Report: Android devs update apps nearly twice as often as iOS devs

Android developers send updates nearly twice as often as their iOS counterparts, but it's iPhone users who may be more receptive, based on a recent study from a group of Italian academics. 'Updates Management in Mobile Applications. iTunes vs Google Play' is based on research looking across the top 1,000 apps across both app stores.

  • Apps on Google Play are being updated on average every 28 days, while apps on iTunes are being updated every 59 days.
  • Download figures are around five times higher on Google Play than the App Store.
  • User ratings across the top 1,000 apps on both stores were more than 4 stars but the number of users providing a rating was double on Google Play.
  • iOS apps in the top 1,000 were older on average than Google Play top 1,000 apps, suggesting a higher turnover rate for the most popular Android apps.
  • In both stores around a third (35 percent) of apps are local (defined as at least 40 percent of its downloads coming from its country of origin).

"On iTunes, updates trigger further growth in the number of downloads; by contrast, on Google Play their effect is not significant," the authors wrote. "This result is consistent with the prediction of our theoretical model which suggests that the lack of quality control by Google Play can lead to 'excessive updating': Developers release both high and low quality updates, which, on average, do not impact on downloads."

This is a much more dense and scholarly study than we usually feature in this space, but it's worth considering since updates are such a staple of developer activity. Besides the data, the researchers suggest using minor updates to boost performance, since major updates take not only a lot of resources, but may also suggest a developer or studio is getting a bit desperate to change the user experience in ways that existing users may or may not want.

For more:
- see the full report

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