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Iphone Programming Software

The Size of iPhone's Top Apps Has Increased by 1,000% in Four Years (sensortower.com) 128

Research firm Sensor Tower shares an analysis: As the minimum storage capacity of iPhone continues to increase -- it sits at 32 GB today on the iPhone 7, double the the iPhone 5S's 16 GB circa 2013 -- it's not surprising that the size of apps themselves is getting larger. In fact, Apple raised the app size cap from 2 GB to 4 GB in early 2015. What's surprising is how much faster they're increasing in size compared to device storage itself. According to Sensor Tower's analysis of App Intelligence, the total space required by the top 10 most installed U.S. iPhone apps has grown from 164 MB in May 2013 to about 1.8 GB last month, an 11x or approximately 1,000 percent increase in just four years. [...] Of the top 10 most popular U.S. iPhone apps, the minimum growth we saw in app size since May 2013 was 6x for both Spotify and Facebook's Messenger. As the chart above shows, other apps, especially Snapchat, have grown considerably more. In fact, Snapchat is more than 50 times larger than it was four years ago, clocking in at 203 MB versus just 4 MB at the start of the period we looked at. It's not the largest app among the top 10, however. That distinction goes to Facebook, which, at 388 MB, is 12 times larger than it was in May 2013 when it occupied 32 MB. It grew by about 100 MB in one update during September of last year.
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The Size of iPhone's Top Apps Has Increased by 1,000% in Four Years

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  • Farcebook (Score:5, Funny)

    by cyberchondriac ( 456626 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @11:54AM (#54634041) Journal

    perfecting art of bloatware and spyware.

    • I was just looking at my mother-in-law's full iPhone yesterday and at the top of the list was Facebook at 650mb. I can't even download hardly any apps over cellular anymore because of the limit the appstore puts on them.

      • Just delete FB and use the web interface or ditch it entirely.
        I ditched FB about 5 years ago and don't regret it at all.

        • I'd love to delete FB (which I never use). I can't. If you haven't jailbroken your phone, you probably can't either.

          • No facebook on my phone and it is not JB'd.
            But I know what you mean. My old HTC Android (and the Samsung for that Matter) had them always running and eating battery. Without rooting the phones there was no way to get rid of them.
            There are phones out there that give you the choice. Perhaps you should get one?

      • Re:Farcebook (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheFakeTimCook ( 4641057 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @01:58PM (#54635063)

        I was just looking at my mother-in-law's full iPhone yesterday and at the top of the list was Facebook at 650mb. I can't even download hardly any apps over cellular anymore because of the limit the appstore puts on them.

        That's like TRIPLE the size of Windows 98... The WHOLE OS!!!!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        WTF?!?

    • Based on the fact Facebook users actually make use of the features Facebook offers, "bloatware" is not the right term here. But then "something I don't use and therefore no one else must use it" doesn't fit your narrative does it.

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Where the fuck is the "fact" that, "Facebook users actually make use of the features (the Facebook app) offers"?!?!

        The Facebook app was 32mb in 2013, and around 180mb last year. It's now 388mb. They haven't added that many features, and "Messenger" was split off to its own app (so the snapchat-ish/instragram-ish chat parts aren't part of the main app).

        But then facts don't really fit in your narrative, do they? :-P

        • They haven't added that many features

          Thanks for pointing out that you don't actually use it.

          • by unrtst ( 777550 )

            Thanks for taking a quote out of context, adding nothing of value to the conversation, and ignoring the facts yet again.

            The Facebook app grew from 180mb to 388mb in a year. They haven't added a corresponding amount of features. Are you claiming they have?

            There's no point to answering that. As others have shown, the vast majority of the added content is assets and frameworks, not features.

            • A fully stand alone camera, video editor, photo editor, and live streaming editor just to name a few.

              But like I said if you actually used Facebook you'd realise just how much they have added in the past couple of years.

      • According to TFA, the Facebook app has increased in size by 1200% (12x) from just 4 years ago. If you're in the know, please list all these new features that I don't know about which contribute to and justify this marked increase in size. And you don't get to list Messenger, because last year it became a separate app, no longer contributing to the size of the main app.

        • Here's a breakdown [timac.org]. It looks like duplicate data due to the framework they're using.
        • If you're in the know, please list all these new features

          All of them, no. But some prominent ones that were included in the last few years:

          A fully functional web-browser so users don't leave the app when they click links.
          A fully functional photo editor.
          A video editor.
          Live video streaming functionality.
          A fully functional camera.

          Each of these alone can easily contribute to more than double the amount of code than the core facebook app itself which around the 4+ years ago was little more than a HTML/JS front end to their website.

          • Holy cow.. they put all that in the Facebook app? That seems like reinventing the wheel in many of those cases, to me anyway, which would still fit my definition of bloatware, but I guess it depends on how useful or necessary those redundancies are in the eye of the beholder.
            I wouldn't be surprised if they released the "Facebook OS" in a few years, at that rate. I'm sure the idea has been tossed around.

      • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

        What "feature" of the FB app can't be used from their mobile website?

    • Re:Farcebook (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @02:02PM (#54635089)

      perfecting art of bloatware and spyware.

      This is actually Apple's fault. Every Swift based framework includes a metric ton of extra code so that swift can execute inside of the app. I think it adds about 180MB per framework, if I am remembering correctly. So just using 5 third party Swift libraries puts you at almost a gig of storage just from Swift.

      • using 5 third party Swift libraries puts you at almost a gig of storage just from Swift.

        Isn't that lib space used once only for all apps, i.e. another app using the same 3rd party lib will not add another 180MB?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No. iOS doesn't do dynamic linking, every app (and thus their included libs) are completely sperated

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        I don't know if you don't remember correctly, or if you're just a stupid shit who has always been ignorant. I have an app on the App Store that is currently 25MB. It uses Swift.

        While it's true that the Swift runtime must be included with every app, as it's not yet ABI-stable, it's just not that big. And it's only included once per app.

        • I don't know if you don't remember correctly, or if you're just a stupid shit who has always been ignorant. I have an app on the App Store that is currently 25MB. It uses Swift.

          While it's true that the Swift runtime must be included with every app, as it's not yet ABI-stable, it's just not that big. And it's only included once per app.

          And once per framework.

  • That could explain why my iPad 2 is getting sluggish over time.
  • We will always use all the space and time we have.

    • We will always use all the space and time we have.

      This truism isn't true anymore. When disk space was scarce, drives were alway 95-99% full. I remember years ago, walking around the office trying to convince people to delete or compress files on a network drive to free up enough space for me to get my work done. Today, we have 60% free space on our servers. It is so cheap that we don't even bother to clean up anymore. It is more cost effective to just slap on a few more terabytes.

      Likewise with cpu time. In the olden days, I can remember logging into

      • 4MHz? Even a Nintendo Game Boy is faster than that.

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          4MHz? Even a Nintendo Game Boy is faster than that.

          The original IBM XT was clocked at 4.77 MHz. Not a barn-burner, but it started a revolution.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I recently found myself in my new phone without a ride hailing app. Turns out Uber was too big to download OTA, but Lyft was not.

    • How recently? Why in the world was uber your first go to anyway? You are aware Uber's primary MO is to track you until they can corner you in a dark ally and steal your kidney right?

  • I feel like the OS manufacturers (Apple and Google) are doing this on purpose to make people's phones obsolete - especially the lower end models.

    Google force feeds you updates of their core apps (Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Play Store, Play Services) which originally were in the ROM (and therefore did not impact you storage) but then eat up your internal storage (these apps, of course, can't be moved to the SD card). Often, if you reject these updates, these apps will just stop working (esp. if you don't update P

    • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:08PM (#54634189) Homepage Journal

      In Canada all phones are unlocked.

      Only in third world countries like the US do you have locked phones.

  • I used to have more apps on my iPhone 5 SE 64GB.

    I just delete them and let them live in the cloud now.

    FB - gone.

    Look, I don't pay for apps. I already paid for the phone. I don't care why you want me to have an app. I'm not installing it.

    Bloat that!

  • Useless article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:07PM (#54634185) Homepage Journal

    How much did the binaries grow? Because if you added a gigabyte of video to your 300MB app, I just don't care.

    • How much did the binaries grow? Because if you added a gigabyte of video to your 300MB app, I just don't care.

      Probably a lot. These days people are quite happy to add a 500Mb 'framework' to an app just because they need to load a JPG file and can't be bothered to use libjpg.

      (worse ... they probably don't know libjpg exists, they just add the framework-du-jour because it's there).

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        You are apparently unfamiliar with the way linkers work. Perhaps you should read up on decades-old technology before commenting on shit you know nothing about.

    • Pretty sure they are talking about binaries here. Or do you think shooting a lot of video just happens to coincide with the release of iOS10 or that people shoot lots of video with ... gmail?

      • by kwerle ( 39371 )

        I suspect developers do big releases to coincide with OS releases. And in those they include videos with HOWTO material.

        Because code just doesn't take that much space. Even lots of code. It's like comparing text to video. Because that's what it is.

        • I have never seen video with HOWTO material.

          I also challenge your assertion that code doesn't take up much space. It most definitely does, especially when you import loads of additional libraries and functions that you don't need. Also while you're at it its worth looking at what has changed between releases. The release that saw Facebook jump majorly in size also included a video and image editor and a completely new camera program as well. The previous large jump before that: a web browser so you never ne

          • by kwerle ( 39371 )

            For example, it looks like facebook's camera function includes about 15 seconds of what looks like high def video examples. That's a HUGE amount of space (relatively speaking).

            • Can't see what you are talking about. How do I see any video examples? I factory resetted my phone last week and I wasn't offered anything in the form of video information or examples anywhere within Facebook.

              • by kwerle ( 39371 )

                * Launch facebook [and log in]
                * click the camera at the top left corner of the app

                "Welcome to the New Camera" with about 15 seconds of video in the background.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:13PM (#54634241)

    Let's see the same comparison with Android phones.

    I suspect the issue isn't that iPhone apps are growing at a faster rate than the iPhone's storage options. These top apps are going to be cross-platform ones, not iOS-exclusives. What's more likely happening is app file sizes are trending in line with smartphone storage as a whole. The iPhone is the one not keeping up with everyone else in storage sizes, which is a problem when there's no way for the consumer to upgrade the storage themselves.

    • by Altus ( 1034 )

      Yeah because the storage on android phones has gone up 1000 fold in the last 4 years.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Yeah because the storage on android phones has gone up 1000 fold in the last 4 years.

        The article's focus on iPhones is flawed to begin with. As I said before, they aren't iOS exclusive apps. Unless there is something specific about the iOS versions of the apps that is making them grow in size faster than the Android versions, they should just be doing a study of smartphone apps collectively. It's likely just to make the article clickbait.

        And, as I mentioned before -- one big difference is the Android user it likely going to have the ability to upgrade their phone's storage on their own. No,

    • by clonehappy ( 655530 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:58PM (#54634611)

      Wait, so the iPhone is behind in storage? Wha-how?

      I didn't know Samsung et al. sold an Android with more than 256GB of onboard storage, which is the largest iPhone you can buy. In fact, I just looked, and the Galaxy S8 ONLY comes in a 64GB model, at least in the USA.

      The iPhone comes in 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB.

      So, we've learned again, just because someone feeds you bullshit and puts it in BOLD TEXT doesn't make it true.

      Or, somehow, 64GB > 256GB in Android fanboy land.

      Android is the one that has ALWAYS lacked in onboard storage. Their hackaround was being able to move apps to the SD card (on phones that actually still supported one), which generally made them run like shit since the SD card is so much slower than onboard flash. I suspect you don't know as much about these things as you think you do.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        I didn't know Samsung et al. sold an Android with more than 256GB of onboard storage, which is the largest iPhone you can buy. In fact, I just looked, and the Galaxy S8 ONLY comes in a 64GB model, at least in the USA.

        The iPhone comes in 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB.

        App bloat issues aren't a problem for people buying premium storage options on their phones, they're an issue for people having to get the lower models. The iPhone only hit a 32 GB minimum with the most recent model (iPhone 7). So please spare us implying the iPhone wasn't still 16 GB a year ago.

        The Galaxy S8 is only available in a 64 GB version you say? So then, when we look at the two (who are the main competition with each other) and compare their "starting at" price point models, we have Samsung giving

      • Fully agree w/ this. Have a iPhone7 w/ 128GB, and just upgraded my iPad mini to a 4 w/ 128GB. Now I shouldn't have storage issues for a while.

        I also have a Verizon Ellipsis w/ 16GB of internal storage, and I put in a 128GB SD card. While the device allows me to store apps in the SD card, it's still Lollipop, not Marshmallow or Nutella, so I can't re-define the SD card as the internal memory like I'd like to. If only that issue was solved, I'd be perfectly happy.

  • Just looking the size of the application is very crude because for all we know they could just be packing in a lot of additional uncompressed data. What really needs to be looked at is how much of it is executable code and how much is wasted on repetitious framework libraries.

    • This, and probably a lot of SuperUltraUberMegaHD graphics to distinguish your app on the NEW 28.8K display that you can TotallyTellTheDifference(tm) on the 5" screen.

  • Blame Javascript (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtougas ( 152278 ) <damien@@@tougas...net> on Friday June 16, 2017 @12:16PM (#54634261) Homepage

    One of the hottest trends in app building these days is to use Javscript frameworks such as React Native (invented by Facebook) or NativeScript. Everyone seems to be jumping on that bandwagon (it isn't necessarily without merit, as it allows developers to create a native UI experience with cross-platform tools, and share code with the web as well).

    One of the side-effects of this is a huge javascript dependency graph, with (often) thousands of packages. A simple hello world app written in React Native is probably somewhere near 100MB.

    • by esmrg ( 869061 )

      Exactly. A couple of years ago payload growth was due to asset storage. As more and more resolutions were released, games would store multiple copies of each image (sprite or texture) so they would match the resolution of each device they supported. This avoids resampling artifacts at the cost of payload size. Many options were invented to reduce payload bloat such as:
      - Apple Introduced app thinning; where the bundle contains all assets but the device only downloads its resolution
      - Download resources after

      • I need to dig into the Twitter app, at 121.1 MB on my iPhone 6 Plus, to see how it ended up that much larger than Twitterrific at 11.4 MB. I'm guessing it's because The Iconfactory, as Mac development veterans, wrote Twitterrific in straight Objective-C code, while Twitter is using something like React. (I think Tweetbot is even smaller than Twitterrific, but that's probably because Tweetbot doesn't come with any iMessage stickers.)

  • Yes, yes, I know, "Apple's Walled Garden, blah, blah, blah..." Haters will hate.

    But what about Android? As far as this particular metric, I'm gussing it's not exclusive to iDevices...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Appy app apps are appier than LUDDITE programs, so of course they use more apps! Only LUDDITES wouldn't understand this!

    Apps!
    • Appy app apps are appier than LUDDITE programs, so of course they use more apps! Only LUDDITES wouldn't understand this!

      I expected this to be the first post.

  • What on Earth are they stuffing into their apps to make them balloon in size so quickly?

    I remember when my ca. 2013 phone started to run out of space because the fifteen or twenty apps I had installed (including Facebook and Gmail) were taking up much of the half-gig of available storage space. Now I wouldn't be able to fit much more than Facebook in that space.

    I certainly don't see 10x the features in Facebook.

    • What on Earth are they stuffing into their apps to make them balloon in size so quickly?

      Swift.

    • What on Earth are they stuffing into their apps to make them balloon in size so quickly?

      'Frameworks'.

      People want to program in Python via a Javascript bytecode interpreter and HTML5 graphics interface that layers on top of the host device's own sandboxed bytecode interpreter in the web browser.

      They also want a library with every possible multimedia and database access function and an access layer for the advertising/payment framework.

      All of that just so they can show a picture of a cat.

    • I'm not getting this either. People keep blaming Javascript, but we are talking about native IOS here, so it's either Swift or Objective-C. And it's not like they're going to have a bunch of graphics and video in the package, other than logos, backgrounds, etc. All that stuff would presumably be stored on a CMS. So what is all this bulk? Awfully fishy. Too bad it isn't Android we're talking about, or we could just decompile the APK and take a looksee.
  • All the better to spy on you with...

  • All those bits are adding up, I can barely carry my phone around any more.
  • What the hell are they packing into these apps that takes up so much space? This is why we need chat apps without all the garbage stickers and fancy emoticon graphics and video filters and all that other garbage. Just give us something that works, is interoperable with everyone, and is rock-solid.

    While i don't think the situation is quite as bad on Android, it's still ridiculous. Thankfully I don't install any of those top 10 apps. Unfortunately with more people using web app frameworks like Cordova and

    • We desperately ned to get back to web-based applications. The latest web technology covers pretty much every need for a native app that I can think of.

      Others who have posted comments to the article "Chrome To Deprecate PNaCl, Embrace New WebAssembly Standard" [slashdot.org] disagree with you. The consensus there is that HTML documents ought to be static and applications ought to be native. Web applications should work with script turned off, with interactivity through form submission interacting with server-side logic. Applications too rich for that paradigm should be written with Qt, wxWidgets, or a similar cross-platform framework, and distributed as source code under

  • Instead of "increased by 1000%"

    or whatever the correct multiplier is... I'm always off figuring those out.

  • Wouldn't the median of the top 10 apps' size be more statistically significant?

    Unless you're claiming that (almost) everyone installs (almost) all of the top 10 apps, though I didn't see evidence for this.

    However, even as an Android user, I've long been aware that the fastest way to save some space is to temporarily (or permanently) uninstall Facebook.
  • Another good reason to just use the browser and go to the respective websites that way. You also avoid every app knowing all your contacts, birthdays and whatnots that way.

  • And all of these bloated apps need to be updated, which'll go against either your cellular data cap, or your wifi data cap. It's a racket, for sure.

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