Does size really matter? 3 tips to help you reduce your app file size

Size matters?

I have a confession to make, I’ve been very wasteful in the way I package my apps…

Until iPad 3, I never had any issues with file size for my apps. Graphics were small enough to keep universal app file size below 20mb (more on that in a moment) and life was good. Then came the “new iPad” and everything changed…

With the new iPad, and its retina display, file sizes started to become an issue. If I want to create a universal app (which is easier to manage if you’re creating a game for example that needs updates for iPhone and iPad), and have it run in retina mode, the file sizes start to get big… I ended up at 70 MB for my new game, guns of war <<< >>> and that was a problem.

Does file size matter?

On iPad, not that much. iPad storage sizes start at 16mb, and using them on Wi-Fi is fairly common since they are not designed to be in your pocket at all times. When it comes to iPhone though, it becomes an issue.

Apple imposes a 50mb download limit for app file size on 3g networks (no limit on Wi-Fi), so if your app is larger than 50 mb, people will get a message saying they need to connect to Wi-Fi to download it. In many cases, that’s not a problem, but why would you limit your customer base if you don’t absolutely have to? In my personal experience, most apps are more of an impulse purchase, so if I can’t download them when I want to, I’ll just forget about them and not get them.

Here are a few tips to help reduce your app file size:

1. Don’t make universal apps. It’s a bit disappointing, but it looks like graphics heavy universal apps are a thing of the past. If you want to fully support the HD functionality of the new iPad and have rich graphics, you’ll need to make separate iPhone and iPad apps.

2. File formats: some IOS files have to be in .png format, but not all of them. If you use backgrounds in your games or apps (and those are usually the bigger files since they cover the whole screen), you can use .jpg format, which is significantly smaller than the same file in png.

3. File quality: in my experience, you can reduce jpg quality down to about 50-60 percent without it being noticeable in an app. that means that you can get a file that’s several MB in .png format down to 200-400 kb in .jpg format. And this adds up if you have a few different backgrounds in your app. the same goes for audio files. In most cases, sound quality changes aren’t really noticeable to most users unless you go really low, so you can reduce the file sizes of sound affects you use by lowering the quality. This is more of an art than a science, so you’ll need to play with it until you get to a level that seems acceptable to you…

Also, make sure you check the file size after you prepare the archive for submitting to apple, the app file on your disk doesn’t accurately represent the file size apple puts on their app store.

Do you have any other tips on reducing app file sizes? Do you use any best practices you can share? Please share in the comments section below.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image