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App Performance


Mobile App Performance Optimization Best Practices

Mobile app performance

For mobile app performance optimization, in addition to having the right tools to monitor performance and stability and collect user feedback, here are some basic tips for improving your app's speed and usability. Using an application performance monitoring tool will allow you to gather the needed information to see how your changes are working and level up your app quality after working on the tips below.

UI hangs and load times

Image handling

Images are an integral part of any app, but they take up a lot of memory and can subsequently slow downloading time if not handled properly. Using lower-quality images would save on memory and load time, but at the cost of visual fidelity.

One way to work around this is image compression, which can save a lot of time without sacrificing image quality. Second, not all devices are the same size, so using vectors or resized images to fit different devices can help you optimize for different screen sizes. Finally, caching is another great way to cut down on loading times. By caching key images, you can avoid having your app fetch them every time they’re needed.

Reuse data templates to help your app load faster

Similar to image caching, you can also utilize the same key data templates more than once to avoid heavy loading times.

Displaying loading states

While this doesn't speed up actual loading times, it does make a big difference to your users’ perceived wait. If your user is just staring at a blank screen while your app loads, they can perceive the loading time as longer than it actually is and since you're not giving them any information, they might even mistake it for a freeze and abandon your app. Displaying loading states with colorful animations or helpful messages can go a long way to helping users tolerate the wait.

Mobile app launch times

Load essential items first: Text first, images later is a common practice when it comes to launching and loading core app processes. Some things can be loaded asynchronously after the main components are launched and the user can start interacting with the app. Choosing what loads first and what can come second highly depends on the app, but staging your component loading can help cut down launch times.

Don't leave users in the dark: Similar to loading states, an app launching with a blank screen will give your users a negative perception right off the bat. Instead, you can display a splash screen, an animation, interesting content, and anything that will engage users’ attention while they wait for your app to launch.

Network performance

Offline mode

While this doesn't affect network performance, it will help you and your users in the event of network drops. If your users lose network connection and your app doesn't have an offline mode, their experience is completely interrupted, and when they regain connection, you'll have to reload everything again. Offline mode also allows your users to continue using your app while not connected to the internet and helps make the transition smoother when regaining network connection.

General network performance tips

  • Load data as you need it by splitting up assemblies or pre-loading/pre-fetching data
  • Make as few HTTP requests as possible. Although seemingly obvious, optimizing what each request does makes a huge difference when you're operating at a scale of millions of sessions.
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN) will help accelerate APIs and reduce latency for most of your app’s network requests
  • Reduce your number of DNS lookups
  • Avoid redirects because they involve new TCP connections, a TLS, and then a DNS lookup, creating a lot of overhead

For more network performance troubleshooting tips, check out the Mobile App Network Performance Monitoring and Debugging Guide.

Use an App Performance Monitoring (APM) tool for your mobile app

Instrumenting your app with an APM tool will help you stay on top of how your app is doing in the wild and act proactively to find problem areas in your app’s performance. Instabug APM helps you track key metrics to improve your app’s performance, including Apdex scores, UI hangs, network timeouts and issues, slow launches, tracking custom traces, and more.

For the best results, use Instabug's APM, Crash Reporting, Bug Reporting, and Session Replay together to have a complete picture of your app's quality, performance, and stability. Each tool is essential on its own, and when combined, the sum is even greater than its parts and you'll have all the data and information you need at your fingertips to deliver the fastest and most reliable experience for your users, and outperform your competition.

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