Apple releases iOS 16.1 beta … without SKAN 4

By John Koetsier September 14, 2022

Apple released iOS 16.1 beta today but did not release SKAN 4.

As you’ll likely remember, Apple pre-announced SKAdNetwork version 4 at WWDC in June, promising that the actual software would be released “some time this year.” It’s now mid-September, so there’s still plenty of time for Apple to get that software out of the door, but there was some speculation it might come with iOS 16.

That might still happen, but if so, it will have to come later.

SKAN 4 will change mobile attribution on iOS significantly, with some of the major changes being more campaigns, more data for marketers if crowd anonymity requirements are satisfied, and more postbacks which will enable a better understanding of ROAS, LTV, and cohorts. But with the good comes some challenges, as there will be more complexity around conversion models, multiple measurement periods for the postbacks, and when you’ll get full data versus limited data.

What is in iOS 16

The new iOS 16.1 beta released today has new features in CoreGraphics, Emoji, HealthKit, Home, Mail, Maps, and Messages, among other things, but nothing for SKAN 4. The only notable SKAN mention is a known issue with 16.1 beta: delayed data.

“Postbacks might have an expectedly long time delay,” the documentation says, which might strike some who are struggling with SKAN as darkly humorous.

Good time to prep for SKAN 4

This is a good reminder, however, to prepare for SKAN 4. Generally, the ecosystem reacted slowly to SKAdNetwork in general, causing significant challenges for many. Knowing as much as you can about SKAN 4 will help you prepare for the transition later this year, hopefully minimizing any negative impact due to it’s new complexity.

Here are a number of resources to check as you prepare:

The reality is, however, that until Apple actually releases full documentation and code, we won’t know for sure how each player in the ecosystem will need to change their behavior, their data, and the internal BI systems.

One thing of note for mobile marketers and developers in iOS 15 is StoreKit, which comes with new capabilities for managing subscriptions, localizing prices, cryptographic verification of payments, offer redemptions, and App Store messaging in your app.

We’re still looking …

Stay tuned to Singular’s blog for more updates on SKAN 4 as Apple releases code and documentation.

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