A podcast discussing news of note in iOS Development, Apple and the like.

#193: Update Treadmill.

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Today I’m going to dive into the world of app updates. Why we do them, how often we do them and whether they are important.


I did a long analysis of the update trends in the App Store. I recommend you visit that yourself but the short version is:

  • 50% of Top Apps are have been updated in the last 3 months (26% overall)
  • 86% of Top Apps in the last year (60% overall)
  • 300,000 apps were updated in the last 3 months.
  • 480,000 apps are effectively abandoned (no updates in last year)

Types of Updates

An actual shipped update might include more than one of the following categories but it is likely constructive to think about why you are making a change before you make it.

  • Compatibility: An update that exists to allow the existing feature set to work on new hardware, operating system, API, etc.
  • Remedial: An update that exists to correct a flaw or deficiency in existing functionality.
  • Defensive: An update that exists to keep up with the competition.
  • Enhancement: An update that adds functionality or capability to the app.
  • Marketing: An update with purpose of drawing attention to the app or garnering revenue.
  • Refactor: An update that does not change the user facing portions of the app but improves it internally.

Things to consider

  • Is this update necessary? Why, concretely, am I doing it?
  • Does adding this functionality improve the app for most users?
  • Would adding the functionality hurt the experience of any of my users?
  • How do I expect to be compensated for the time I put into this update?