Signs Your Mobile App Needs Some Improvements

person using black smartphone with gray and pink case

Mobile apps have become an integral part of our everyday lives. From social media to shopping to gaming, there’s an app for everything. With over 5 million apps available across app stores, the competition is fierce. According to Swiftspeed app statistics, 78% of users will delete an app if it doesn’t function or perform well.

This highlights the need for businesses to continuously improve and update their apps to provide the best user experience. However, it’s not always easy to identify issues and know when an app needs a refresh. Let’s explore some key signs that your mobile app may be due for some improvements. In this article, we will discuss mobile app challenges that you should not ignore.

App Crashes Frequently

One of the clearest signs your mobile app needs improvement is if it crashes or freezes frequently. App crashes can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Bugs in the code – These software issues cause the app to malfunction and abruptly stop working. Bugs may only appear in certain use cases that developers didn’t originally test for.
  • Compatibility issues – The app may not be optimized to run smoothly on all versions of iOS and Android or on certain mobile devices. This leads to crashes on incompatible devices.
  • Server connection problems – Apps that rely on a server connection for data or functionality are prone to crashing if they lose connection. The app fails to handle loss of connection gracefully.
  • Memory issues – If the app isn’t properly coded to manage memory and resources, it can overload the device’s memory capacity and crash. Memory leaks are a common cause.
  • Conflicts with other apps – The app may conflict with other apps installed on the user’s device, causing crashes or freezes when both try to access shared resources like location services.

Frequent random crashes suggest the app has stability issues in its codebase. If crashes only happen in certain use cases, like when loading data or during an action, it indicates more specific bugs. But all crashes point to quality issues and a need for urgent bug fixing and optimization. No one wants to use an unreliable app that crashes and loses progress.

Negative User Reviews

A sudden increase in negative reviews for your app can be a major red flag that something is wrong. While a few bad reviews here and there are normal, pay attention if you notice a sharp uptick in complaints and low ratings. This may indicate your recent app updates have introduced bugs, removed popular features, or created new usability issues. If multiple users are encountering the same problems, you need to take action quickly.

Dig into the specific complaints in the reviews. Are people consistently ranting about slow loading times, login failures, or crashes? Identify the main pain points and problems. Look for any useful details on when and how issues occur. You may notice spikes in complaints after certain app updates, pointing you toward recent changes that deteriorated the user experience.

Make responding to negative reviews a priority, even if it’s just a short note acknowledging the issue. This shows users you are listening. Consider reaching out to unhappy reviewers directly to get additional details on their problems. Then, formulate a plan to address the flaws and defects driving bad reviews rapidly. Roll back problematic updates, fix urgent bugs, and test thoroughly before releasing new versions. Failing to respond will lead to lower ratings and more dissatisfied customers. Nip negativity in the bud before it spirals out of control.

High Churn Rate

A high churn rate is a major sign that your app needs improvement. The churn rate refers to the percentage of users who stop using your app within a given time period. It indicates that users are quickly losing interest or value in your app.

Industry benchmarks for acceptable mobile app churn rates can vary, but generally:

  • Under 1% per month is a very good churn rate
  • 1-3% per month is average
  • Over 3% per month is high and a sign your app needs work

If your app has a churn rate higher than 3-5% per month, it likely has underlying issues causing users to delete it from their devices. Reasons for high churn may include:

  • Buggy, crashing app
  • Slow performance
  • Missing key features
  • Confusing user interface
  • Lack of updates and new content
  • Draining the battery or using too much data

To identify if your app has a high churn rate, track the percentage of monthly active users (MAUs) you are retaining over time. If the percentage drops substantially each month, you have a churn problem.

Getting churn under control should become a top priority. Look at user feedback and behavior data to pinpoint problems turning users off. Address core app issues contributing to churn through redesigns, adding features, and improving stability and speed. Focused improvements to increase user engagement and satisfaction can lower churn rates.

Slow Loading Times Drive Away Users

Long load times are one of the quickest ways to frustrate mobile app users and drive them away. Studies have shown that 40% of people will abandon an app if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Beyond 3-4 seconds, each additional second of delay further reduces user satisfaction and engagement.

Slow load speeds are especially problematic on mobile, where users are often multitasking and expect information instantly. Lengthy load times disrupt workflows and make apps feel sluggish, leading users to check out and look for alternatives.

There are several technical reasons an app may be slow to load:

  • Unoptimized images and assets
  • Poor network request handling
  • Overloading the UI thread
  • Too much processing on the main thread

Slow load speeds negatively impact key business metrics across apps:

  • Increased bounce rates as users leave
  • Lower conversion rates for transactions
  • Reduced ad revenue from loss of impressions
  • Decreased engagement and retention

Apps need to prioritize load time optimization to improve user experience. This involves techniques like code optimization, caching, background processing, and removing unnecessary network requests. Delivering a swift, snappy experience is critical, especially on launch and with key user flows. Shaving off even milliseconds can have a significant positive impact.

Fast load times lead to happier, more engaged users who are likely to return to the app and recommend it to others. Investing in speed delivers major dividends for retention and growth.

High Battery/Data Usage

Your app’s excessive battery and data usage can quickly frustrate users. If your app drains a phone’s battery too quickly or uses large amounts of mobile data, users may delete it and switch to a competitor.

There are several reasons an app may excessively drain battery or data:

  • Constant location tracking in the background
  • Frequent syncing/notifications when the app isn’t open
  • Large, unoptimized graphics and videos
  • Poorly coded apps with memory leaks

The impact on user experience is severe. No one wants an app that kills their phone’s battery life within a few hours or eats up their monthly data allocation. At best, users may restrict your app’s background usage, limiting functionality. At worst, they’ll simply uninstall your app and leave bad reviews warning others.

To avoid this, carefully optimize background processes and syncing. Load content wisely, like waiting for WiFi to download large files. Compress images and videos; use lower resolution where possible. Test for and eliminate any memory leaks. Keeping battery and data usage reasonable ensures your app remains on users’ devices.

App Lags on Updates

One sign your mobile app may need improvement is if it doesn’t keep pace with new operating system releases. When a new iOS or Android OS update comes out, an outdated app may start crashing or have compatibility issues. The developers fail to quickly release updates to support the new OS features and fix any bugs that arise.

This frustrates users who have eagerly updated their device OS only to find their favorite app is now broken or buggy. The app starts to feel abandoned as users wait weeks or months for an update. Competitors seize the opportunity to highlight their own app’s compatibility and updated features for the new OS. Loyal users may eventually jump ship out of frustration with an app that lags on critical updates.

To avoid this lag time, app creators need to test the app thoroughly on OS beta releases and have update plans ready to roll out as soon as possible after the official launch. Frequent updates show users that the app is being actively maintained and improved. An outdated app risks losing its appeal over time as users desire newer features and better performance. Staying on top of OS updates is key to preventing an erosion of your app’s user base.

Security Issues

Security should be a top priority for any app, especially if it collects sensitive user data. Unfortunately, many apps have vulnerabilities that put users at risk. Flaws like unencrypted data storage, weak passwords, and improper input validation can allow attackers to steal user information or take control of accounts. Even if no data breach occurs, the mere presence of security flaws hurts an app’s reputation.

Users will quickly lose trust in apps that don’t take security seriously. White hat hackers often spotlight vulnerabilities in popular apps as a public service. Each exposed flaw generates negative press and damages the app’s credibility. Developing a reputation for lax security practices can tank an app’s growth.

To avoid these problems, apps need regular security audits, pen testing, and fast patching of any discovered issues. Cryptography experts should be consulted to ensure proper implementation of encryption, hashing, certificates, keys, and other protections. All team members need security training to create safety-focused code. User data must be safeguarded at all costs. With strong security, the app can earn users’ confidence. Weak security puts that trust at risk.

Outdated Design

Keeping your app’s design and user experience up-to-date is crucial for providing a polished user experience and conveying professionalism. An outdated or confusing UI/UX frustrates users and makes your app look unmaintained.

With mobile technology and design trends constantly evolving, an outdated user interface stands out in a bad way. For example, using older design paradigms like skeuomorphic design when flat, minimalist interfaces are now standard can make your app feel dated. Not following platform interface guidelines for iOS or Android creates inconsistencies for users.

Ensure your app uses current UI patterns and visual styles to match user expectations. Study competitors and trendsetters in your app category to follow industry best practices. Keep layouts and workflows simple yet effective. Implement responsive design to optimize across different mobile screen sizes.

Regularly test your interface on the latest OS versions and devices. Solicit user feedback to pinpoint confusing or inconvenient UX issues. Update colors, fonts, icons, and graphics to keep a modern, sleek look. Polish the UI with micro-interactions and subtle animations. With continuous iteration, you can keep delighting users and making your app feel cutting-edge.


Mobile app development requires constant maintenance and improvements to keep providing value to users. Otherwise, they risk becoming outdated, buggy, inefficient, and frustrating to use. Recapping the key signs that your app needs improvements:

  • Frequent crashes point to bugs and stability issues. These degrade the user experience and must be fixed promptly.
  • Negative user reviews highlight problems and dissatisfaction. Pay close attention to these reviews and address common complaints.
  • A high churn rate indicates users are abandoning your app. Use surveys and research to determine why and improve user retention.
  • Slow loading speeds frustrate users. Optimize images, reduce API calls, and test on low-bandwidth connections.
  • High battery and data usage annoys users. Audit power and data consumption. Optimize code and assets.
  • Lagging on app updates risks falling behind. Keep up with the latest OS features, APIs, and design trends.
  • Security issues damage trust. Implement safeguards like encryption, input validation, and authentication.
  • Outdated design reflects poorly. Modernize UI/UX periodically to keep it fresh.

The longevity and success of an app depend on continually improving it. Monitor these key indicators to identify areas needing work. Invest time into making enhancements to provide a smooth, satisfying experience that meets evolving user expectations. Satisfied users lead to retention and growth.