7 December, 2023

Today’s mobile apps: Lightweight Champions or Heavyweight Hoarders

Mobile apps are plenty in number. Tens of thousands get launched on a daily basis meddling the leaderboards every now and then like the stock market needle.

Sometimes, we can’t help but wonder: what happens to all these apps. Millions of apps exist in the play store.

  • 1. Apple has an estimated 1.2 Million in iTunes

  • 2. Android has 1.31 Million in Play Store

  • 3. Windows has a humble 0.40 Million in Windows Store

But all we have in our devices are hardly 20 to 30 apps, max of 60 if you are an owner user.

So what happens to rest of the apps?

A study by Localytics has found a startling fact that 75% of users uninstall an app within 90 days of installing it.

Except for very few can’t-live-without-essential apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, digital wallets, cab booking, etc. which are saved from the uninstallation drive.

Why do apps get uninstalled?

There are five main reasons why apps get uninstalled:

  • 1. They eat into device storage

  • 2. The functionalities are fuzzy

  • 3. They crash at will

  • 4. They are slow or non-responsive

  • 5. They do not deliver the promised features

Perhaps, occupying too much of device storage is the prime reason why most apps get uninstalled.

One app - multiple function


At least some of you would have confronted this threat from your device.
Android system out of space error threatens users who have too many heavyweight apps coexisting in a 2GB or 3GB RAM powered the smartphone.

RAM and cache cleaning apps promise the sky but not always meet user expectations.

Also, users prefer having smartphones that have specs like 2 to 3 GB RAM and 16 to 32 GB ROM. Anything more is expensive and beyond the reach of an average user. The RAM space is always limited and insufficient to accommodate all apps. Definitely a reason why heavy mobile apps get downloaded least and get uninstalled faster.



Is storage really a problem?

Let’s take a look at what constitutes our phone’s in general.

  • Music
  • Images
  • Movies
  • Apps
  • Others

When it comes to utility and personalization, creating a mobile app takes a backstep to personal files, media, and video.

So, when there is a question of whether to have just another app or to have personal files, users find it easier to uninstall an app.

So, what is the best way forward?

The road ahead to build mobile apps that won’t get uninstalled

A win-win situation for both mobile app developers and users can be created with some tweaks.


Think from the user device perspective

Build apps that demand less system resources – RAM as well as ROM. Aim to build apps that can run smoothly with 2 GB RAM along with other apps too.

The current scenario

A lion share of the mobile phone users use devices that have modest memory capabilities. Of that, a large chunk will be occupied by the OS and apps which cannot be disabled.

This makes it further difficult to install and maintain apps that demand heavy memory. Users will rather forego using such apps than upgrading their device to an expensive model.

The best foot forward

Hence, a better solution to reduce such churn will be to consider building apps that can be easily accommodated in the user device.

Build lightweight apps that consume less RAM or disk space

Keep apps lightweight. Not just in download size but also in disk space. Most apps bloat in size as users begin using them regularly. Take for instance, Google Maps, Facebook, etc.

Most mobile apps multiply in size post installation. Although not all apps increase in size, most apps do swell in size owing to the user data they keep collecting and storing for rendering a smooth experience.

So what data do they collect?

Let’s assume you are using Google Maps.

The first time you use Google Maps, the app has zero data on your activity. However, with time, when you drop pins to mark places you have visited, or use the navigation system or make a random search, the app collects and stores all this information. This information will use to relay back auto fill options the next time you use the app.


Although this sounds logical considering the need for UX, not every data needs archiving. Cache aging more than a week or a month can be cleared automatically to keep the app lightweight.

That way, apps can shrink their disk space and keep their performance lightweight and smooth.

Allow apps to be moved to SD card

There are apps which do not require access to system files and resources. Such apps can be permitted to be moved to SD cards. Since SD card storage can be expanded easily and affordably, this can help reduce the uninstall rate of an app.

A Small Thorn

In Android, until the recent updates, apps had to be moved to SD card using third party apps. An in-built option was missing. Even in Apple, the option was to move to iCloud which was nothing but an unnecessary expense.

The Remedy

Apps which can be installed directly to SD card would be a better option to increase user downloads and usage. It reduces the possibility of uninstallation drastically.

Deliver what you promise

Apps must function as they are advertised in play stores. Missing features or non-responsive apps are a sure way to disappoint users. Try under promising and over delivering instead of overpromising and under-delivering. After all impressing the user is the surefire way to winning space in their device storage.

What can be done?

Abstain from delivering apps that:

  • Look and function differently from what is promised
  • Ask for too many permissions and hinder user privacy
  • Malfunction or make the device malfunction
  • Have security loopholes that can make the user device susceptible for hacking

In other words, treat the user you would expect other third party apps to treat you.


Hi I'm Sundar. Interested in digging deep into Android TV app development & business management tools. Love to blog, discuss and share views on OTT streaming business management tips and tricks.

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