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TikTok counters the U.S. ban with lawsuit + more! | Median Minute

Welcome to the latest edition of the Median Minute, a semi-frequent series scannable in one minute, powered by the team at, and built for you.

⏩TL;DR: In this edition (our ⏰ May Edit): Spring is here, and the theme in the mobile app world so far this season is ‘accessibility.’ Below we cover both Apple’s and Google’s new accessibility-first features, and catch you up on the ongoing saga of the U.S. vs. TikTok (and more)! Let’s get started.

💡FEATURED STORY: The U.S. TikTok ban explained: Timeline and implications

Mayday! The TikTok v.s. the U.S. saga continues in full force.

It’s safe to say that TikTok has a significant fanbase in the U.S. alone. But ever since its arrival in 2018, concerns of national security were being called into question.

And on April 24th, 2024, these concerns became so great that President Joe Biden signed into law a ban that could force TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the app by January 2025 — or see it banned from the U.S. altogether.

But TikTok is not easily swayed. In fact, both TikTok itself and a separate group of TikTok users have since sued the U.S. government in attempts to block the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. 

So, why is TikTok being (potentially) banned in the U.S.?

In a nutshell: TikTok is owned by ByteDance, whose alleged ties to the Chinese government has led to fears that user data could be illegally accessed and perhaps compromise the U.S.’s security.

What does the ban mean for you? 

A ban on TikTok would mean that the app would no longer be available for download in the U.S. app stores. Plus, existing users will still have the app, but will not be able to update it, posing an even higher security risk alongside the risk of app crashes. 

TikTok vs. the United States: A timeline

  •  October 2018: TikTok launches in the United States
  • September 2019: TikTok announces partnership with the National Football League
  • April 2020: TikTok passes 2 billion global downloads
  •  April 2024: President Biden signs Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act
  • May 2024: TikTok sues U.S. government over ban
  • January 2025: Initial deadline for TikTok divestment from ByteDance

What’s next for TikTok?

Whether TikTok wins their case, ultimately decides to sell, or simply abandons the American market remains to be determined. A ban on TikTok could reshape the social media landscape, creating opportunities for domestic platforms to capture TikTok's user base. 

Learn more about the ban on TikTok, which you can find here: The U.S. TikTok ban explained: A guide to its timeline and implications.

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🗞️Apps in the news: May edit

Whether it's the ban on TikTok, or private app distribution, or new accessibility features in apps, we’ve been glued to these mobile app news stories this month.

🔏 What is a private app and how do you distribute it to the app stores?

Private apps are special apps developed for a limited and restricted user base. They’re not available for everyday download, but rather serve a particular internal purpose. You can distribute your private apps through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Doing so enhances credibility, makes updating an app easier, and offers an easier, familiar installation experience.

Apple supports private app distribution through custom app distraction, unlisted app distribution, and the Apple Developer Enterprise Program for iOS. On the other hand, Google supports private app distribution through alpha and beta testing tracks, and Managed Google Play.

To ensure acceptance, your app must adhere to app store guidelines, which is worth putting time and effort into as it ensures benefits like app store support, features and increases user trust/loyalty.

Learn more about the why and how of private app distribution here.

🎓 Schools out: Apple will shutter its iOS Developer University Program

Apple has decided to close its developer training program – an initiative originally designed to train app developers on how to develop apps for iOS. This sudden shuttering of its proprietary school comes as a shock to some developers, many of whom were depending on it to learn how to deliver on iOS apps and beyond. This is apparently especially disappointing news for Spanish-speaking developers: many of them are on this program to learn iOS skills in their native language.

♿ All is not gone with Apple: Apple introduces new accessibility features.

Apple has announced new accessibility features. This is an attempt for Apple to comply with the accessibility standards regulated by the WCAG. New additions include:

  • Eye Tracking for iPad and iPhone: This allows users with physical disabilities to navigate devices using their eyes.
  • Music Haptics: This enables hearing-impaired users to experience music through vibrations from the Taptic Engine.
  • Vocal Shortcuts: This helps users to perform tasks with custom sounds.
  • Vehicle Motion: This helps reduce motion sickness for passengers using iPhones and iPads inside a moving vehicle.
  • Additional updates: New accessibility features for CarPlay and visionOS are now available.

📱 What is an Android System WebView? Should I uninstall it?

An Android System WebView (ASW) is a software that allows an app to seamlessly display web content within the app itself. Some of its pros include offline capabilities, seamless integration, performance optimization, and security updates made directly through the Google Play Store. Some of its cons are that it can drain mobile device resources, and crash if updates are made while the webview app is running.

Can you uninstall ASW? In short, no. However, you can uninstall new updates to ASW from Google Play or disable it completely. It’s important to note that doing either one can cause security risks and app crashes.

♿ Following Apple’s footprints: Google announces new accessibility features for some of its Android apps

Google has updated some Android apps with new accessibility features. These include:

  • Lookout: Lookout is an Android app developed by Google to help blind and low-vision Android users identify objects around them and read documents. This app now sports a new mode now called the “Find mode”, which means users now get a new way to find specific objects.
  • Look to Speak: This app allows users to choose pre-written and customized phrases with their eyes and is spoken out loud once the phase is chosen. The new update here, “text-free mode”, allows users to select personalized emojis, symbols and photos in a phrase.
  • Maps: On Maps, users can now easily filter reviews related to wheelchairs. Users can also get wheelchair accessibility information on desktop versions with the new updates.
  • Project Relate: This app is designed to give users with speech impairments an audible voice. The new update allows users to import text from other apps to create custom prompts for voice training. 

Google has also announced that there will be more accessibility features to come in the near future. We’ll update you as soon as we see the new features roll out in the market — so stay tuned!

📈 Google is launching Premium Growth Tools for Play Store ASO 

Google is introducing new Premium Growth Tools for Play Store which will directly impact ASO efforts — in a good way. These tools include:

  • Promotional Content
  • Additional Custom Store Listings (100 instead of 50)

As app developers, you do need to meet specific criterias to be able to use these tools. you must be a developer in good standing on Google Play, and meet one of the following thresholds:

  • Having at least 1.6 million 28DAU daily over the previous 3 months, and a minimum of 1.6 million active installs.
  • Having at least 2 million 28DAU daily over the previous month, and a minimum of 2 million active installs.
  • Having at least $40,000 USD/month in consumer spend over the previous 3 calendar months, or at least $50,000 USD in the previous calendar month.

Read more at the Business of Apps news piece here.

New @ Median

As app developers ourselves, we understand how fast paced this industry is, and are constantly updating our products to stay on top of new trends, releases, and versions.

Today we’re excited to share some recent product and feature updates that enrich our customers’ apps:

Update #1: Make the most of the permissions status update

In a world of digital security breaches, user management is a going concern. Our permissions status update supports in keeping track of this, allowing you to confirm whether a user has been granted access to native device features such as camera, contacts, notifications, and more. To learn more about this feature, visit our documentation page here.

Update #2: Introducing our context menu

Our new context menu allows the configuration of a floating menu to trigger actions when long-clicking on a link. To learn more about this recent addition, visit our documentation page here.

📱Anatomy of an App: Localization

While an app’s features, user experience, performance and speed, and visual elements such as screenshots, icons and app splash screens are important for its success, ASO is as important if not more — specifically: localization. 

What exactly is localization?

Localization is the process of adapting your app to meet the language, cultural, and local regulatory requirements of the  targeted market.

This ASO strategy ensures your app feels native to users in their regions. 

How can you localize your app? 

To localize your app, you can use several strategies, including, but not limited to:

  • Converting the language
  • Customizing terms used
  • Modifying cultural references to be appropriate
  • Tailoring the user interface and experience
  • Adjusting word plurality as needed
  • Taking into account local customs, events, and legal requirements

These strategies allow you to meet the linguistic and cultural preferences of a specific market.

Note: It's important to make sure all texts are visible to users and all multimedia files in your app reflect the unique cultural elements of every region.

To learn more about ASO and  localization, Get some practical tips in this recent article from sidebar Magazine



STUNNING STATS: — The # of users accessing the WhatsApp Messenger app on a monthly basis, as of April 2024. More stats at Statista.

📢Overheard @ Median

Q: “How do I fix the error ‘PhaseScriptExecution failed with a nonzero exit code’?”

A: To fix error “PhaseScriptExecution failed with a nonzero exit code”, follow the steps below:

  1. Clear build cache by Xcode > Product > Clean Build Folder.
  2. Reinstall Pods by deleting Podfile.lock and the Pods folder. Run the following commands in the terminal.
  3. In cases where the error persists, go to the Report Navigator to find more information about the error and search for potential solutions from there.

If trying to troubleshoot the error on your own doesn’t work (even though it typically should), Median’s team of experts can help debug it with ease. Book a call with our team of experts here.

Sidebar: What exactly is the error “PhaseScriptExecution failed with a nonzero exit code”?

This error occurs during the build process in Xcode, indicating that a build script has failed to execute. The term “nonzero exit code” itself means that a script encountered an error and was terminated unsuccessfully.

Time’s up (for now)! 

We’re here to help you make sense of all things mobile. Have specific questions? Visit our website.

Wishing everyone a successful rest of the year!

– The Median Team

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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