Randy Nelson writing for the Sensor Tower blog reports that the size of the top iPhone apps has increased by whopping 1,000 percent in four years. That’s an alarming trend.
To get some perspective what that means, the total space required by the top 10 most installed iPhone apps has gone up from 164MB to 1.8GB in the last four years.
According to Sensor Tower’s analysis of App Intelligence, the total space required by the top 10 most installed U.S. iPhone apps has grown from 164 MB in May 2013 to about 1.8 GB last month, an 11x or approximately 1,000 percent increase in just four years. In the following report, we delve deeper into which apps have grown the most.
The app that has grown the most in size is Snapchat. The size of the Snapchat app has gone up more than 50 times, from just 4MB to 203MB in the last four years. But the app that is the biggest culprit is Facebook, at 388MB, which is 12 times larger than it was in May 2013, when it was just 32MB. This is despite Facebook removing the messenger functionality from the main Facebook app and launching a standalone app for it. The size of the Facebook Messenger app itself is now at 279MB.
We can expect the size of the apps to only increase as companies will continue to add new functionality to their app. Unfortunately, the size of the apps is growing at a much faster rate compared to the device storage itself. It took almost four years for the minimum storage of the iPhone to increase from 16GB (iPhone 4s) to 32GB (iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus).
While storage space is an issue, the other problem is that it is a huge waste of bandwidth. Companies like Facebook realize this problem. It is probably one of the factors to separate the messenger functionality from the main app. They have also launched a lite version of their apps to address the issue.
Apple is also addressing this in iOS 11 with the offload unused apps feature. Apple explains how the feature works:
“It will automatically remove unused apps, but keeps the documents and data. Reinstalling the app will place back your data, if the app is still available in the App Store.”
Though it may not help with the top apps, as they are probably also the most used apps, it would at least ensure that the unused apps which are usually the majority don’t end up taking up storage space.