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8 Best Ways to Reduce Android App Size

5 minutes, 29 seconds read

With the increase in mobile storage spaces that have gone up to 256 GB, app size is also growing. App size is sure to grow as developers are adding new features, trying to meet customer needs, and also trying to support their apps on various screen sizes. Around 74% of the world uses Android, and 70% of users consider app size before installing them. Moreover, as humans are getting accustomed to instant gratification, they ponder on ways to download apps as they take up storage spaces. Despite the cloud support for photos, videos, and files, android users face issues, such as mobile hanging due to app size. As customer expectations are increasing, android app developers are considering other ways to reduce app size while still incorporating significant additional features and keeping in mind the customer experience.

Below are the 8 best ways to reduce android app size:

1. Use Android App Bundle to Reduce App Size

When generating the release version of your app, you can choose between APK and Android App Bundle.  The second option will make Google play to generate the APK with only those features a specific user need. 

Use Android App Bundle

App Bundle Vs APK

Android App Bundle

  • It is a publishing format that includes compiled code and resources of your app, and delays APK generation and signing to Google Play.
  • With Android App Bundles, the compressed download size restriction is 150 MB. The app bundle cannot be used with APK expansion files.
Android App Bundle
Important: In the second half of 2021, new apps will be required to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play. New apps larger than 150 MB must use either Play Feature Delivery or Play Asset Delivery.

How to build android app bundles?

To build app bundles, follow these steps:

  1. Download Android Studio 3.2 or higher—it’s the easiest way to add feature modules and build app bundles.
  2. Add support for Play Feature Delivery by including a base module, organizing code and resources for configuration APKs, and, optionally, adding feature modules.
  3. Build an Android App Bundle using Android Studio. You can also deploy your app to a connected device from an app bundle by modifying your run/debug configuration and selecting the option to deploy APK from app bundle. Keep in mind, using this option results in longer build times when compared to building and deploying only an APK.
  4. If you’re not using the IDE, you can instead build an app bundle from the command line.
  5. Test your Android App Bundle by using it to generate APKs that you deploy to a device.
  6. Enroll into app Play App Signing. Otherwise, you can’t upload your app bundle to the Play Console.
  7. Publish your app bundle to Google Play.

Please note: Android Package Kit – As per developer console, by the mid of 2021, developers won’t be able to upload apk on play store)

  • Android operating system uses APK which is the package file format for distribution and installation of mobile apps, games and middleware. APK is similar to other software packages such as APPX in Microsoft Windows or a Debian package in Debian -based operating systems.
  • Google Play requires that the compressed APK downloaded by the users should not exceed 100 MB.
  • The expansion files for your app are hosted by Google Play which serves them to the device at no cost to you. The expansion files are saved to the device’s shared storage location (the SD card or USB-mountable partition).

2. Use Proguard

Proguard is probably one of the most useful tools to reduce your APK size. It reduces the source code files to a minimum and can reduce the APK file size upto 90%.

  • Use it in all variants whenever using “Proguard”
  • Helps to avoid conflict at the of generate apk or bundle if will use in all the variants.
  • We cannot let ProGuard rename or remove any fields on these data classes, as they have to match the serialized format. It’s a safe bet to add a @Keep annotation on the whole class or a wildcard rule on all your models.

3. Use Android Size Analyzer Plugin

This Android Studio plugin will provide you recommendations to reduce the size of your application.

With the APK Analyzer, you can accomplish the following:

  • View the absolute and relative size of files in the APK, such as the DEX and Android resource files.
  • Understand the composition of DEX files.
  • Quickly view the final versions of files in the APK, such as the AndroidManifest.xml file.
  • Perform a side-by-side comparison of two APKs.

There are three ways to access the APK Analyzer when a project is open:

  • Drag an APK into the Editor window of Android Studio.
  • Switch to the Project perspective in the Project window and then double-click the APK in the default build/output/apks/ directory.
  • Select Build > Analyze APK in the menu bar and then select your APK.

More details at: Jetbrains

4. Optimize Your App’s Resources

Whether used or not, every resource takes up memory. It is therefore necessary to have only those resources that you need, and to use those in a memory efficient way. In other words, you should consider the resolution of the image before finalizing on it.

5. Optimize Libraries

As large libraries consume huge amounts of space, it is advisable to remove parts of it in case you do not need them and if it is permitted by the license of the library. Proguard can aid you in this process but it is not always able to remove large internal dependencies.

6. Use Vector Graphics Wherever Possible

They are sharp and do not consume much space as they rely on mathematical calculations and not on pixels that need to be saved. However, they cannot be used for photography.

7. Compress Your Images

By using tools such as pngcrush, you can reduce the file size of PNG images. It is advisable to do this images as they still look the same. 

8. Only Support Specific Densities

If only a small portion of users use a specific density, it might be better to let Android scale your other densities for them as it would reduce your APK size.


As mobile storage space is growing, people are installing a large number of apps to meet a wide range of needs. But as app size is increasing, people are continuing to struggle with storage issues. With provisions such as Proguard, one can compress the APK file size and optimize libraries easily. Compressing images and using vector graphs are also useful in reducing app size.

About the author: Anand Singh is Tech Lead at Mantra Labs. He is integral to the company’s Android-based projects and enterprise application development.

Further Reading:

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What will ‘Behavioural Changes’ Mean for India’s Digital Health Future

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, facing a threat unlike one never seen before. COVID-19 has been a reason for global concern since it has negatively impacted economies, shut down workplaces, and forced cities into lockdowns.

But history also tells us  that times of uncertainty also foster innovation. The pandemic has forced consumers and businesses to rethink how they behave both physically and digitally. As per McKinsey, COVID-19 has speeded up the adoption of digital technologies.

India, which was on the cusp of a ‘digital health’ revolution, has now been forced to embrace innovation and emerging trends. The healthcare sector holds great promise since new-age technologies like telemedicine, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, etc. are transforming healthcare services.

There have been unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour as well. People are now increasingly relying on using the internet to find clinical information or engage with healthcare professionals digitally. Moreover, online consultations, telemedicine, and e-pharmacies have seen a rise in popularity.

Companies will thus need to capitalize on the changing patterns of consumption and health-seeking behaviour.

This article focuses on how changing patient behaviour will affect India’s digital health future.

A growing Indian healthcare market

According to a report by Future Health Index, India is a leader in the adoption of digital health technology. As per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22% to reach a valuation of USD 372 billion by 2022. This growth can be attributed to the following –

  • Growing health awareness
  • Aging population
  • Lifestyle-related diseases
  • Rising income levels
  • Growth of internet availability

The rise of digital health start-ups is also playing a role in the growth of the healthcare sector. Indian health tech startup landscape has now matured.

Over the last few years, telemedicine has emerged as a fast-growing sector in India. Prominent start-ups like Practo, mfine, and Lybrate have established themselves in the telehealth market. McKinsey estimates that India could save up to USD10 billion by 2025 by using telemedicine instead of in-person doctor appointments.

COVID-induced behavioural changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes to patient behaviour. The fear of leaving homes to get treatment has led to the growth of virtual care and telemedicine. 

As per a report by Accenture, almost 70% of the patients canceled or postponed their treatments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology, therefore, played a crucial role in helping patients continue their care. Healthcare providers were even able to improve the experience for patients by delivering them faster response time, personalized interactions, and the convenience of getting consultation from home.

The same report by Accenture highlights some key behavioural changes that are being observed in patients – 

  • Nearly half of the patients now get their treatment at their homes instead of visiting a clinic.
  • Almost 60% of patients want to continue using technology for communicating with healthcare providers.
  • About 41% of patients now use video conferencing to connect with their healthcare providers. Of these, for almost 70% of patients, it’s their first-time using video conferencing for healthcare.
  • Almost 44% of patients used new apps or devices during the pandemic to manage their health conditions.

All this highlights the need for healthcare providers to reimagine their patient engagement strategies in keeping with the changing patient behavior.

Future of digital health in India

New digital technologies and tools are making an impact across the healthcare sector. They hold great promise in improving the efficiency of healthcare services while delivering better patient care. Below are some of the technological developments that are expected to revolutionize the way we seek healthcare.

Telemedicine

About 68% of India’s population lives in rural areas where healthcare services are not usually up to the mark. This barrier can be overcome by telemedicine that offers an excellent way for patients to consult a doctor in a much shorter duration. Telemedicine can cut waiting times and allow patients to avoid traveling to a clinic or hospital. Some other benefits of telemedicine include –

  • Immediate access to specialist healthcare providers.
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Improved quality of care.
  • Convenience to the patients.
  • Improved patient engagement.

Internet of medical things (IoMT)

The rapid growth of IoMT devices is rapidly changing healthcare delivery by playing an important role in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses.

It not only helps eliminate the need for in-person medical visits but also helps reduce costs. Goldman Sachs estimates IoMT to save USD 300 billion annually for the healthcare industry. IoMT will benefit those patients the most who are unable to get access to quality healthcare due to remote location.

Big data in healthcare

There has been dramatic growth in the amount of medical and health data in the last few years. These massive datasets can be used to draw insights and opportunities for healthcare organizations. Analysis of healthcare data can help discover warning signs and create preventive plans.

The widespread adoption of IoT devices also makes it easier to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, etc. This can help in the early detection of diseases like hypertension, asthma, heart problems, etc.

Electronic medical records

Electronic medical records or EMRs help collect, digitalize patients’ information, and store it in a single place. EMRs store various types of medical data like medical history, prescriptions, drug allergies, etc. and allow doctors to make accurate disease prognosis in a much shorter time. Some other benefits of EMRs include – 

  • Effective medical decisions.
  • Easy data recovery.
  • Improved collaboration.
  • Portability.
  • Security of medical data.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a big role to play in improving healthcare since growing digitization leads to the availability of a large amount of health data. AI has the potential to transform everyday health management in the following ways –

  • Improved accessibility of healthcare services (for example – the AI-based mobile app Ada is available across 140 countries and makes it possible for anyone to have access to medical guidance).
  • Improved efficiency.
  • Accurate disease diagnosis.
  • Improved insights to reveal early disease risks (for example – a popular app Verily can forecast noncontagious and hereditary genetic diseases).
  • Time and cost savings.

mHealth

Mobile health or mHealth refers to the monitoring and sharing of health data via mobile technology like health tracking apps or wearables. 

mHealth apps can prove to be beneficial in increasing patient engagement, providing health education, and offering remote consultations to patients. It can also use the data from wearable devices to improve the quality of care. Some other benefits of mHealth include – 

  • Faster access to physicians.
  • Improved medication adherence.
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Increased medication reconciliation accuracy.
  • Improved coordination between healthcare providers and patients.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear that COVID-19 has significantly impacted patient behaviour. There has been a growing preference for telehealth and mHealth apps. But all of this has also compelled healthcare organizations to put in more effort in adapting to these behavioural changes. Healthcare providers are opting to rely more on new technologies to continue delivering patient care. A more affordable standard of high-quality care is in the works for India’s digital health future.

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