Android and iOS app sizes rise dramatically

Apple devices may be getting smaller, but iOS app file sizes are growing.

According to new data from ABI Research, the global average iOS app size across all categories was 23 megabytes in September, 16 per cent larger than in March. Gaming is the most popular app category and most of these apps now come in at 60MB, a 42 per cent increase over the last six months.

ABI attributed the increase to the Retina display of the new iPad, as well as Apple's more liberal submission policy. In March, Apple increased the size limits on downloadable apps from 20MB to 50MB.

"Their games can now be more complex and graphically polished, while still being able to benefit from the instant gratification of cellular downloads," stated ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen.

The average Android app, meanwhile, came in at about 6MB in September, a 10 per cent jump from what it was in March. However, the size of Android games nearly quadrupled, to 40MB, after Google in March increased the size limit on its Android apps from 50MB to 4GB.

"Android's old way of doing things was cumbersome for game developers and their customers alike," Markkanen said. "But there is evidence that this change, along with certain other improvements, is indeed making it a more credible gaming platform."

Though while app sizes are increasing, storage capacity on smartphones and tablets is not developing at the same rate.

"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," Markkanen added. "This could also speed up the adoption of the mobile cloud as a storage remedy quite significantly."