Why your smartphone storage is filling up so fast

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If you feel like storage on your smartphone is filling up faster than it used to, you could be onto something. A new study shows apps are getting bigger, and the latest tech is struggling to keep up.

An examination of the most-installed apps for iOS from mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower has found that the size of those apps is, on average, 11 times bigger than they were in 2013.

Snapchat, for example, now takes up 51 times more space than it did in May 2013.

Sensor Tower’s head of mobile insights, Randy Nelson, said some app growth was expected, but technology was struggling to keep up.

“It’s not surprising that the size of apps themselves is getting larger,” Mr Nelson said. “In fact, Apple raised the app size cap from 2GB to 4GB in early 2015. What’s surprising is how much faster they’re increasing in size compared to device storage itself.

The total space required by the top 10 most installed iPhone apps has grown from 164MB in May 2013 to about 1.9GB today.

That is an 1100 per cent increase in just four years.

Facebook is the largest of the apps Mr Nelson looked at, now clocking in at 388MB – up from just 32 MB at the start of Nelson’s analysis period.

Fixes on the way

Apple is aware of the storage requirements being placed on modern iOS devices by developers and is seeking to help with the problem.

When it launches iOS 11, it will introduce new features to help users make the most of the storage they have, including offering suggestions about infrequently used apps and the option to offload them, removing the core apps while retaining all their settings and data for when they are needed again.

Until then, the best option is to complete a regular manual audit of the apps you use frequently and those that you don’t, and to cut the fat regularly.

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Written by Ben


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