How To Improve Mobile App Performance For Android & iOS?

When it comes to mobile apps, performance is non-negotiable. 70% of mobile app users abandon the app if it takes too long to load. 

Let’s assume you own a clothing brand selling premium silk attires at affordable rates. Now you have an amazing website and social media following with the right marketing strategy.

You are getting thousands of downloads every day earning you new potential customers. But your app is buggy and customers often complain of errors, hangs, and malfunctions. 

What will happen next?

The buggy app is ruining the customer experience. The users will be annoyed to use your app and make a purchase. They might even uninstall your app. 

This means that you are not only at risk of losing customers but also negatively affecting your revenue. Poor performing apps frustrate the customers resulting in low customer retention rates, conversions, and engagement. 

Further, a substandard app earns you negative reviews and ruins your brand image. It acts as a hindrance to your business’s sustainability and growth. 

So, what is the solution?

To help you out we have curated this blog with proven tips to improve your mobile app performance.

Let’s dive in.

What is mobile app performance?

Mobile app performance refers to the efficiency of the mobile app in terms of speed, responsiveness, and other KPIs. In simple words by mobile app performance, we mean how well the app is overall “performing”. To evaluate the app’s performance, you can start with:

  • How much time does the app take to load?
  • How much energy it consumes?
  • How fast does it respond?
  • Is the app UI user-friendly?
  • Does the app have bugs?
  • Can customers easily navigate the features?

Other mobile app performance KPIs are:

  • Session length
  • Churn rate
  • Cost per acquisition
  • API latency
  • Load speed
  • Average screens per visit
  • Uninstall rate
  • App store ranking
  • Cost per install
  • Active users

App performance has a significant impact on the conversion rate. If the customers are frustrated, they will drop off your app.

No matter how well your marketing is or the quality products you are selling, if the customers are not able to view those products on the app, they won’t purchase them. 

What are the reasons that cause a decline in mobile app performance?

Mobile app performance can be affected by various factors, and a decline in performance can lead to poor user experience and decreased user satisfaction. 

Here are several reasons that may contribute to a decline in mobile app performance:

1. Network Issues

Poor Internet Connectivity: Slow or unreliable network connections can cause delays in data retrieval, impacting the app’s responsiveness.

Server Issues: If the app relies heavily on server interactions, problems on the server side can affect performance.

2. Inefficient Code

Poorly Optimized Code: Inefficient or poorly written code can lead to slow execution and increased resource consumption.

Memory Leaks: Unreleased memory can accumulate over time, leading to performance degradation.

3. Background Processes

Apps running unnecessary background processes can consume system resources and impact overall performance.

4. High CPU Usage

Intensive Computational Tasks: Apps performing resource-intensive tasks can cause high CPU usage, leading to sluggish performance.

Continuous Background Syncing: Continuous syncing or processing tasks in the background can impact performance.

5. Large Media Files

Large images, videos, or audio files that are not properly optimized can slow down loading times and consume excessive bandwidth.

6. Overuse of Features

Excessive Features: Implementing too many features in an app can result in increased complexity and resource consumption.

Unnecessary Animations: While animations can enhance user experience, excessive or poorly implemented animations may impact performance.

7. Inadequate Testing

Incomplete testing, especially on various devices and network conditions, may lead to unforeseen performance issues.

8. Incompatible Software Updates

OS Updates: New operating system updates might introduce compatibility issues with the app, affecting its performance.

Third-Party Library Updates: Updates to third-party libraries may also introduce compatibility challenges.

9. Device-Specific Issues

Fragmentation: The diverse range of Android devices with different specifications can make it challenging to optimize apps for all devices.

Manufacturer Customizations: Customizations by device manufacturers can impact app performance.

To address app performance issues, developers should conduct regular performance testing, optimize code, consider device and network constraints, and stay updated with platform-specific guidelines.

Regularly updating the app to address user feedback and fix performance issues is crucial for maintaining a positive user experience.

How to improve mobile app performance for both Android & iOS?

1. Reduce the application size

App size plays a big role in determining the app’s performance. The smaller the app size, the more seamlessly it will function on all devices. 

You need to understand that not everyone has access to 4G or 5G connectivity. But they are still your potential customers. So, your app should be developed in a way that requires less storage and network connectivity to function. 

A smaller app size means reduced storage requirements, less data usage, and faster downloads and installations. Further, it also improves user experience with faster launch time, enhanced app responsiveness, and quick updates.

2. Reduce app loading time

App loading time is a crucial factor in shaping the user experience. 

Would you prefer an app that takes over 20 seconds to load?

The average app loading time is 2 seconds. We can still show our patience for 5-10 seconds. But an app that takes over 15 seconds to load feels forever for a user. This is where the user will abandon your app. 

Here are some tips to optimize your app loading time.

  • Optimize and enhance setup processes that demand substantial resources.
  • Periodically clear obsolete cache data to expedite the app’s startup.
  • Postpone resource-intensive tasks until the initial screen is displayed.
  • Retrieve data upon opening specific screens rather than at the application’s launch.
  • Give priority to loading crucial elements and employ placeholders for less essential content.
  • Incorporate splash screens to create the illusion of a swift and responsive app, preventing the appearance of freezing during extended loading periods and preserving brand integrity.

3. Refine client-server interaction

Another deciding factor in mobile app performance is client-server interaction. Enhancing this interaction means faster data sharing which results in a faster response rate and increased overall productivity.

These tips will help you streamline client-server interaction:

  • Improve app loading speed by optimizing the client-server API, reducing unnecessary data transmission to users.
  • Enhance efficiency by organizing content and objects based on their purpose, retrieving them only when required.
  • Ensure seamless usage on networks with poor connectivity by thoroughly testing your app’s performance.
  • Decrease data load time through the utilization of a content delivery network (CDN) that minimizes the distance between users and data sources.
  • Minimize redirects during app launch to accelerate data delivery time to end-users.
  • Implement pagination in the news feed to efficiently manage large data volumes, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.

4. Optimize Networking

Optimizing networking means improving performance, reducing latency, and enhancing efficiency in data transmission. This results in smoother operations and seamless connectivity.

Some ways to improve mobile app performance by optimizing networking are:

  • Try loading textual data first and the image-based data can be a second priority.
  • Avoid duplicate network requests.
  • Design your app so that it adjusts itself as per the connection quality.
  • Ensure effective API designs

5. Optimize images for high mobile app performance

Optimizing the images to the right sizes ensures faster loading time and saves storage space.

Both these factors improve the app performance and user experience by allowing the users to seamlessly navigate through the app.

To optimize images use:

  • Vector images
  • Apply color filters to images
  • Use image caching
  • Use libraries like Fresco

6. Ensure secure payment authentication methods

Users will buy from your app only when they feel safe using the payment methods. That is why you need to integrate standard security protocols for payments in your app.

With a secure payment system in place, you can avoid fraud and create a safe environment for users to enter their sensitive bank/card details for purchase.

Here are some ways to improve online payment security in your app:

  • Implement robust authentication mechanisms for user identity verification, such as two-factor authentication, biometrics, or secure token-based methods.
  • Adhere to compliance standards for secure payments, ensuring PCI DSS compliance, and staying informed about GDPR and local data protection laws.
  • Utilize tokenization techniques to enhance data security by replacing sensitive payment information with unique tokens, minimizing the value of intercepted data to potential attackers.
  • Establish secure network connections during payments by implementing protocols like HTTPS to encrypt connections between the app and server, preventing eavesdropping and data interception.
  • Conduct regular third-party security audits and penetration testing by engaging reputable security firms to identify and proactively address potential security weaknesses.

7. Adjust your screen time

There are thousands of devices each with its screen size and resolution. For you screen size might be a device feature.

But for developers optimizing screen size is crucial to design content in a way that everything fits perfectly ensuring smooth user interactions and less resource consumption. 

Here are some ways to optimize your screen size for maximum mobile app performance:

  • Tailor the app layout to fit different screen sizes
  • Build small and medium screens
  • Optimize for MDPI and HDPI
  • Implement adaptive UI flows

8. Focus on frame rate

On both iPhones and Android phones, it’s important to keep animations and gestures smooth by aiming for a frame rate of 60fps.

If your app runs slower than 60fps, users might notice hiccups. To maintain the ideal 60fps, everything in your app’s visuals should be done in 16 milliseconds.

This is where a 5-millisecond delay, like from garbage collection on Android, can cause problems.

Now, think about the impact on users: If your app misses the 16ms target, it might drop to around 59fps. That might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

Here’s why.

When your app misses the 16ms target, it has to wait for the next frame, even if it only took 19ms to do the work. To users, it seems like your app is suddenly taking twice as long, making it look bad.

9. Optimize your app launch

Ensuring a speedy app launch is crucial as the number of mobile app users grows. 

For optimizing mobile app performance on iOS, consider the following tips to reduce launch time:

  • Embed fewer dynamic libraries.
  • Consolidate Objective-C classes.
  • Eliminate static initializers.
  • Use more Swift, as recommended by Apple.
  • Measure your efforts using DYLD_PRINT_STATISTICS.
  • Discourage the use of dlopen().

On Android, several factors can affect app launch time:

  • Instantiation of many views.
  • Expensive content, such as decoding bitmaps.
  • Running layouts.

To enhance your app’s launch speed on Android, follow these suggestions:

  • Avoid inflating UI parts that are not required during the first launch. Use placeholders for hierarchies that can be optionally inflated later.
  • Minimize memory churns caused by allocation and garbage collections.
  • Utilize tools like Apteligent to monitor and optimize your app’s launch time.
  • Refrain from including the initialization code in your app’s object.
  • Be aware that an app launching for the first time may behave differently from one that has been launched recently.
  • Limit device wakeups, as frequent wakeups significantly impact mobile app performance, decreasing system resources and efficiency. 

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What are mobile app performance metrics that need to be tracked?

Tracking mobile app performance metrics is crucial to ensure a positive user experience and identify areas for improvement. Here are key app performance metrics that should be tracked:

1. App Launch Time

Measure the time it takes for the app to open from the moment the user taps the icon. A quick launch time enhances user satisfaction.

2. Response Time

Evaluate the responsiveness of the app to user inputs. This includes touch interactions, button clicks, and other user-triggered actions.

3. Error Rate

Monitor the frequency of errors and crashes in the app. A high error rate can lead to a poor user experience and user abandonment.

4. App Load Time

Track the time it takes for content, images, and other resources to load within the app, especially for data-heavy applications.

5. Network Latency

Measure the time it takes for the app to communicate with servers and fetch data. High network latency can lead to slow data retrieval and impact user experience.

6. Battery Consumption

Assess the impact of the app on the device’s battery life. Excessive battery consumption can lead to negative reviews and uninstallations.

7. Memory Usage

Monitor the app’s memory consumption to identify potential memory leaks or inefficient resource usage that could lead to crashes.

8. CPU Usage

Track how much of the device’s CPU resources the app is consuming. High CPU usage can result in device slowdowns and negatively affect other applications.

9. App Size

Evaluate the size of the app, including the installation size and any updates. Large app sizes may discourage users from downloading or updating the app.

10. Retention Rate

Assess how many users continue to use the app over time. A declining retention rate may indicate issues with the app’s performance or user satisfaction.

11. Conversion Rates

Measure the success of specific actions within the app, such as completing a purchase or signing up for a service. Low conversion rates may signal usability or performance issues.

12. User Engagement

Analyze user engagement metrics, such as the time spent in the app, the number of sessions, and the most frequently accessed features. This provides insights into user preferences and behavior.

By regularly monitoring these metrics, developers can proactively address performance issues, enhance the user experience, and ensure the overall success of a mobile app.

Conclusion

Your app is your opportunity for the brand to grow and be globally recognized. So, it’s your responsibility to offer a quality user experience by optimizing the app components to maximize mobile app performance. 

A highly responsive and well-designed app attracts customers, converts leads into sales, and builds your brand image. It is the key to user retention, high engagement, and customer satisfaction. 

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