Apple’s App Store Has a Big Problem That No One Is Talking About

Apple's App Store Has a Big Problem That No One Is Talking About

Khamosh Pathak, a Vadodara-based technology writer, spends more than 10GB of Internet data per month on his iPhone for simply downloading new apps and updates. He says the amount of data he ends up consuming with this “less essential” chore has increased significantly over the years.

Pathak’s views represent a growing concern among many iPhone and iPad users who say that apps on the App Storeare getting bulkier by day. You can see, for instance, that both the Facebook app and Uber app, are listed at over 250MB. Update sizes, as listed on the App Store Updates tab, are often worse, with Facebook standing north of 300MB.

In contrast, downloading Facebook on Android uses under 70MB data, and the update files are usually not more than 30MB. Uber’s app is another 30MB download. On the App Store, Microsoft Excel is listed at 219MB, but it’s under 60MB download from Google Play.

Similarly, according to the listing on App Store, Pokémon Go app is 244MB, while its listing on Google Play is under 100MB. Gadgets 360 confirmed the sizes on several different Android smartphone models.

Apple remains tight-lipped on the matter, and hence we’re not sure if Apple is working to address this problem, or if it even sees it as a problem at all, though it does offer developers tips to reduce app sizes.

But do these claims actually hold water? Gadgets 360 spoke to several developers to find out.

Why does this matter?
Larger apps means more data consumption and less space on your device. This could make it challenging for Apple to market its products in emerging places such as India, which the Cupertino-headquartered company is increasingly hoping to develop as the next major iPhone market.

Part of the problem, as we realised when downloading and checking the sizes of apps, is that Google Play lists the size of the download. If you look in the information about an app, you’ll see a heading for Download Size. On the App Store however, the section is called Size, and it seems to refer to the amount of space that app will take on your device. The files that you download from these stores are unpacked on your phone or tablet and end up taking up more space than just the download. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Google’s showing you how much data you’ll use to get the app on your phone, which is an important factor in countries like India, which are still sensitive to data costs. On the other hand, Apple’s figure tells you how much space is needed on your device, which matters if you’re worried about running out of storage.

Beyond statistics
Even beyond this though, there’s a real problem of app sizes, several developers told Gadgets 360. Apps are getting bigger in size, they say, in part because developers add new features, something their users obviously appreciate.