One of the biggest mistakes made by people who have just developed their first app is thinking that they are done with the development side of the business. Think of an app like a car. It may not need servicing the week or the month that you purchase it, but eventually you are going to need to change the oil, get new tires or have the brakes repaired. Otherwise the car won’t work.
Apps are much the same. Once an app is developed and has gone through the approval process of the app store, it is going to work. Eventually however, people are going to upgrade their phones and a new version of the operating system is going to be released. And guess what? Your app is still probably going to work. But again, phones will be upgraded and new operating systems are going to replace the old. With each upgrade in technology, the app becomes more obsolete. That is unless you upgrade the app too!
Even if you are not adding new features, upgrading your app periodically is necessary for it to remain useable by the highest amount of people. If you are not making updates to your app, it will be eventually pulled down by the app stores because it will no longer meet their standards.
But even if you could count on the current operating system to be around for some time (and good luck with that!), there are still some other really good reasons why you should be updating your app on a regular basis.
App Updates Are Good Marketing Tools
These days, most people have several screens worth of apps that are downloaded to their phones. Oftentimes people will use an app for a while and then forget about it. Having the occasional update notice appear will help to keep your app top of mind for the user and may increase the chances of them using it more often.
But not only do updates help you market to current users, they may help you attract new users as updates usually result in a bump in your app store rankings.
App Users Can be Unforgiving
As mentioned, the more changes there are to operating systems without corresponding updates to your app, the less functionality the app will have. And this is a big deal because app users are an impatient bunch. According to a report released by QualiTest, 88% of users will stop using an app that has glitches or bugs.
Major App Updates vs. Minor App Updates
Updates to your app can be either minor or major. When you update your app to keep it current with a new operating system or to fix a bug, it is considered a minor update. A major update is one that adds new features. When you make a major update, the first decimal number of the version usually gets bumped up (i.e. v1.1 to v1.2) while a minor update will usually result in an update to the last number of a three-digit sequence (i.e. v1.2.1 to v1.2.2).
Are App Updates Expensive?
While there is a cost associated with updating your apps, this should be factored into your business expenses. After all, the risk of not doing regular updates is that you will lose users and eventually you will lose your listings in the app stores.
Unless you are proficient in doing your own updates, you will either have to pay a developer each time you would like an update or you will have to get some kind of maintenance plan. But just like you need to get your car serviced on a regular basis to keep it in the best condition, so too will your app require regular updates.