It is no secret I have always had interest in making mobile apps as lightweight as possible. Back in 2014, I wrote “Putting Your APKs on Diet” explaining in details the anatomy of an APK and giving several tips and tricks Android developers can use to reduce the binary size of an APK.
We’re now in 2017 and mobile apps are bigger than ever. According to Sensor Tower’s analysis of App Intelligence1, the total space required by the top 10 most installed iPhone apps in the U.S. has grown from 164 MB in May 2013 to about 1.9 GB in May 2017, a 12x increase in just four years. Unfortunately, this analysis only focuses on iPhone apps but, from my experience, Android apps has also increased in size in the past four years.
One might say, app file size increase is actually completely normal. Indeed, a lot of things changed in the past 4 years and users expectations increased too: devices have higher densities, apps bundle more features and provide richer experiences, etc. As a consequence, the question is not “Is the increase in file size normal?” but rather “Is the increase in file size smaller/larger than it should”. In other words, does the increase worth the value? The answer to that question is rather complex and subjective.