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Key ways of reducing size of Android apps during app development

Digitalization is on the rise. In fact, the world is digital and digital transformation is changing everything (going hand in hand with analog in some places). Now with mobile phones raising their storage spaces, it will keep on rising when app makers strive to meet more customer requirements, adding new features and even supporting apps on multiple screen sizes.

According to numerous statistical resources, the Android operating system has more than 3 billion active users. Moreover, more than three fourths of Smartphones around the world are supported by Android itself. Also, more than 70% of consumers in various markets around the world are concerned about an app’s size because of the space it occupies.

Is it challenging to develop apps that consume less space?

It is a challenging situation for any mobile app development agency to make an app that consumes less space. It also needs to work efficiently on the phone else it becomes a lost cause.

In this post, we will learn about the way app development teams and companies alike can reduce the size of their Android APKs during app development. Developers who have just started or have intermediate experience can always use these techniques as they can help them develop an Android app that does not take up excessive space.

Why does the size of an Android app count? Factors involved in this phenomenon

The world today is mobile and is driven by both mobile devices and apps. Apps have become quite popular and it has raised the demand for app developers developing both native and hybrid apps. Native iOS and Android apps have their own charm. 

Experienced app developers reveal not every native app is the same. Meaning, an iOS app has a different behavior than an Android app due to the difference in structure and programming languages used. However, not every app made for Android or iOS stands out and becomes successful.

In short, not every smartphone user has a preference for each app present. The actual reasons behind this are not that difficult to understand. According to Google, if an app size is above 150 MB, its chances of installation go down by 30%. Previously, the app size cap was 100 MB. Moreover, for each 6MB expansion in size, installation and conversion rates fall by 6%.

Research indicates 65% of users won’t install an app if it is quite large. They will also avoid using such apps as they consume a lot of internet bandwidth and take up more storage space.

What is Google’s solution to this and how can the size of Android apps be reduced?

Today, Google has come up with a worthwhile solution in this regard. It has created the Android app bundle. It allows users to install apps without the need of downloading essential elements. This helps decrease the app’s size by 35% as Google assumes.

There is however a question, and that is what to do if the Android app requires more space? It can be understood that users wish to avoid the trouble of spending a lot of data to download and install just one app.

Here are some proven tips to reduce the size of Android apps (including the APKs) during app development.

Using Android’s app bundle to downsize the app

Developers need to choose between the APK and the Android app bundle when they release the Android app. The Android App Bundle makes Google Play create the APK with those specific users requiring a certain set of features. Here are some tips to follow:

  • For a publishing format which consists of compiled code and app resources, the app bundle can be used and delays APK generation. It even slows signing into Google Play.
  • Android app bundles provide compressed download sizes up to 150 MB. However, the app bundle cannot be used with APK expansion files.

Making use of ProGuard

ProGuard is a very good tool to help reduce the app’s APK size. This reduces the APK’s file size by up to 90%. Whenever developers use the tool, they should try utilizing all of its variants. In fact, ProGuard helps avoid disputes at the APK generated. It can also help in bundling if all variants are used during app development.

ProGuard also helps in removing or renaming any fields on data classes. Developers may not be able to do that by themselves because the data classes should match the serial number order format.

Using the Android Studio plugin

The Android Studio plugin used for size analysis is a good option when it comes to reducing the app’s size by quite a margin. Through this plugin and its APK analyzer, app developers can:

  • Viewing the complete and comparative size of the APK.
  • Understanding the DEX Files’ composition.
  • A quick view of the final versions of files in the APK (especially the AdroidManifest.xml).
  • It carries out a side-by-side comparison of two APKs.

Removing junk and unused code

The APK’s size is directly related to the app’s loading speed. It is also directly proportional to the amount of storage it takes as well as the power consumed. Hence any code which is neither appropriate nor used and is kept for just keeping it, adds more to the app’s junk. This is the very reason eliminating excess, fluff and junk code is needed to keep the app lean, active, energized and sustainable round the clock.

This code removal helps amplify the app’s quality and of its source code too. It reduces the need to maintain the code’s size which results in the creation of an overall healthy app.

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