Size of the Average iOS App Increased 16% in Six Months

AppstorelogoAccording to a study by ABI Research, the average size of an iOS app increased by 16% from March to September 2012; iOS games have grown even faster, jumping 42% over that same time period.

The increase is thought to be partly the result of the iPad's new retina display, as well as a March increase in the over-the-air App Store download limit from 20MB to 50MB.

Universal apps include all the resources needed for the iPad and iPhone, regardless of which device the app is downloaded onto. These factors, combined with the new high-resolution graphics needed for the new iPad Retina display have ballooned app sizes.

The flipside of the increasing file-sizes is that the internal storage of smartphones and tablets is becoming a scarcer resource, as the device capabilities struggle to keep up with the requirements of apps and mobile content. Markkanen predicts, "Especially the consumers with 16GB devices are likely to become more conscious about what apps to keep and what to uninstall, so the developers’ bar to impress will be getting even higher than it is now. This could also speed up the adoption of the mobile cloud as a storage remedy quite significantly."

Some have speculated that Apple could hold down the entry-level pricing on the iPad mini by offering an 8 GB model, but as universal apps with Retina iPad support push app download sizes ever higher, Apple is likely to maintain 16 GB as the floor for its tablet devices.

Even the iPhone has trended toward larger capacities, with Apple adding a 64 GB option for the iPhone 4S and now offering only the free iPhone 4 as an 8 GB device. Though it doesn't support downloadable apps, the new iPod Nano is also only offered in an 16GB capacity, dropping the 8GB capacity that the prior Nano was offered in.

Last month, Apple stopped selling any iPod Touch model in an 8GB capacity -- the smallest iPod touch nowadays is the 16GB 4th generation model, available for $199. The new 5th generation model starts at 32GB.

Top Rated Comments

Medic311 Avatar
106 months ago
This is why an 8GB iPad Mini will be insufficient


Keep in mind 8GB = ~6.3GB of actual storage


1 solid game w/ app data = 1GB (Metal Storm as an example)
Several photo albums and home videos = 1GB
Music albums and Podcasts = 1GB
1 downloaded iTunes HD movie = 2GB
3 magazines in Newstand app = 1GB
50 misc apps w/ app data = 1GB


Realizing Medic311 was correct that 8GB wasn't sufficient...priceless (or hilarious)


If the iPad Mini is designed for consuming written material (as the rumors are swirling about a focus on iBooks), 8GB will be extremely frustrating for many. Newstand chews through storage as Digital Magazines throw in enormous graphics and photos. Ever downloaded an issue of Wired? They are 450MB+ then throw in additional magazines like The Economist and Bloomberg which have audio components which soak up even more storage
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TimAlia Avatar
106 months ago
...And the maps app decreased 100%.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsrcool1234 Avatar
106 months ago
Part of this is the extremely stupid way Apple handles universal apps. Instead of bundling everything into one app package, there's no reason not to split things up depending on the device. Incredible waste of space having high resolution files (iPad3) for devices such as the iPhone/iPod.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yvan256 Avatar
106 months ago
The Apps should be universal but the device should only store the data relevant to it.

Universal iOS App = iOS code and ressources for all devices (computer, iTunes Store).
iPhone 5 downloads the App = iOS code and resources for iPhone 5 only.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reallynotnick Avatar
106 months ago

Part of this is the extremely stupid way Apple handles universal apps. Instead of bundling everything into one app package, there's no reason not to split things up depending on the device. Incredible waste of space having high resolution files (iPad3) for devices such as the iPhone/iPod.


I totally agree, it's nice to be able to buy a universal App but I shouldn't have to have all the excess data installed on my device for other devices. Apple either needs to find a way to deal with this or start to seriously start upping storage (preferably both). I filled up 16GB of my 32GB iPhone 5 in a month, while I am still pissed I was charged $100 for the extra storage I would have been more upset up if I had the 16GB version.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iphone495 Avatar
106 months ago
Not Surprised

Obviously. The screen of the iPhone is getting bigger, so will the size of apps.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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