Native Mobile Apps are Getting Larger

Smartphone MemoryAccording to a recent study by ABI Research, iOS apps are getting considerably bigger. Over the past six months, the average app size has increased 16%. Games have seen an even more noticeable jump, going up 42% and now weighing in, on average, at 60 MB. The average game app is more than twice the size of the average non-game app.

Similar but less pronounced trends have been seen in Android apps. Android games have grown to nearly 4x their size in March – now averaging more than 40 MB. The average non-game Android app has grown by 10% (coming in at about 6MB to iOS’ 23MB average). The ABI Research report attributes the increase to changes in the respective app stores that now allow larger apps.

For senior analyst Aapo Markkanen, the data confirms two important points. “First, Apple’s decision in March to increase the maximum size of 3G/4G-downloadable apps from 20MBs to 50MBs has clearly had an unleashing effect on developers. Their games can now be more complex and graphically polished, while still being able to benefit from the instant gratification of cellular downloads. And second, Google’s move to start hosting files of up to 4GBs on Google Play has been similarly well-received among the developer community. Android’s old way of doing things was cumbersome for game developers and their customers alike, but there is evidence that this change, along with certain other improvements, is indeed making it a more credible gaming platform.”

While these changes have allowed developers to create more involved, more visually appealing apps, it’s proving to be a problem for some device owners. Kelly Hodgkins of TUAW has personally experienced some of these issues.

This increase in size has a profound effect on customers who have iOS devices with 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage. Customers with these low-capacity devices may have to carefully manage their app installs and go through the cumbersome process of deleting older apps in order to install new ones. It may also affect buying trends with users opting to go with the more expensive 32 GB or 64 GB models, instead of the entry-level 16 GB.

Have you seen any problems connected to larger app size? Will this trend phase out 8GB devices?

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