Mobile App Maintenance: How Often Should I Update?

You've built your app. It's looking great, working well, serving its purpose; people aren’t even uninstalling it - hooray! But alas, that's not the end of it. Apps need to be regularly updated to keep them in working order. Time is of the essence and as it’s a precious commodity for you and app users, it's important how often the software needs to be updated. Let us guide you through when immediate updates are essential to keep your app tip top and in shape.

If you discover a major bug

Even after all the testing in the world, it's unfortunate but likely that you’ll find problems with your app once it's been launched. If the issue is a pesky bug or significant usability problem, it's worth fixing and issuing an update as soon as you can. Something of this nature can affect user numbers or conversion rates, so you can't let it sit.

If you discover a small problem

Sometimes you'll find smaller grumbles that don’t cause any major issues and only need teeny tiny fixes. You have two options in this situation. You can wait until you have a couple of these to act upon, then issue an update with improvements for all or, if you find lots of users are complaining about a small issue, it may be worth issuing an update anyway to keep them happy.

If you need to be the trailblazer

For some companies, their app is integral to the business' success – think Spotify, WhatsApp and Instagram. Staying on top form is important for these high-demand, high-use apps. Facebook issues an app update at least once a fortnight to keep everything ticking over so if the big players are changing the way their users have to think about things like in-app purchases and connectivity, you should too.

If your app is of similar importance to your business, you may want to consider frequent updates too. Regularly updated apps show up more often in the updates lists on Google's Play Store and the Apple App Store, so you may get more opportunities to be seen as well.

If you are building your app bit by bit

Updates are important if you’re using the minimum viable product (MVP) approach to building your app (where you do the minimum that’s needed to get your app to market as soon as possible, then make changes and add features based on user feedback). Because your app will essentially be evolving in small but significant ways, you'll want to push your changes through fairly quickly. This approach should delight users who would otherwise quickly lose interest in an MVP, instead they see the app improve and grow before their eyes. However, if the changes are tiny, just issue a small fix until you have a substantial amount to change.

If the way people will use the app changes  

It's impossible to predict which phones and operating systems your future app users will opt for, but keep an eye out for major releases of either. Things like new iPhone shapes, new Android operating systems and new layers of security across the board will influence how your app works and looks, which will ultimately change the user experience and in some (thankfully rare) cases completely break your app! Make sure that you issue an update when major releases occur so that all users have the same problem-free interface to work with.

There’s more to apps than just app updates. Check out our FREE guide on all you need to know about the post mobile app launch process.

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