Mobile Apps : why users uninstall apps ?

In mature markets, smartphones are now saturated with Apps and getting user to download new Apps has become increasingly difficult. Users have become more critical of Apps that do not meet perfectly their expectations and tend to uninstall more Apps, more quickly.

For years, publishers’ focus was on the distribution and promotions of their apps, in other words, how to get users to see your app and download it. Now that most functional needs are now covered by thousands of Apps (photos, emails, message, contacts, social network), the biggest efforts should be put on increasing users loyalty.

Before your start developing a new App, you should examine more closely the reasons why users will want to keep your App on their device.

A successful App should be innovative…

To identity success factors, Open Group and EBG conducted a survey with 1000 App users and 637 App professionals.

According to Stephane Hugon, founder of  Eranos and PhD in sociology, “what is a good App? It is an App whose value is quickly perceived by users and that requires a minimum amount of training to be used correctly”.

So what exactly disqualifies an App from the “Successful App” category?

For users, by far, the first reason is slow performance (73.7%), followed by an intrusiveness (65.8%) and then, logically, a lack of interest (61%).

Why users uninstall mobiles apps

Whereas for publishers, who develop Apps themselves or use mobile app development companies, slowness is not perceived as a decisive criteria. Only 31.7% of professionals believe slow performance could lead their users to uninstall their apps. From there, we understand that from a user point-of-view, the way content is served to them is just as important as what content is served.

Users and professionals disagree about what makes a “bad” mobile app but maybe can they agreed on what makes a “good” app. (ie. A successful app).

For users, attributes of a good app are innovation, unique functionalities and consistency with the brand perceived image.

What is a Good App according to Users


Professionals agree on these 3 criteria, but in a different order. To them, offering a unique functionality comes first, followed by a seamless integration in the company branding and innovation.

What makes a good mobile app according to App publishers

Other factors such as design (UX) and usability are also underestimated by professionals.

Indeed, an attractive design and an ease of use are respectively mentioned as key factors by 33% and 25% of users. Professionals, on the other hand, deems these aspects much less essential (16% and 4%).

Professionals can learn a few things from these results:

  • Put more effort into the pre-development phase. Ie. The brainstorming, concept creation phase. What problem does it solve? How easy is it for user to understand how the app works? Not only should they motivate users to install an app but also to keep it on their device.
  • Optimize the performance of the app. Ie. Speed, battery consumption, etc. If an app drains the battery or slows down the device, users will end up uninstalling it.
  • Submit your design to potential users of the app before you start developing. A/B testing or usability panels are very common in the web development world. Many tools are available to test a design in the early phases of conception or development but they are still largely (wrongfully) ignored in the mobile app development world.

More than ever, professionals need to listen to what their users are saying. Almost 10 years after the first mobile apps appeared, what is important to users is still largely misunderstood by App publishers. Unfortunately, professionals spend most of the budget on the development/coding part and underestimate the conception phase. Unlike many small start-ups which use the feedback of the market to make their app evolve before they start promoting it, larger brands cannot afford playing this live trial/error strategy.   By focusing on the keys factors mentioned in this study, professionals will largely increase their chance to enter the “successful app” category and keep their apps remained installed on their customers’ devices.