Each time Apple’s made a significant update to a device this year it’s received a significantly larger screen size or resolution. First the iPad came out with a Retina display along with the MacBook Pro, and now the iPhone 5 has a bigger display as well.
That’s great for your eyeballs, but it also means that the average size of apps is growing too, which may end up costing you more in data fees in the long run.
A recent survey of the iOS app ecosystem by ABI Research found that the average size of iOS apps has increased by 16 percent since March 2012. As of September 2012 the average iOS app size was 23 megabytes. The change in app sizes is even more pronounced in the Games category where the average size has jumped 42 percent since March and now sits at 60MB per game.
The biggest culprit is the bigger Retina display screens. Apple’s pixel dense beauties allow for higher quality graphics to be displayed on the iPad and iPhone, which typically leads to a larger file size. One other big change that has aided the boost in app size is Apple’s decision to increase the over-the-air app download limit size from 20MB in March to the 50MB limit iOS users now enjoy.
The bigger apps aren’t necessarily a bad thing because it can lead to higher quality apps that have a lot of depth. However, Apple has hasn’t increased the storage capacity on the iPhone or iPad this year, which means many consumers may need to buy a more expensive model with 32GB or 64GB of storage, or rely on iCloud and their data package to gobble up new apps on the fly.