New iOS 11 feature could alleviate iPhone storage problems

Just about every iPhone user has seen that dreaded ‘your storage is nearly full’ message – and it’s likely to be appearing more often too. The latest study of the most popular iOS apps by app store marketing intelligence company Sensor Tower revealed that, on average, iPhone apps are now three times larger than they were four years ago.

Sensor Tower Head of Mobile Insights Randy Nelson said that some apps have grown even more than that; Snapchat is 51 times as big as it was in 2013 and Facebook now takes up 388MB compared to 32MB when the Sensor Tower study started.

According to Nelson, new features are the main culprit. Snapchat, for example, is involved in a feature war with Facebook and Instagram, regularly adding more filters and tabs to compete.

Games are also getting bigger, Nelson said – often because of enhanced graphic abilities. Both the iPad and iPhone now have larger screens, meaning app developers have to support a larger array of screen sizes.

However, Nelson believes things may improve as developers phase out support for older iPhones and iPads.

The short-term solution? Using mobile internet more to access the functionality and services apps provide and simply installing less apps, but this won’t help in the longer term if apps continue to get bigger

Apple is looking to solve the problem with its new mobile operating system, iOS 11, which is due to be released later this year. It will have the option to ‘offload’ an app, deleting it from your iPhone or iPad but retaining the data so it doesn’t have to be set up again if you reinstall it later.

Nelson does not see the problem going away anytime soon, though; apps are becoming more advanced graphically and more sophisticated generally all the time, so your next iPhone may simply have to be the one that offers the most storage space.

“If you know that you’re going to have an eighth of your storage taken up by the top ten apps, you’ll probably push to pick up a larger phone,” said Nelson.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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