App Maintenance

App Maintenance

App maintenance is the phase after the mobile app development process and subsequent launch where developers ensure that the app remains relevant, secure, and enjoyable for users in the context of the constantly evolving technological landscape and the massive increase of additional app users.

Why is app maintenance important?

Ultimately, mobile app maintenance aims to provide a superior user experience to ensure that as many people as possible use the app. The more users an app has, the more financially sustainable it tends to be, regardless of its primary monetization model.

Without ongoing and well-executed maintenance, the following app vulnerabilities can emerge:

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  • Disgruntled users. Bugs, crashes, and outdated features lead to frustration and churn, causing users to abandon your app.
  • Security vulnerabilities. Unpatched vulnerabilities expose user data to security risks, damaging trust and potentially leading to legal repercussions.
  • Poor app store ranking. Outdated mobile apps often go down the rankings in app stores, impacting discoverability and downloads. These rankings are so crucial that app store optimization (ASO) is essential to app development.
  • Increased cost of repairs. Ignoring minor issues can snowball into larger problems later, requiring more resources and effort to fix.

Activities involved in app maintenance

Mobile application developers should provide the following app maintenance services to ensure longevity, reliability, and continued relevance:

  • Bug fixing. Promptly and effectively addressing reported defects and crashes to maintain a smooth user experience. In many cases, troubleshooting bugs leads to a large increase in active users, like what happened to the Grill’d app.
  • Performance optimization. Enhancing app speed, stability, and resource usage ensures users don’t delete the app due to slow-loading pages and other similar performance issues. Optimal app performance is a crucial factor in ensuring high user retention.
  • Security updates. Implementing security patches to protect user data and privacy.
  • Feature updates. Adding new features and functionalities to keep users engaged and attract new ones.
  • Compatibility updates. Ensuring the app adapts to new operating system versions and hardware advancements.
  • Analytics and insights. Monitoring user behavior and app performance to inform future updates and improvements.
  • Content updates. Keeping app content fresh and relevant, like updating news feeds or product catalogs.
  • Marketing and user engagement. Maintaining ongoing promotional efforts and user communication to retain existing users and attract new ones.

Factors that affect app maintenance costs

  1. App size & complexity. Smaller, simpler apps are easier and cheaper to maintain compared to larger, more complex ones. A simple app with fewer features and less code demands less upkeep. Conversely, larger and more intricate apps with extensive features and codebases require more resources for maintenance.
  2. User base. The number of users impacts maintenance expenses. Apps with a substantial user base require more resources for maintenance due to the volume of generated data, which can pose challenges in management. Moreover, a larger pool of users correlates with increased customer support needs, further driving up maintenance costs. However, one way to address large-scale app support needs in a cost-efficient manner is through customer experience automation.
  3. Update frequency. Maintenance costs escalate with the frequency of app updates. Regular updates require extensive resources for tasks like mobile app testing and deployment, which are both time-consuming and costly. Additionally, each update introduces the potential for new bugs, adding to the app’s maintenance cost.
  4. Platform & operating system. The platform and operating system for which the app is built affect maintenance costs. iOS and Android, being distinct operating systems with different architectures, demand varied maintenance approaches. Consequently, maintaining an iOS app differs from maintaining an Android app, as each platform requires tailored attention and resources.
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