Apple made some big announcements recently that could pretty significantly impact how churches use apps to engage their congregations. I reached out to Sean Buchanan from Aware3 to help us understand what church leaders need to understand about this shift:
TIFFANY: Can you break down this change for us, in layman’s terms?
SEAN: Apple recently began enforcing a rule that came out earlier this summer designed to eliminate copycat apps and clean up the App Store. One consequence of this has been the impact to app generation companies. This impacts every provider in the church space, along with several companies releasing apps for businesses and other industries.
TIFFANY: What will be the immediate implications for churches? Should churches change their approach as a result?
SEAN: It appears that Apple will grandfather organizations with existing apps, so the changes will only impact new app releases. We had been in communication with Apple about potential changes, so we were ready with an immediate response when the change to how apps get published to the App Store became apparent. Our customizable app, churchOn, is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. (Or check it out at www.aware3.com/churchOn)
So with our app, there’s really no change at the church level. You’ll still be able to customize the app experience for your members. The only difference is how they access your content and features. Now they can find your app even quicker, because instead of searching the App Store for multiple apps with the same or similar name (think First Baptist Church — there are a lot of those), they simply download churchOn and can find their congregation by name or even using location services.
TIFFANY: Big picture, why does this matter?
SEAN: The release of this rule is evidence that apps have become so abundant that Apple found it necessary to clean up the App Store. In fact, 85% of people prefer native apps vs mobile websites.
Just think about your own experience — when you’re on your phone, how do you access Facebook? Do you open a browser and type your login/password? If you’re like most people, you simply open the Facebook app.
Websites still matter, and since more and more people are on phones, you should have a website that is responsive. But when it comes to connection, communication and generosity, you get deeper levels of engagement through a dedicated app.