Every year we get a few OS updates for iOS and Android platforms which always bring about the question: “should we upgrade our app?” The answer is always a resounding “YES!

Each mobile platform has its own unique changes with each upgrade that creates new issues that need to be addressed. This in turn will ensure that your app can extend its lifecycle and still be relevant in the marketplace.

By evolving existing apps, you might even discover new use cases for your application as more features become accessible with an OS update. For example, the iOS 9 came out loaded with exciting new features like Split View, Slide Over, and Picture-in-Picture making multitasking possible. The bottom line is simple - you just cannot afford to ignore these enhancements because they will change the mobile app game forever.

1. Your App Might Look Outdated

If you’re not following the current trends in application UX / UI design, the look and feel of your app can seem outdated. This creates a situation where you can potentially lose a lot of users as they have moved on with the current trends. For example, if you didn’t upgrade your Android app to run with target API Level of 21 (Android 5.0), your app will most likely look like a dinosaur. Remember what happened to them?

2. Make Sure Your App Can Keep Up

Users usually upgrade their OS pretty quickly and come to expect the apps to magically match the new features. iOS 9 is a robust OS that is really fast. So it’s important to make your existing app compatible and make sure that it also runs fast on this platform.

3. Your App Might be Malfunctioning

On an Android platform, there is a good chance that your app will run on newer devices, but they probably won’t have a hardware menu button. As a result, users will not be able to benefit from the functionality that’s provided by the menus. So it’s imperative that an ActionBar is implemented into the existing app to keep it working.

4. Security & Battery Life Maybe Out of Date

iOS 9 comes with enhanced security and enhanced battery life. Make sure that your existing iOS app can benefit from these changes and work well on an updated OS. If your app is significantly draining the battery, maybe it’s time to start rethinking the operations of the app. Users are going to easily know who the culprits ar

5. App Interactions will Require New Code

Most apps are built with loads of custom interactions. With bigger screens and upgraded hardware in new devices, these interaction codes will need to be rethought to scale or rewritten for large devices like the new iPad Pro. This in turn will make your app more adaptive and keep your brand current.

6. Date of Your Last Update is Visible

For all Android apps, Google displays the date of the last app update. This may give users the wrong impression if you haven’t updated the application for a long time. In an age where we are all looking for the newest and best options, being slow on updates can take you out of the race.

Upgrading an existing app is much easier to do than building an app from the ground up. However, don’t expect all the changes to be obvious. We recommend you involve professional software development consultants to explore the ins and outs of your app and provide you with a clear roadmap of what kind of changes are really required, as mobile apps, their performance and user interaction are heavily dependent on your specific business niche or vertical.

Further, it is highly likely that Apple and Google will start rejecting apps in the future if they are not highly optimized across all devices. This would not only affect new apps, but existing apps as well. So it is always a good idea to keep updating, keep looking for ways to evolve, and modernize the application. Implementing new security codes or even fixing bugs can take anything from hours to months, so if you haven’t already started updating you app, it's high time that you did!

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Andrew Zola is a freelance writer, designer, and artist working in branding and marketing for over ten years. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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