When should I update my mobile app?


When Should I Update my Mobile App?

After months (or years?!) of developing process, you’ve finally finished your mobile app and submitted it to the Stores. In anywhere from 4-5 weeks – maybe shorter or longer – you receive the reviews and comments about bugs in your app and requests for a new feature. Whoops. Probably, it’s not what you’ve expected. But it’s inevitable. Searching out the perfect time and means of mobile app updating is a crucial part of its success. While some popular apps in the stores make a release of a new update weekly, the others don’t offer such option within a month or more. Why does this happen? Let’s find the answers to the question of general interest:

When should I update my mobile app?

First thing first, it isn’t obvious for everyone, that except purely programming standpoint about the necessity of app updates, they are also one of the best marketing tools. Releasing regular updates keeps your app top of mind and top of the list in Google Play and App Store. For fair, it’s a reliable method of building a loyal following. Still, you should not exaggerate with app updates. Feel the difference between bringing value to the users with the new app update and annoying with yet another “bug fixing” in a release note. It’s also a good point to mention, although it’s out of the direct relation to the post topic.

There is a number of ways to recognize if it’s a high time to update your mobile app. It shouldn’t necessarily meet all the following criteria to call for an app update. Even one consideration may be a signal for a certain work in this direction. Straight to the criteria:

1. Bug fixing

The most-often observed criterion of app updates is bug fixing. No matter how much a developer has tested the app before the release, there are always going to be bugs and issues that only become evident with a more broadly app usage. Thus, in order to prevent the app crashes and guarantee its optimal performance, the app requires fixing and positively, an update release. How to understand if a new update contains bug fix or some major release? The answer is hidden in version numbers. For example, the version 2.3.3 indicates that it is the second major release of the app. Then, the first “3” indicates that it is the third minor version of that release and the second “3” shows that it’s the 3rd revision or bug fix to that minor release.

2. New feature

A desire to add a new feature to your app is also a good reason for an update release. More often, this desire comes from the users themselves. In the comments and reviews to your app, you may often see the users’ requires to add a new feature. Surely, you should not honor all these requests, but if a large percentage of the users ask you for it, you should give a huge consideration on this account. At long last, the principal goal of the app is to bring value to the customers. If you do that, you receive the benefits.

3. OS update

With big OS updates, some apps stop working. With iOS 11 for example, these are older 32-bit apps that will no longer work, until they receive an update. Still, you should know that this happens once in a blue moon and doesn’t affect all the devices. Besides, the major OS updates usually bring a number of significant new features to the devices that you might like to integrate into your app.

4. Design trends

One of the reasons of a new update release might be the desire to offer foremost and edgy visual design to the users. If your mobile app feels and looks like it is designed for 4th iOS generation, you would hardly succeed with it. Actually, it would hardly be approved by Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines or Google’s Material Design. Keeping the user interface design up-to-date is a must today. An app won’t be recommended by its users if the design hasn’t delighted them one way or another.

5. Expanding devices & platforms

Going mobile, some startups prefer to begin with one platform (e.g. Android only) or one device (e.g. smartphone only) and over time extend their app on others. This can include creating a tablet-specific version or going from Android to iOS. You should understand there that expanding to other platforms and devices require the reworking of the backend service or the app’s data model.

Concluding note

If reading this blog post you find yourself requiring the actions around at least one of the above-mentioned criteria, you’ve probably found the answer to the question “When should I update my app?”. Minor changes and improvements are always a good idea. Continue to balance adding new features and stabilizing your mobile app.