How Often Should You Update Your App

Now your mobile app is finally ready, approved and released in App Store. New users are flowing into your app, you’re growing and get praising feedbacks from happy customers. It is about time to thinks about mobile app maintenance and updates. Plus, you definitely have on your mind new ways to enhance your mobile app.

So how often do you need app update and what is the maintenance every app requires?

  • The frequency of patches greatly depends on users’ feedback and app performance statistics. The good number is 1–2 small fixes per month.
  • Minor upgrades, redesigns, and new features are made in accordance with the performance/size of your app development team. There is no right number.
  • Prepare 2–3 updates for apps in advance and prospect audience demand. Audience demand is a first and foremost reason to make mobile app updates.
  • 1–4 updates per month — the median frequency of updates for most popular apps across Google Market and App Store.

Stay calm! The frequency of app updates can differ depending on your goals and app’s functionality. Let’s sort things out and talk about software versioning first.

If you’ve noticed each software product comes with its unique version number, like “1.2.8” or “2.1.6”. Those figures are assigned with purpose and there is a formal convention for assigning those version apps numbers.

A traditional software version number consists of three parts separated by dots with such semantics beneath: major_version. minor_version. patch.

  1. The patch number is incremented by any bug fix, little update, and upgrade that doesn’t change the software’s API.
  2. The minor version is incremented if changes are applied to the API, but the newer version is backward-compatible.
  3. The major version number is incremented if you’ve made a massive update with API changes that made your app non backward-compatible, means the older versions of software could not connect with your app.

Each type of changes have a different level of complexity and quite possibly that you won’t even need to apply major updates to your mobile app.

Reasons to Update Mobile App

It’s your call! How do you want to update your apps? You can either make simple bug fixing and respond to user’s feedback or make major improvements and enhance your app with new features.

Revisions

  • Bug Fixing. Typically such kind of fixes are gathered in a single patch in order to save time on updates.
  • Design Refreshment. Small design moves like changing of button colors, adding extra information slot, or a Halloween sterilization.
  • Security Upgrades may be needed if a new security standard occurs, or you’re adding new payment processing option to your mobile app.

Take into account that every update and bug fix you make should be processed and approved by Google Market or Apple’s App Store before updated apps will become available. It may require several weeks for Apple’s App Store to approve a single update, so value your time and try to include several fixes and revisions while updating apps.

Hint: There is a shortcut that allows iOS developers to speed up submission process in case if you have a security fix or crucial bug fix that prevents the app from constant crashes. Use it wisely.

It must be acknowledged that approvement process of an Android applications is much less painful and time-consuming.

Minor and Major Updates

Minor or major releases are made in order to enhance your app beyond its original look and purpose.

  • New Functionality. You may want to add a standalone feature or upgrade existing functionality in order to enable premium account option.
  • New Content. There is a golden rule we use in GBKSOFT: The more often your content should be updated — the more preferable it is to move it to the server side and update via admin panel. You definitely don’t want to update news app three times a day, but new game staff is better to keep on the user’s side of the app in order to raise its performance.
  • Users Feedback. The user always wants something new. For instance, adding new languages can increase app downloads with little or no effort from your side.
Hint: You can make mobile app language localization for free by asking your community for help in exchange for free subscriptions or premium accounts.
  • New Monetization Options. Changing monetization strategy, adding AdSense option adding or enabling in-app purchases will certainly require you to update your app. But think twice before changing your pricing choice for promotions and marketing purposes!
Note! A free app can’t be changed to paid app whereas a paid app can be changed to the free app. The only way you can do it, is by removing your app from the market and then uploading it as a paid one.

Obsolescence

Here’s a standalone set of reasons for apps updates: any mobile app gets old over time. This is an inevitable process that caused by the nature of software itself. As well as hardware is damaged by wear and tear, the software constantly evolves leaving behind the older, not supported version of itself.

Why Mobile Apps Get Old

  • Major_version Updates of third-party APIs, on which your application depends.
  • Updates of third-party systems and frameworks that are used in the mobile app.
  • Span of new libraries, approaches, and techniques makes app’s code outdated.
  • Audience growth: need for scale and more efficient code solutions.
  • Compliance with new hardware requirements/constraints.
  • New devices, form factors, OS versions.

Major Update VS New App

At some point, you may think about a major update and find it easier to create a brand new application instead of tweaking the old one. It may seem rational to build a new app from software development point of view, but better think about it as a mobile app owner.

Major Update

Pros:

  • Easy promotion. Your user base stays intact.
  • Brand loyalty increases, as long as users get new functionality for free.

Cons:

  • Higher expenses if you don’t charge users for new features.
  • Development and design constraints. The app has its baggage you need to deal with.

Releasing New App

Pros:

  • Higher prospected income.
  • No development risks and constraints related to the previous code specifics.

Cons:

  • Higher expenses for promotion. New brand — new links.
  • Difficulties in the migration of users’ setting to the new app.

The only thing to add is you should always think about your audience’s interests first. Whether you’re developing a major or minor update, focus on value and customer satisfaction rate. The loyal audience provides higher revenues, than no audience at all.


Originally published at gbksoft.com.