A few years back I accidentally bought my wife a 16GB iPhone and spent the rest of the year making sure she could snap a picture by removing and reinstalling apps and deleting old messages I hoped she wouldn’t want to read again.
It’s not a mistake I intend to make again.
Like a number of the more vocal members of the community, I wonder why Apple continues to sell a premium device with paltry storage. I’m not convinced it’s as simple as average selling price (I’d bet it has more to do with corporate sales) but my insight is about as an uninformed as they come.
The fact is they are selling these machines, and we have to believe Apple has a plan for dealing with it.
When iOS 9 was announced with “app thinning” I was interested in how much of an impact it would have. When the release of app thinning was delayed at launch, it gave me an opening to record my current app sizes and compare them a month down the road.
There was no method to how these apps were chosen. I eyeballed a good mix of genres / authors, ending with 63 apps I’m not embarrassed to say are on my phone.
I started the day I recevied my new phone (9/29) and stopped when I grew tired of recording numbers (11/15).
To check the size of the app, I visited the Storage & iCloud Usage page in Settings and then dove into each application to make sure the size I was reporting didn’t include any generated or downloaded content.
I ended up with 63 apps over all. Data was collected on an iPhone 6s Plus.
From these 63 apps, I saw a net decrease of 8.5% for a savings of nearly 650MB.
Apple’s Pages was the big winner, shedding 66MB, followed by Numbers (60MB) and Facebook (56MB).
In terms of percentage lost, Overcast managed to lose the most of what little size it started with, shedding 42% of it’s original weight. Close behind was Facebook, losing 40%, and Scopa Pro down 39%.
Checking for app sizes is a pain.
Some full-featured apps were surprisingly small to begin with. Overcast–a favorite in the world of podcasting–at its heaviest was only 7.6MB. It shed 40% of it’s weight, coming in at only 4.4MB. I stopped using Overcast during this test, but kept it around because it is a testament to craftsmanship.
I didn’t spread the genres around as well as I thought I did. It didn’t seem to matter much–there was little correlation between the category and the size reduction.
I checked a few times over the past month and half and the app sizes were always fluctuating a bit. A few MB one way or the other doesn’t mean much.
I spot-checked these sizes against an iPad Air 2. They were relatively close to what is reported below. I imagine other devices will see greater savings since they’ll be able to shed the bitmaps associated with these large screens.
(Click on the headings to sort)
|Social Networking||5||-103.6 MB||76.9%|
|Health & Fitness||5||-59.8 MB||87.2%|
|Photo & Video||5||-47.5 MB||91.1%|
|Food & Drink||2||8.3 MB||109.2%|
Fair warning: these are affiliate links!
|Name||Genre||Original||Final||MB Δ||% Δ|
|Overcast||News||7.6 MB||4.4 MB||-3.2 MB||57.8%|
|Reeder 2||News||6.3 MB||6.3 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Periscope||Social Networking||18 MB||12 MB||-6 MB||66.6%|
|Dark Sky||Weather||14 MB||14 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Strategery||Games||14.1 MB||14.1 MB||0 MB||100%|
|WatchESPN||Sports||19.1 MB||15.2 MB||-3.9 MB||79.5%|
|ChefSteps||Food & Drink||15.6 MB||16.1 MB||0.5 MB||103.2%|
|7 Minute Workout||Health & Fitness||17.6 MB||17.6 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Automatic||Lifestyle||26.8 MB||20.2 MB||-6.6 MB||75.3%|
|FOX Sports GO||Sports||31.1 MB||23.4 MB||-7.7 MB||75.2%|
|Netflix||Entertainment||41.1 MB||27.3 MB||-13.8 MB||66.4%|
|WolframAlpha||Reference||20.4 MB||28.2 MB||7.8 MB||138.2%|
|Scopa Pro||Games||48.4 MB||29.4 MB||-19 MB||60.7%|
|Vimeo||Photo & Video||46 MB||29.5 MB||-16.5 MB||64.1%|
|Mint||Finance||39.9 MB||29.9 MB||-10 MB||74.9%|
|Amex Mobile||Finance||32 MB||32 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Untappd||Social Networking||37.4 MB||32.6 MB||-4.8 MB||87.1%|
|Things||Productivity||35.2 MB||35.2 MB||0 MB||100%|
|News||45.9 MB||36 MB||-9.9 MB||78.4%|
|Slack||Business||42.3 MB||39.8 MB||-2.5 MB||94%|
|Alien Blue||News||39.8 MB||39.8 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Betterment||Finance||61.7 MB||42.9 MB||-18.8 MB||69.5%|
|Capital One Wallet||Finance||34 MB||42.9 MB||8.9 MB||126.1%|
|Apple Store||Lifestyle||49.7 MB||49.7 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Yelp||Travel||69.4 MB||52.6 MB||-16.8 MB||75.7%|
|Google Maps||Navigation||44.7 MB||53 MB||8.3 MB||118.5%|
|ESPN||Sports||50.4 MB||53.8 MB||3.4 MB||106.7%|
|Starbucks||Food & Drink||50.7 MB||58.5 MB||7.8 MB||115.3%|
|Philips Hue||Lifestyle||65.8 MB||58.6 MB||-7.2 MB||89%|
|Houzz||Lifestyle||69.9 MB||59.1 MB||-10.8 MB||84.5%|
|WATCH ABC||Entertainment||59.8 MB||59.8 MB||0 MB||100%|
|YouTube||Photo & Video||59.1 MB||61 MB||1.9 MB||103.2%|
|Amazon||Lifestyle||93.9 MB||62 MB||-31.9 MB||66%|
|Runkeeper||Health & Fitness||77 MB||63.5 MB||-13.5 MB||82.4%|
|Workflow||Productivity||63.9 MB||63.9 MB||0 MB||100%|
|MyFitnessPal||Health & Fitness||97.8 MB||64.1 MB||-33.7 MB||65.5%|
|Afterlight||Photo & Video||75 MB||69.1 MB||-5.9 MB||92.1%|
|Camera+||Photo & Video||71.7 MB||71.7 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Walgreens||Lifestyle||71.4 MB||73.4 MB||2 MB||102.8%|
|Yahoo Weather||Weather||106 MB||76.6 MB||-29.4 MB||72.2%|
|eBay||Lifestyle||80.1 MB||77.2 MB||-2.9 MB||96.3%|
|Kindle||Books||115 MB||83.5 MB||-31.5 MB||72.6%|
|Social Networking||140 MB||83.8 MB||-56.2 MB||59.8%|
|Alto’s Adventure||Games||120 MB||84.5 MB||-35.5 MB||70.4%|
|Evernote||Productivity||122 MB||89.2 MB||-32.8 MB||73.1%|
|Social Networking||127 MB||90.4 MB||-36.6 MB||71.1%|
|Airbnb||Travel||115 MB||90.8 MB||-24.2 MB||78.9%|
|Withings||Health & Fitness||109 MB||96.4 MB||-12.6 MB||88.4%|
|Nest||Lifestyle||99.1 MB||98.9 MB||-0.2 MB||99.7%|
|Social Networking||103 MB||103 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Threes!||Games||108 MB||108 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Yahoo Fantasy Football||Sports||115 MB||127 MB||12 MB||110.4%|
|Two Dots||Games||148 MB||131 MB||-17 MB||88.5%|
|Google Docs||Productivity||131 MB||134 MB||3 MB||102.2%|
|Editorial||Productivity||142 MB||142 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Google Sheets||Productivity||191 MB||188 MB||-3 MB||98.4%|
|Numbers||Productivity||379 MB||319 MB||-60 MB||84.1%|
|Pages||Productivity||392 MB||326 MB||-66 MB||83.1%|
|You Are Your Own Gym||Health & Fitness||402 MB||402 MB||0 MB||100%|
|Monument Valley||Games||502 MB||485 MB||-17 MB||96.6%|
|Keynote||Productivity||542 MB||537 MB||-5 MB||99%|
|iMovie||Photo & Video||705 MB||678 MB||-27 MB||96.1%|
|GarageBand||Music||728 MB||728 MB||0 MB||100%|