Universal Apps Need to be Separate Downloads in a Retina World

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by sportsfrk214, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. sportsfrk214, Mar 15, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012

    sportsfrk214 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2007
    Let me preface this by saying that to the best of my knowledge, when you download a universal application, you are downloading an application that has both iPhone/iPod and iPad assets in the file. My entire argument is based off of this and if I'm wrong in saying it, please correct me.

    This is becoming a major issue though. Apple has gone retina now on both the iPad and the iPhone, which has ballooned the size of applications. Apple has also not increased the capacity on their devices. This is creating a problem, because as apps become more advanced and contain higher quality imagery, they take up a lot more space. This is a major issue for universal apps.

    Now this doesn't apply to all applications. Some apps might just have a few small images and so the difference in file size is only a few MB's. However some apps, like Garageband, have a huge difference in file size. Garageband has ballooned to 1GB on my iPhone, and I know a lot of that increased file size is high quality iPad Retina Display imagery, imagery that I have absolutely zero use for on my iPhone.

    This is a major problem with universal apps that Apple needs to address. I don't know how it can be addressed, but Apple needs to create a way that your iPhone universal apps don't have iPad files, and vice versa. With limited capacity on devices, we can't afford this. Between Garageband, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, & iPhoto, I bet I have over 1GB of useless iPad Retina files stored on the applications on my iPhone that will never be seen on the phone. Thats a few hundred songs, or a few tv shows.

    Apple simply needs to create some kind of API that when you download a universal application to a device, the app automatically deletes any assets that are used by other devices. So for example when I download Garageband on my iPhone, it should delete all the iPad image files. Or there need to be device specific downloads.

  2. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    I agree. Device-specific downloads while still maintaining the purchasing power of universal apps.
  3. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Is there any indication that it is or is not doing this already?

    I know of none.

    It might happen, IIRC, when you download an app, it pulls down a package, extracts and installs it, and then cleans up the 'temp' files. During the install process, the OS could be keeping device specific assets and discarding others.
  4. sportsfrk214 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2007
    Look at the application sizes in the iTunes Store on your computer, and then look at the app sizes on your device by going to Settings-> General->Usage. For universal apps, the file sizes are equal or greater than those listed on iTunes. That seems to indicate to me that all assets are stored on all devices whether they are needed or not.
  5. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    It is not possible for Apple to separate the iPhone parts from the iPad parts once the application has been built and submitted by the developer. Universal apps are one giant application bundle that have different internal code paths for the different devices. In order for Apple to change the way they are distributed, they will first have to change how they are built by developers.

    This would also affect the whole syncing apps with iTunes and then other devices thing. Right now, you can download a universal app on your phone, sync it to iTunes, and then sync it with your iPad. That won't work if the iPhone only gets the iPhone parts of the application.

    All of these things are probably fixable, but it's going to take some fairly big changes to how things work.

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