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

James Standen Analytics Canvas Tool, Google Analytics API 7 Comments

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).

Comments 7

  1. hi,
    I applied a common filter in admin settings for my profiles.I found now and removed it
    Include – Operating System -iPhone|Blackberry|Android|windowsphone

    will this filter avoid the insertion of data from mobile site into the corresponding table.I knew this question is childish but when the user access my site from iphone no data is available.

    Please help me

    1. Post
      Author

      Unfortunately, this change will affect all filters, segments etc. Based on what I’m seeing, you won’t every see Operating system values “iPhone” or “iPad” anymore. What you will see is operating system “iOS” and this will include both your iPad and your iPhone visitors.

      Any filters using the “iPhone” or “iPad” category will also need to be removed, as they will only return visits from before May 29.

      The problem is, for reporting periods that include dates before and after May 29, you have to include both sets of values- as time goes on, the new “iOS” operating system value is what you will be tracking.

      If you are using the UI, it might be best to use device information, unfortunately Google has not made that available in the API yet.

  2. Hi,
    After removing filter OS is getting updated but I want to know if we have applied filter for a profile whether the data will also be filtered or only for viewing the content is filtered

  3. hi James ,

    We can filter used the dimension “Mobile Device Info” to separate iPhone and iPad.But my doubt is like the filter which I have applied earlier was removed but there was few hits from the iPhone user from 29 th May to June 4th but its not reflecting.Could you tell me the reason .Also if we apply filter to the profile it will be applied only while viewing the report not while inserting right .

    I have hits from iPad user to my site but its not visible after I remove the filter – Mobile. Please help me out.

  4. Is anyone able to customise report which will show the visits for all the operating system(including breakdown of device)? At this moment, I have to go back to device and do a secondary dimension to separate out iPad, iPhone and iPod. But when I add the figures together, it does not add up to the total figures in Operating System=iOS. Can anyone help? Thanks!

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  6. RE:
    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).

    Did you ever get more info about this? Thanks.

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