Android apps and constant updates

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I was going through my Twitter time line recently when I came across a tweet by Mister Mo about regular Android application requiring updates, here’s the tweet below:

And my reply to Spacyzuma and Mister Mo was this:

This post is to reinforce what I stated in my response tweet. Android, and in fact any other operating system out there be it mobile or desktop, needs updates, be it application updates or operating system updates.

You might argue that Android applications have a more vicious update cycle and you would be right. But then that is mainly due to the fact that there are a myriad of devices out there running Android.

The updates are meant to patch bugs, fix connection issues and most times improve the overall application itself. Why would you want to use an outdated app just because it gets updated regularly? (and gets better too). This amazes me why you wouldn’t want to do something that helps applications on your phone run optimally.

This is my 2 cents on the issue of regular Android app updates. If you own an Android device and you face the same issue what do you think?


  1. Emmanuel,

    You might argue that Android applications have a more vicious update cycle and you would be right. But then that is mainly due to the fact that there are a myriad of devices out there running Android.

    All these matter nothing if these vicious updates mean that users have to spend more – and that is often what it means.

    I was with someone yesterday who needed me to help setup something on his Android smartphone. When I launched Play Store, there were 14 updates waiting for him. He hissed and said to me that he does not bother again, because those updates came every other day and keep wiping out his monthly budget for mobile internet.

    I activated hotspot on my HTC One X and used that to run those updates for him.

    Point: If users cannot afford to run those updates, they cannot. It is a problem for many. A serious one too.

    Of course, even though I can personally afford to run those updates, I still find them pesky. Very. The cycle is too vicious. I own a device on almost every platform out there, and Android’s app update cycle is terrible in comparison with those others.

  2. @Mister Mo
    I get the fact that it is an issue but the same people who complain about having so many updates are the ones that install applications without second thought from the Store. While it is not a problem initially but in the end they complain about installing updates which i cannot seem to get.

    The update cycles also bothers me but i still do it because i know that not updating will be end up frustrating me in the end.

  3. They can be so annoying. Some even update on daily basis.
    I like to update whenever I see an update, however if an application I don’t regard as being essential is updating to frequently, I simply uninstall it.

  4. I don’t use an Android device but right here on my symbian, I always like when I see updates to third party or pre-installed apps.
    Like Emma rightly said, updates fixes bugs and stuffs like that. It also makes me feel updated.
    I install most app updates I see even though the app is seldomly used.
    I also don’t mind updating and updating till infinity if I have the money.

  5. If users cannot afford to run those updates, they cannot. It is a problem for many.

    Mr Mo you hit the nail on the head there. With internet still abit pricey here and Androids data puzzling tendencies, most people in this parts would rather skip on the updates to conserve their data. I get regular notifications for updates too and since I can afford it, I download them. Sadly, not every one fits into this category.

  6. While I do agree that its a good idea to keep your apps up to date, I think it doesn’t have to be all the time. Most times, especially on android, the updates just fix certain bugs associated with one particular phone. A good way of knowing if an update is worth it is by reading the changelog from the play store (if the publisher posted one). It is also good practise to not jump to updating apps (especially mission critical apps) immediately after an update becomes available. Let it be for a while. That update might turn out to be a regression afterall. I experienced that a while back when I updated my yahoo messenger app on blackberry and lost the ability to create new contacts on my phone. I didn’t even know what caused that until another update became available and I noticed in the changelog that ymessenger had been the cause all along. Another good example more recently is the update to certain iOS apps that made them crash at launch due to a problem with apple’s fairplay DRM.

  7. t is also good practise to not jump to updating apps (especially mission critical apps) immediately after an update becomes available.

    Nice point @muyiscoi, this happens a lot too. Sometimes the best thing is to wait and gather feedback from users who installed it.

  8. I also don’t mind updating and updating to infinity if i have the money.

    Now that’s the part I don’t seem to comprehend.
    Regarding the fact that updates are very important, I can’t help it when it too much and too often. It’s soo damn annoying.

    Yes, I always download any available update provided for my Nokia 5230 but that doesn’t apply my computer. I have a desktop running windows 7 ultimate which has tons of updates i’m still yet to settle.

    Initially, I started downloading the windows update for sometime then i discovered it was getting too much. My 3GB monthly data subscription runs out without me utilising it properly.

    Furthermore, the speed at which the updates are downloaded from the windows update server isn’t encouraging, even on a 3G connection, it moves at snails speed.

    At the moment, I’ve got over 1.7GB of updates waiting to be installed.

  9. Frequent updates on Android shouldn’t really be an issue since one can easily ignore the updates or even clear the icon from the notification bar if its presence makes one uncomfortable. And yes, I constantly have a good number of apps that are never updated and since I have marked them for manual update, they are neatly grouped together below the ones for automatic update.

    If an app that I do not use like some of the bundled apps, has update, I do not even bother to check what the improvements/new features or bug fixes are. I simply make a mental note of those as the ones I should not bother myself with. And I do not just install updates without reading the changelog as someone here pointed out. Some updates may be fixes for other devices or OS versions or even issues you may not be having, with no new features so, there should be no need to download such updates.

    And finally, if you don’t like updating your softwares and hate the update notification, then turn off background data and your problems would be solved.

  10. Harry Echemco absolutely spoke my mind there.

    Most updates are incremental on Android. They are not worth bothering about. Turn AutoSync / AutoUpdate off for apps (unless data consumption is not an issue).

    Turn off background data unless while accessing the Market.

    update only after reading the changelog. otherwise, just ignore any update notice.

    a lot of the times, rushing to update proves unwise (my refusal to update the Sony XPeria to ICS has paid off, based on reports!)

  11. I don’t like outdated apps on my phone. Nokia store only informs me about updates when I log on unlike on android where the updates are pushed to you. So once a don’t go to nokia store I don’t know about updates (for most of the symbian apps installed on my phone)

    Nice and less stressful!

  12. I agree with Harry. I don’t feel the need to always update apps, in fact I have about 11 apps on my phone supposedly waiting to be updated, the majority of which won’t.

    Originally I updated one app, then realised it was a waste of space and uninstalled it. I always check reviews before updating, and read what exactly is being updated. If the updates aren’t relevant, I don’t bother and I always make sure I backup my apps just in case I dislike the update.

    @EyeBeeKay, updates only get pushed to you if you haven’t deselected automatic update for the app(s)

  13. Thank you, Noni.

    A question, which controls these app updates?

    “background data” or “mobile data”?

    in other words, if you
    selected automatic update for an app,is it “background data ” that opens the data_ floodgate? Or “mobile data”? Or both?

  14. You guys don’t know what update is. Come over to iOS and see better updates. 😀
    I currently have up to 58 pending updates on my iPhone and 24 pending on my iPad. And mind you, our iOS updates are not kobo kobo update. We are talking of some in the region of 850Mb per app. iOS apps are the heaviest apps i’ve ever seen. An app on android would usually have its iOS equivalent weighing x4 or x5. And if you think android OS updates too frequently, come over to iOS and experience unmatched frequency of updates.

    The thing to do if you don’t want to play the “Big Boy” is to ignore the updates and only update the apps you use and depend upon. In androids, automatic update should be disabled for ALL apps or you end up doing nothing on your phone other than updating each time you switch on. Thankfully, there is no automatic updates for iOS. You do it manually.

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