it 17 Oct 2011 08:42 am

Does Google Analytics have a problem with iOS5?

For one of the sites I am working with I keep an eye on the traffic coming to it from mobile devices. Every week I put in the numbers for total number of mobile visits and also per mobile OS for each day, and today when I did the numbers for last week it did look a bit strange. So here’s what I found.

To begin, let me tell you how I do this.
I get the total mobile visits numbers by going to Visitors > Mobile > Overview
I get the iOS numbers from Visitors > Mobile > Devices > Mobile Device Branding looking at the Apple row
I get the Android numbers from Visitors > Mobile > Devices > Operating system
I get the “Other” numbers as total – iOS – Android

So what did I find in this week’s report?
I found that, starting wednesday October 12, the iOS numbers started to go down. I immediately connected this to the iOS 5 release which was on that day, and when I saw that the “other” column was going up a lot I started to suspect that Google Analytics didn’t recognize iOS 5 devices as Apple devices.

And when I looked in the Operating Systems report, and added the iPhone, iPad and iPod numbers together I found that those before the 12th were almost the same as the Apple numbers in the Device Branding report (98-99% correlating), but starting on the 12th that correlation decreased for every day, from 96% on the 12th down to 69% on the 16th.

The problem here seems to be that from the 12th of October some iOS devices are not recognized as Apple products, and I can’t see any other explanation to this than that it is because of iOS 5.

2 Responses to “Does Google Analytics have a problem with iOS5?”

  1. on 28 Nov 2011 at 15:31 1.elmarko said …

    I’ve been noticing the same thing lately, my iPhone data isn’t necessarily being recorded. I’ve done a test today, visited the site via iPhone, visited several pages, so far no iPhone traffic has shown up in Analytics except for 2 ‘not set’ entries. I’ll give Google a 24 hours grace period before I say anything conclusively, but it does look like iOS5 isn’t being tracked. Interestingly, the Safari 5.1.1 (desktop) develop drop down still doesn’t list the user agent string for iOS5 yet and I’m wondering if Apple haven’t made it public yet, thus causing the ‘not set’ issue.

    I’m also running the social tracking version of Analytics, are you? I’m wondering if this could be the cause of it, but can’t think for the life of me why it would be.

  2. on 28 Nov 2011 at 16:01 2.jonas said …

    After another month of data it still looks the same as when I wrote the post.
    The traffic is recorded as such and when looking in the operating system tab it’s there as iPad, iPhone and iPod, but it still doesn’t show up under Apple in the device branding tab.

    So what I have done to get that traffic total is to filter the operating system tab by “ip”. This gets me the traffic for iPad, iPhone and iPod and currently nothing else. And doing this for dates before the iOS 5 launch gives (almost) exactly the same numbers as the Apple row in the brand tab so it seems to be working.

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