Changes to how Google Analytics tracks Mobile operating system no more iPad no more iPhone

James StandenAnalytics Canvas Tool, Google Analytics API

Are you concerned that suddenly you are not getting any iPad and iPhone traffic on your website? Don’t panic- on May 29, there was clearly a change in how the Operating System dimension was populated when tracking mobile traffic. The previously used values “iPad” and “iPhone” are gone, and have been replaced with “iOS”.

While this change definately makes more sense (“iOS” is an operating system, not “iPad” and “iPhone”) it is going to impact any reports and dashboards, particularly those that look across the change date.

And now, breaking out iPhone vs iPad visits will be harder, since mobile device information is not yet available in the API (one hopes that one day it will be) one option is to combine “iOS” on the Operating system dimension with Screen resolution to determine if the visit is from an iPad user or an iPhone user. A few caveats- in looking at data here we often see that previously screen resolution and operating system are for a small number of visits is apparently wrong (iPhones with huge resolutions, or zero, iPads with iPhone like resolution, based on the operating system value)- so any logic you use to split iOS visits into iPad and iPhone will have to ensure a catch all approach, and will be an estimate only.

For those users of Analytics canvas, I’d suggest simply inserting a segmentation block, and segment out the iOS back into iPad and iPhone for those canvases that track this by looking at screen resolution. That will keep a clean transition and eliminate the change from messing up your dashboards. This is the approach we are taking internally with our dashboard customers.

And another thing- what about “Macintosh” as an operating system on mobile? Not sure what this is, it seems to be mostly larger screens, so perhaps laptops- but how is the decision made to include them in “Mobile” I wonder? Based on type of connection perhaps? (I’ve got a question in with Google on this, will update you when I hear back).