Why fewer people are downloading Apple iOS 8

October 7, 2014, 11:49 PM UTC
Notifications in Apple iOS 8.
Illustration courtesy Apple

Apple device owners are slower to download iOS 8, the latest mobile software update, than previous updates, indicating that they may be scared off by a buggy and embarrassing launch.

On Tuesday, the tech giant revealed new data on its developer support web site indicating that 47% of all Apple (AAPL) mobile devices currently run iOS 8, which was released on Sept. 17 to much fanfare. That’s compared with iOS 7, which was downloaded by 70% of user during the same two and a half week period last year according to the data analytics service Mixpanel.

The likely reason behind slower adoption of Apple’s latest mobile software has to do with iOS 8 itself. A small, incremental software update to iOS 8, dubbed iOS 8.0.1, quickly made headlines after many users complained that it disabled cell and data service, as well as Apple’s fingerprint-recognition technology, Touch ID. Apple quickly pulled the update from its app store, fixed the bug and made it publicly available a day-and-a-half later.

The problems with the update marked a major stumble for Apple, which had hoped to showcase the new operating system while selling the latest versions of its smartphone, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, it turned into a public relations nightmare.

It’s clear a significant number of iOS users remain wary about suffering the same kind of glitches that some early adopters did. Case in point: Less than a week after its release, Apple (AAPL) reported that iOS 8 was running on 46% of all iPhones, iPads and iPods. But as of this week, that figure saw a mere 1% uptick.