While Screen Sizes Are Getting Bigger Apps Sizes Are Becoming Obese

While Screen Sizes Are Getting Bigger Apps Sizes Are Becoming Obese

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.

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  • Jonathan Ober

    The bigger thing to keep in mind is the space on your computer. I have had an iphone since day one in 2007 and have had the 2g, 4 and 4s since and over that time have amassed a huge amount of games and apps. I deleted all the locally stored files for every game I ever downloaded and got back a staggering 100gb on my phone. It looked like each time an app had updated there was a new version of that app, even if the increment was a tiny increase or . upgrade. Anyways, if you HDD is suffering from space issues, check your app folder for ios apps…there is space to be had there :)

  • Steve Lawrence

    One of the major reasons for the recent bloat is also that when you download an app you are invariably downloading a universal binary that contains the code and images not just for your device but for all five iOS format / resolution variations: i.e non-retina iPhone, Retina iPhone, 16:9 iPhone, non-retina iPad and retina iPad. It would be much more efficient if Apple would have developers upload separate binaries for each device and then deliver just the version required when downloading from the App Store.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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