When it comes to smartphone ownership, there are few moments more frustrating than running out of storage space. You can’t just delete a few old photos or an app you never use — you’ll go on a cleaning spree so that your phone won’t fill up every time you try to put something new on it.
But is it starting to feel like you’re running into this issue more often than you used to? If so, you’re not imagining it: The storage space on your iPhone simply doesn’t go as far as it once did.
According to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, the most-installed iOS apps are, on average, 12 times bigger than they were in 2013. For example, Snapchat, which is one of the ten most popular apps on the App Store, launched with a download size of just 4 MB back in 2013. Four years later, Snapchat takes up 203 MB on your phone. That’s a 51x increase, but still doesn’t make Snapchat the biggest app.
The honor of “popular app that takes up the most space on your phone” belongs to Facebook, which currently clocks in at 388 MB. Back in May 2013, it only required 32 MB of space. In fact, a single update last September bumped the size of the Facebook app up by 100 MB. That’s space you’ll never recover.
Popular social and productivity apps like Snapchat, Gmail and YouTube aren’t the only offenders. Games have increased in size as well, even relatively simple games like Candy Crush Saga, which jumped from 48 MB in 2013 to 223 MB this year. But it’s not just game updates — games in general are larger than ever, with graphically-intensive title like Injustice 2 taking up 1 GB or more on their own.
Thankfully, Apple is implementing new features and functionality to deal with this runaway train. With the release of iOS 11, Apple will introduce a new format that will cut down on the file size of photos and videos. Additionally, your iPhone will begin to suggest that you remove apps that have gone unused for months, while offering users the option to offload them: Keep the settings and preferences but remove the actual app. That way, if they ever want it back, they can pick up where they left off.