Apple bumps approved size for iOS apps, lets them eat twice the memory

People with lower-end iOS devices may see their memory gobbled up quickly

People looking for richer mobile apps may cheer Apple's decision to double the size limit of those approved for sale. But those whose iPhones and iPads have smaller amounts of memory will need to download carefully.

On Thursday, Apple said it is bumping the maximum size of apps to 4GB from 2GB, marking the first time Apple has expanded the size limit since the App Store's 2008 debut.

Larger apps will be able to take advantage of the faster processors and improved screen resolutions found in iPhones and iPads. These hardware updates allow for apps with richer media experiences like high-resolution graphics -- additional features that also mean bigger downloads.

For some Apple iPhone and iPad users, the larger apps will eat up their devices' limited memory. The iPhone 5c, for example, comes with 8GB of storage. Around 3GB of memory is claimed by iOS. Downloading a 4GB app would leave a person with just 1GB of memory.

Even people with 16GB versions of the iPhone and iPad still run the risk of seeing the larger apps consume their device's storage. A 16GB iPhone 6 running iOS 8, for example, would have room for only three 4GB apps with 1GB of memory remaining.

Many mobile apps, including some of the most popular ones, don't require 4GB of space. For example, Facebook's app takes up 64.7MB of memory and Instagram uses 12.4MB. Some, games, though, require more memory to accommodate their detailed graphics.

In September, Apple made available its Metal development tool that can be used to create more advanced graphics for iOS apps. Game developers worked around Apple's 2GB limit by making additional feature downloads available after the app was installed.

In Thursday's blog post on its developer site, Apple said the larger size limit would allow developers to "include more media in your submission and provide a more complete, rich user experience upon installation."

The file size change only applies to apps that are downloaded over Wi-Fi. The 100MB limit for apps downloaded over cellular networks still stands.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobile applicationsAppleconsumer electronicssmartphonesiPhoneMobile OSesmobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?