One week after iOS 14 was released to the public, we noticed a significant lag in uptake by devices used for work. Data from Mixpanel shows iOS 14 adoption trends across a broad set of global users, and we expected to see a similar upgrade trend within our own database of protected devices. However, when we plotted Mixpanel’s data against that of our own, we found that there was a discrepancy in the adoption trends associated with the subset of iOS devices used for work. 

Wandera’s view of iOS devices is focused on the subset used for work purposes. This includes a broad range of devices, from corporate-owned and managed, to those that are BYOD and simply running a business application, such as e-mail or a CRM software app.

In the chart below, you can see Mixpanel’s data in blue representing a global set of iOS users (heavily weighted toward consumer), and the subset of users with an iOS device that provides some work functionality coming from the Wandera database in pink.

While there is no single explanation for the lag in adoption of iOS 14 on work phones, it may be due to the fact that IT administrators have more control than ever when it comes to rolling out iOS updates to their employees’ devices, whether that be through a management solution or simply via communicated instructions.

When looking at desktop computers used for work, it’s not uncommon to see slow adoption of new Windows versions, with IT teams often waiting a year or two to update employee computers. Maybe what we are seeing is this Windows enterprise trend carrying over to mobile. 

With so many people using mobile devices for work, and so many applications and cloud services unlocking productivity benefits, there is a growing number of services that now need to be updated and tested by IT to ensure they work with every new OS version, no matter the platform. So it is easy to understand why IT teams are choosing to delay software updates on mobile to ensure a seamless transition for their users. 

Device management tools, such as VMware WorkspaceONE or Microsoft Endpoint Manager, enable organizations to control configuration options and install applications on mobile devices that are used for work purposes. Among the options Apple has made available to device management tools is the ability to delay iOS updates, allowing organizations a period of time to test functionality before the updates occur; the statistics above may reflect the impact of these programmatic delays on the overall iOS update trends.

Gaining visibility into the operating system versions running on employee devices is an important step towards more unified management and security across all endpoints. Wandera offers the ability to see the operating system version running across your mobile device fleet whether it be iOS, Android or Windows 10. 

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about the benefits of managing OS updates, please get in touch.