Mobile App Maintenance

Why care about app maintenance?

If your app is intended for external users, the following variables will change within a few months of its release date and have an impact on its performance:
Hardware: As new mobile devices are released, obsolete apps may no longer function properly.
Operating system: iOS and Android versions are updated every year, and apps must be updated to be compatible with newer versions.
Programming language: Apps will also need to be updated as the programming language evolves (Objective C to Swift, Java to HTML5).
Styles and designs: Prior to Apple and Android adopting material design, mobile UI used to adhere to skeuomorphic design principles. This meant that all apps’ user interfaces had to be updated as well.
Libraries: Most apps rely on third-party libraries and dependencies, which change on a regular basis. Unless the apps are updated, they will be broken.
Usage Patterns: As your app matures, so will your user base, and the UI may need to be refreshed to reflect the changes.
Infrastructure: If the infrastructure on which your app is hosted changes (for example, self-hosted to AWS), you must update the app.
Security flaws: Apps can be affected by security flaws at any time, and you must update the app to fix the vulnerabilities.

The costs of app maintenance

Now that you understand the consequences of ignoring the app update process, you must assess your costs.
The majority of app maintenance agreements are signed on a yearly basis. While app maintenance costs vary depending on the type of app and its complexity, there are some hard numbers you can use as a starting point.
According to Forrester, the average app development cost of $50000-$150000 represents only 35% of the total cost over a two-year period.
The number of updates is also on the rise: according to another survey, nearly 30 percent of app developers update their apps at least once a month.

Monitoring and User Engagement

After you’ve launched an app and placed it on one of the mobile hosting platforms (Google Play or Apple Store), you should monitor its performance. Gather analytics, for example, to gain insights into what your potential users like and dislike about an app, how many users downloaded the app and how many abandoned it, and, most importantly, what the cause was.

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