlist! Here’s how! 

After downloading a app and logging in, when we strech a waitlist screen, we can redeem a special formula — “TWIA” (in all caps!), that lets we bypass a whole waitlist and advantage present entrance to start your seven-day giveaway hearing for a app. The formula is usually current for 24 hours after this post goes live so strike it quickly!

Apple Developer app

Image Credits: Apple

The Apple Developer app is not new. But it is a must-have download for a week ahead, as it will yield mobile developers with entrance to all indispensable to navigate WWDC 21’s all-digital event. The app was updated this week with sum about a agenda, sessions, pavilions, labs, coding and pattern challenges, and more. Developers can also pointer adult for labs inside a app and get notifications about their appointments. There are also new WWDC 21 iMessage stickers for some sum fun.

  • Developer Relations. Marco Arment has some oppressive difference for Apple forward of WWDC. He accuses a iPhone builder of undervaluing what apps meant for iOS over their IAP revenue. And he points out that developers themselves move in a good series of business by their possess selling efforts, not since of their App Store listing.
  • Pew Research: Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021. Pew takes a demeanour during U.S. trends, including smartphone tenure adoption. Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults now possess a smartphone, that is some-more than have broadband (77%) during home.
  • Donny Wals: The iOS Developer’s Guide to WWDC 2021. Wals reminds developers to not get held adult in a WWDC chaos, gait themselves and concentration on what matters to their business. He also creates suggestions about what to not disremember during WWDC week.

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