September 2012: Apple releases iOS 6.0, the latest version of its OS for iPhone, with an important new feature: the adoption of the SSL protocol by Google, with the following consequences: the loss of referrers in organic traffic for Google searches made on a Safari search box. The comparison of “direct access” and “Google search” sources between traffic from iOS 5.1 and from iOS 6.0 in December 2012 shows the impact of implementing the protocol.
iOS 6.0: 63% of traffic from direct access vs. 20% for iOS 5.1 in France at the end of 2012.
The adoption of the SSL protocol by Google for users logged on to their accounts led to a large increase in this share and in particular with the introduction of browser specific security protocols as it is the case with Mozilla/Firefox since the 14 version. For iOS 6.0, the loss goes even further because there is a total loss of referrers for Google searches from a Safari search box: it is now impossible to detect Google as a source for organic searches… which is not the case for Adwords traffic.