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Survey: Many smart phone apps deleted to gain more storage space

March 19, 2018
Poll also indicates many may also be under-reporting their use of mobile applications.

Truckers who delete mobile applications from their smart phones to gain more storage space on their devices or simply because the app didn’t do what it was supposed to do are in good company, according to a new survey.

A full quarter of smartphone owners (25%) delete apps simply because their phone's storage space was full and they needed room, a poll of more than 500 smart phone owners conducted by how-to website The Manifest recently discerned.

Those smart phone users, who use at least three apps daily, said they need for more storage space ranked third among reasons for deleting apps, behind "I hadn't used the app in a long time" (32%) and "the app didn't fulfill my needs" (26%).

It can be particularly challenging, however, for businesses to have people delete their app simply because users needed storage space, said Alex Levin, co-founder of L+R, a Brooklyn-based creative agency and interviewed as part of this survey – pointing out that app developers need to “critically think “about what is stored locally on the app and what is available via an internet connection.

“Make sure that everything stored on the device is necessary,” Levin stressed. “Keep it really lean – don't have images or content that don't need to be there. Make sure these things are instead pulled down from the cloud or generated with native code.”

An app shouldn't be exceptionally large, he explained, but it should be accessible when the user doesn't have an internet connection, such as when travelling internationally, commuting in subway tunnels, and other similar scenarios.

The poll also found most people often under-report how often they use mobile apps. When asked about their overall daily app usage, 32% of respondents in The Manifest‘s survey say they open any mobile app on their phone only one to 10 times a day – a low estimate, said Sheana Ahlqvist, lead UX researcher at PhD Insights.

"There tend to be large differences between 'self-reported' estimates of behavior and actual measures of behavior," she explained.

And when it comes to generations, millennials typically report higher app usage, with one in five millennial app users (21%) say they open a mobile app more than 50 times a day, compared to just 2% of Baby Boomers.

Although millennials use apps more, they may also be reporting their app usage more honestly, L+R’s Levin noted.

“[Older respondents] may want to assume that they're not so reliant on their phone,” he said. “Whereas younger respondents are answering in a less aspirational way because they don't think of it as negative. They feel fully empowered and know that technology is here as a way to help them with their everyday life.”

This suggests that younger users likely have “less stigma” associated with high mobile app usage, Levin added.

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