Guide: How to understand when your app needs major update?

6 Dec

Numerous updates to mobile apps will provide bug corrections or program tweaks. Sometimes there may be a little new feature added too. On lesser-known occasions, a big update occurs. This could be an app that is 1.0 and upgrades to 2.0, 8.0, etc. There may even be a big update that changes the entire experience of using the app. If we take an Instagram, major updates were when Instagram allowed posting videos, changed its design, and added Stories.

When there is a big update to an app, it could create a new experience for users and raise mobile app engagement by adding new features or having a completely remodeled visual design. There are signs which will indicate when a big update is due for your app. Below are the criteria that your app should follow if a major update is required for it. You don’t have to meet each one of these criteria, but at least one of them, for sure.

Important New Feature

Your app’s current features are an indicator whether new features are needed for your mobile application. You may decide that you need to add a new feature which will accommodate the demands of current users in your market. To do this, you will need to provide a major update to your app.

App Updates and New Features

For example, you may want to add an authentication feature to your app or synchronize it between multiple devices. Maybe you’ll want to integrate your app to accommodate a 3rd party service or add some sort of social element to it.

When you add a single new feature to an app, it will slightly change the version number. For example, if you have released v1.1 of your app, and you add a new little feature like 3D Touch, your updated version would be called v1.2 instead of v1.1. However, if you were going to make a major update that would change the entire user experience and visual design of the app, then you might call it v2.1 instead of v1.2.


New Visual Design

If you are going to modify the design of your app, like the visual design or user experience, then you will also need a big update released for the app.

A good example of this was the major Gmail app update for iOS. Gmail v5.0 updates the search function and several other functions. The layout has also changed. After this update was released, it was no longer version 4.n. When Uber made a major design update in mid-2016, their v2.n was upgraded to v3.n after the release.

Poor Metrics Performance

We’ve looked at engagement a lot, such as how to increase mobile app engagement and other relevant metrics. If your app is not getting enough engagement or your app’s store listing shows terrible ratings and reviews, then making a big update to your app is the next step in correcting these issues.

Mobile App Retention Rate

Mobile App Metrics

You won’t always understand what is really going on just from looking at the quantitative data. It could show which screens that users are not looking at or how many users are not using your app anymore. However, this data doesn’t tell you the reason for these actions. All you will know is where the problems exist but not why. So, you must communicate with your real users and find out the reason directly.

Want to create an application?

Let's talk

Get Feedback Regularly

Your app’s qualitative data can mainly be found directly in your app store listing by looking at the reviews. You may also see feedback directly in the app, comparable items, and customer support requests. Pay attention to what people are saying in these apps because you can base your next update on solving whatever the issue was.

You can tell if there is a serious problem with your app by simply studying user feedback. For instance, if you get a lot of feedback about users having trouble using or finding certain features, then you might want to update the navigational system of your app. If you have a lot of users requesting the same type of feature, then you should give it to them.

Don’t count on user feedback completely where metrics are concerned. Make comparisons between your metrics and analytics. Study the objectives you made for your app and research the current state of the market. If you only depend on user feedback to influence your updates, you could be wasting a lot of time and money on adding new features which will bring no real value.


Aging Codebase

If your app’s codebase is just 2 years old, that is already old enough. Just think about how Swift wasn’t even around 4 years ago. Now they’ve already released four versions of it. Technological innovations occur so quickly, so you should do big updates just to maintain a modern codebase for your app.

If you created a major app that had dozens or even hundreds of developers working on it, then updating it with a new codebase will require the same number of developers to come back and work on it. The hard part is that they won’t have as much time to complete this work because time constraints will require them to produce the update quickly. Otherwise, the update they’re working on could become outdated by the time they release it. It can be worse if team members set their own standards for how the codebase should be constructed.

It is not always easy to implement a new feature into your app. If you are constantly regressing in your efforts to update your app, then consider creating new libraries or completely rewrite app altogether.

App Design Does Not Look Modern

Like previously mentioned, a big app update could accommodate a new navigational feature that enhances the user experience. It could also accommodate a new app design that is more modern.

If you don’t follow the newest design trends, then you are not abiding by the Material Design of Google or the Human Interface Guidelines of Apple. You also won’t understand what your users are expecting. Maybe they want a fast app to which they can make an emotional attachment. Your app needs to function and appear to similar apps that are in the app store. Otherwise, users won’t want to keep your app on their mobile devices.

Is it a good time to update your app?

Take the First Step!

App Expansion to Multiple Devices

If you are transferring your app to a new platform or multiple devices, a big update might be needed. Maybe you are making an app version specifically for tablets or want to make an Android version based on iOS version.

Mobile Application to Expand to Multiple Devices and Platforms

If you are transferring your app to a new platform or multiple devices, a big update might be needed. Maybe you are making an app version specifically for tablets or want to make an Android version based on the iOS version.



The release of a major update to your app will be exciting for your existing users. It is hard to keep the marketing momentum alive after you release a Minimum Viable Product. But when you release updates to your app, it notifies all the existing users who’ve installed your app on their devices. These updates will automatically get downloaded so that their installed app becomes the latest version of it.

Some users may not even pay attention to the downloaded update or the new version number, but they will notice the new visual design and functionality as they use your app. Plus, there will be writers and major users of your app that will spread the word quickly if the updates are significant. If your updates reflect the wishes of your app’s user feedback, then they will be very happy to spread the word. Most importantly, they will remain a loyal user of your app.

Just remember to only release updates when there is actually a real update to release. If you are just releasing a fake update to take advantage of the marketing aspect of it, then you will upset your users, and it may cause them to uninstall your app from their devices.

Want to see more projects?

Let's talk