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Updating popular apps - advice please.

CowlinnCowlinn Posts: 358Registered Users @ @
Hey all,

There are a couple of small bugs and improvements I'd like to make to one of my free apps. The problem is, this app has a 5 star rating with about 400 reviews.

It's taken about a year to get to this point and I'm wondering if that is an attributer to the relative success of the app (about 300 downloads a day)

In your experience, could updating this app have a negative effect on downloads based on the fewer reviews users will see?

Any advice would be great!

Thanks,
Take a look at my book: $100,000 on the AppStore
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Replies

  • IconicDigitalIconicDigital LondonPosts: 469Registered Users @ @
    Yep, I have updated my app PixelPoint in the past and have seen massive drop offs in downloads without really seeing any resurgence. It has got to the point now where downloads have stayed low enough that I don't have to worry about updating the app because the impact on downloads will not be drastically effected.

    Its a major floor in Apples system, they punish the developer for looking to improve the app. In my opinion they should completely remove any direct impact that reviews have upon the ranking system. Instead if more reviews lead to more downloads then go on that metric.
    Photo Editing IPhone & IPad - ImageLab
    Photo Editing IPhone & IPad - PixelPoint
    Live Video Editing On Your IPhone - Video FX+
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  • CowlinnCowlinn Posts: 358Registered Users @ @
    edited October 2014
    Hmm, this has put me in a real sticky situation as I really would like to update the app. Thanks @iconicDigital. Can I ask how much you saw downloads drop? What sort of percentage?
    Take a look at my book: $100,000 on the AppStore
  • IconicDigitalIconicDigital LondonPosts: 469Registered Users @ @
    I was looking at probably around about a 40-60% drop. It really was that bad and has been an issue with Apple for a long time. You can find older threads talking about it on the forum. What is the name of the App you are thinking of updating?
    Photo Editing IPhone & IPad - ImageLab
    Photo Editing IPhone & IPad - PixelPoint
    Live Video Editing On Your IPhone - Video FX+
    London Photography - London Photography
    Voucher Codes & Offers - SocialOffer.co.uk Voucher Codes
  • CowlinnCowlinn Posts: 358Registered Users @ @
    edited October 2014
    I was looking at probably around about a 40-60% drop. It really was that bad and has been an issue with Apple for a long time. You can find older threads talking about it on the forum. What is the name of the App you are thinking of updating?

    @IconicDigital‌ the name of the app is "Teleprompter Pro LITE"
    Take a look at my book: $100,000 on the AppStore
  • RickSDKRickSDK Posts: 1,239Registered Users @ @ @ @
    apple has a very crappy system in place now where when you update an app, it will then show "0" reviews in the app store. Users need to be smart enough to click on the "review from previous versions" button (or whatever it is) and 90% of customers are not that smart. or simply don't want to waste their time.

    Once you get over 5 reviews for a certain version, you are pretty much stuck with that version for the rest of your life. :(
  • CowlinnCowlinn Posts: 358Registered Users @ @
    OK so would you guys suggest NOT updating the app?
    Take a look at my book: $100,000 on the AppStore
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,567New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Cowlinn wrote: »
    OK so would you guys suggest NOT updating the app?

    Your question is absurd.

    The decision is yours, but their implied advice is not to update.

    Bottom line. Only update if absolutely necessary. For example, when the app crashes or too many users are bitching...
  • WonderAppsWonderApps Posts: 135New Users @ @
    I would agree with @dev666999 that the decision is yours.

    But I do not agree that the update should be avoided.

    My app "ATracker" has 23 releases since 2012 May, every 3 months or less I do an update to add functionality according to user's feedback and fix bugs. Mainly to add features, not fixing bugs.

    I do see the download drop right after update (maybe 10%), but it recover in one week or shorter as new user start to comment the app. Also I emails to the users when their request get fulfilled and ask them to leave a review / rating or update their review/rating.

    If you search "ATracker" and "ATracker PRO" on Appannie, you can see the download and the revenue keeps going up in 2 years constantly and not affected by the Apple's "glitch".

    Also, as a user constantly buying new app, I am more willing to buy a well maintained app then an app which is years old.

    There are two types of app, for user to waste their time, and for user to manage the life better. For the game part, we might not need to update the app too much, instead we should create more apps. But for the later part, which I think your app belongs to, it is good to improve it over time. It would be good for existing users to get better product, although they only pay once and it is good for new users to get a better app.

    Again, it is a developer's decision.
    Latest app:<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atracker-daily-task-tracking/id519561306?mt=8"; target="_blank">ATracker - Daily Task Tracking by WonderApps AB</a>
  • jhonkjjhonkj Posts: 144New Users @ @
    edited October 2014
    but it recover in one week or shorter as new user start to comment the app. Also I emails to the users when their request get fulfilled and ask them to leave a review / rating or update their review/rating.

    and this worked well, right up until the iOS8 update hit... then things turned glitchy... you may have been spared by your update cycle time frame... lets hope you are completely spared, for all of our sakes and it only lasts 3 months.

    I actually don't know now if reviews are still taking 2 weeks (not that there is any consistency) after they are written to show up...(if at all) maybe things have improved. anyone have a handle on this currently?
  • WonderAppsWonderApps Posts: 135New Users @ @
    @jhonkj, actually my last update is after iOS 8, it was Sept 22th. There are some compatible issues with iOS8, so I released the patch 2 days after the iOS8 release (which is Sept.18th).

    I requested to have an expedited review for both lite and PRO version, so it gets through in 2 days (actually in one working day). Developer only need to mention it is a big glitch in the app and inform the tester how to reproduce the glitch.

    I think all developer has one chance per year to request expedited review. It works fine with me, as I only use it after major iOS update.
    Latest app:<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atracker-daily-task-tracking/id519561306?mt=8"; target="_blank">ATracker - Daily Task Tracking by WonderApps AB</a>
  • RickSDKRickSDK Posts: 1,239Registered Users @ @ @ @
    obviously you should update your app if it needs to be done. just be prepared to have a loss of downloads due to the way apple does things.
  • esotericesoteric Posts: 617Registered Users @ @ @
    I've been updating a couple of my apps every 2-3 months for the past 3 years now and I've never lost any download after an update went live, I usually continue to receive the same amount or I see a small increase.

    I actually look forward to each update because my IAP purchases usually double or triple for the next week.

    So it's not all apps that lose "progress" or download when you update...but that's just my input.
  • savannasavanna Posts: 257New Users @ @
    andreasv wrote: »
    Keep an app evolving is one of the most important things that eventually converts in the long term.

    Unless your changes influence an app store users purchasing decision or make word of mouth more affective it is a poor use of development resource. Most apps have a basic function. Adding a function deep within the app that might be of use to some people who have already purchased the app is pointless if you measure success in profit terms.

    How much more money did you make as a direct result of your latest 'evolution' update? My guess is zero. So it was a waste of time.
  • WonderAppsWonderApps Posts: 135New Users @ @
    One chart is better than thousand words. Here is my revenue chart from 2012. You can see the revenue raise gradually and you can see the interval of the upgrade.

    I only use 5% or less revenue for marketing.
    Latest app:<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atracker-daily-task-tracking/id519561306?mt=8"; target="_blank">ATracker - Daily Task Tracking by WonderApps AB</a>
  • dinglefacedingleface Posts: 172New Users @ @
    edited October 2014
    -(BOOL)shouldUpdateApp{
         return ([self getDownloadCountAfterUpdate] &gt;= [self getCurrentDownloadCount]);
    }
    

    Seriously... It makes NO sense to update the app unless it is going to improve downloads/revenue or fix some critical issue that will sink you if not fixed.
  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 814Registered Users @ @ @
    I updated a popular education app of mine and its been pretty rough sales wise since then. I figured it would increase sales (redesign, added features, made universal) sales still a little down.
  • fouldscfouldsc Posts: 398Registered Users @ @
    WonderApps wrote: »
    One chart is better than thousand words. Here is my revenue chart from 2012. You can see the revenue raise gradually and you can see the interval of the upgrade.

    I only use 5% or less revenue for marketing.

    I don't have the charts but I updated 3-4 times a year my most popular app, get a dip for about a week and then it's back to normal - basically one I get reviews in again.

    On Android however I get zero impact thanks to it being sensible, I also love their roll out feature where you just release an update to a small percentage of people so you can check you not made a giant booboo! Thanks to that Android can get 2-3 updates a week when I am working on new features as why hang onto it ?
  • RaffaelloRaffaello Posts: 214Registered Users @ @
    Guys, after reading this post I'm kinda scared. I actually update my main app every single week, to add new features, fix bugs, etc (it is a complex game).

    The download graphic is kinda strange, but after what people said here it starts to make sense. Watch those weekly spikes...

    2d7zsw0.jpg

    It seems that the app loses all growing momentum as soon as I update it!
    I do exactly the same on Android, and Android downloads have reached like 100x more the iOS downloads. Makes no sense right?

    If I stop updates maybe the downloads would increase?
    It would be very stupid if apple punished devs for updates!
    Minimon 3D - MMO for mobile - minimon3d.com/
  • chuckc192000chuckc192000 FloridaPosts: 387New Users @ @
    Raffaello wrote: »
    Guys, after reading this post I'm kinda scared. I actually update my main app every single week, to add new features, fix bugs, etc (it is a complex game).

    The download graphic is kinda strange, but after what people said here it starts to make sense. Watch those weekly spikes...

    2d7zsw0.jpg

    It seems that the app loses all growing momentum as soon as I update it!
    I do exactly the same on Android, and Android downloads have reached like 100x more the iOS downloads. Makes no sense right?

    If I stop updates maybe the downloads would increase?
    It would be very stupid if apple punished devs for updates!

    They DO punish developers for updates, by moving all the reviews from the Current Version tab to the All Versions tab, where very few customers look. But you update so frequently that you probably don't accumulate many reviews before the next update.
  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 814Registered Users @ @ @
    I think you are just seeing weekend spikes. Like others said you update so often it doesn't matter.
  • panzeritipanzeriti United StatesPosts: 769Registered Users @ @ @
    I would say most app will lose downloads on update since the visible star rating will be removed. However, I have had varying experiences with this; some apps lose downloads and others do not. I believe this is dependent on the app itself, ASO and the competition.
  • fouldscfouldsc Posts: 398Registered Users @ @
    For games I was speaking to a number of developers who are putting Lua engines into the games and putting there assets on websites and then they are able to download logic updates and new graphical/musical assets without issuing an app update.
  • scottwbscottwb Posts: 952New Users @ @ @
    Just noticed (for the first time) that one of our apps made it to the 'Recently Updated' category on the App Store. Haven't seen this before.
  • WonderAppsWonderApps Posts: 135New Users @ @
    @scottweb, any download or revenue change after it is in the "recently updated" category?

    Wondering it is some Apple guy put it manually or all update get some random chance?
    Latest app:<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atracker-daily-task-tracking/id519561306?mt=8"; target="_blank">ATracker - Daily Task Tracking by WonderApps AB</a>
  • scottwbscottwb Posts: 952New Users @ @ @
    @WonderApps, yep, we did see an increase in IAP and an increase in downloads, although why the update category would affect that I don't know.

    We've got another app update in review at the moment. Will check to see if that finds it's way there or not - this one is fully optimised for iPhone 6/6+ as well.
    -
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