Tomorrow, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. In advance of the expected device announcement, we studied the current state of the iPhone market share and found:

  • The iPhone 6 is the most popular model on the market, commanding a 30% share of all iPhones
  • The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were adopted at a faster rate than their predecessors, the iPhone 5s and 5c
  • Larger iPhone models see higher app engagement, with almost 16 launches per month

Before we dive into the research, let’s start with a little history. In 2012, Apple released the iPhone 5, marking the last year the company released just one model. In 2013, Apple made the decision to release two iPhones – the high end iPhone 5s and the lower end iPhone 5c. The next year, Apple continued that same trend by releasing both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus simultaneously. The decision to release two iPhones each year has flooded the market with seven different models, as we’ll see next.

iPhone 6 is the Most Popular Device

While each iPhone model is still actively used, the iPhone 6 dominates all other iPhone models, representing 30% of all active iPhone devices. The iPhone 6 Plus captures an additional 10% of the market.


It is a massive success for the iPhone 6 to claim the top spot in less than a year. By comparison, at this time last year, the iPhone 5s was still second to the older iPhone 5.

Interestingly, the iPhone 5c has less market share than the older 4S and 5, potentially justifying the rumors about the fate of the 5c.

iPhone 6 Shows Faster Adoption than iPhone 5s

Looking at the overall adoption of the different iPhone models one year after their release, we get a general sense of the early traction of each iteration.


Generally, Apple’s newest iPhones generate a solid market share, with around 30-40% adoption one year after the release. For example, the iPhone 5, released in 2012, had a 35% market share one year later in 2013.

In 2013, two models were released —the iPhone 5s and 5c—and the overall adoption dipped to 33% by 2014, with the majority being the iPhone 5s.

Now, one year later, we see the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, launched last year, making up 39% of all iPhones on the market, which is the highest adoption of new iPhones releases.

With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it appears that Apple’s foray into larger screen devices was a success. Despite initial size concerns, the market responded well to the large screen devices.

Apps Are Launched More Often on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Previously published research shows that app engagement is higher on large screen devices, so Apple’s continuation of larger screen phones is great news for app marketers. Even today, the largest iPhone models tend to show the highest engagement, according to our data.


Apps on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are launched more often than the number of times they are opened on other devices. On the 6 and 6 Plus, an app is launched more than 15 times per month, on average. The next highest engagement is on the 4-inch iPhone 5s, with an average of 14 launches per month per app, and the 4-inch iPhone 5c, with an average of 13.1 app launches per month. This is likely correlated to the fact that adopters of newer iPhones tend to visit apps more often, but the fact remains that larger devices tend to see higher engagement.

The Great App Purge

With 39% of Apple users upgrading to the newest model, Apple has experienced phenomenal adoption of their new products. This is great for them but for app marketers, there are consequences. This time of year represents the start of the great app purge — or the time of year that many people who are upgrading their devices also take the opportunity to delete (and not transfer) apps they don’t typically use.

Ensuring that your app is front of mind now, before users go through the great app purge, is critical. This is best accomplished by engaging users who haven’t used your app recently. A push message targeted toward users who have been inactive in the last 30 days offering them a personalized offer, or a gentle reminder of your app through a targeted remarketing campaign to users who show a high likelihood to churn, may make all the difference to users when they’re deciding if they should bring your app over to their new iPhone.


Localytics is the leading lifecycle engagement platform across more than 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and web apps. Localytics processes 120 billion data points monthly. For this study, Localytics examined over 100 million iPhone devices. The data for this study represents iPhones that had active app sessions logged during August 2015.

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