When someone buys an iPhone — for the first time or a repeat purchase — and heads to the App Store, they might see a section called “Must-have apps”. Users will find a list — curated by Apple — that includes several household names like YouTube, Gmail, Amazon, and Snapchat among others. However, conspicuously absent are three of the most widely-used apps: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, as per a report by PhoneArena.
The report doesn’t specify but the list of apps shown does indicate that is targeted at US users. Having said that, the US still remains a big market for Facebook, Instagram, and even WhatsApp. Then why Apple has ‘excluded’ them from its must-have list of apps?
For starters, Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook and owner of Instagram and WhatsApp) aren’t the best of friends. Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature hasn’t gone down well at all with Facebook. ATT stops apps from tracking users’ activities, which puts in a huge dent in advertising revenues for the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
Apple does give users the choice to decide whether they want the app to track them or not. Facebook, however, has been deeply impacted by the ATT move from Apple. During its quarterly earnings call earlier this year, Facebook mentioned that Apple’s ATT feature had cost the company close to a $10 billion loss of revenue.
On Apple’s part, it has maintained that the idea behind ATT is to give users more choice. Apple hasn’t given any reason why the Meta family of apps isn’t a part of the must-have list. It’s also interesting that Netflix and Spotify too aren’t part of the list. Coincidentally, both these companies have also been vocal in their criticism of Apple about certain App Store policies that Apple has. It’s probably an ‘algorithmic’ choice but it does seem strange that some of the most popular apps aren’t ‘must-have’ as per the Apple App Store.