As downloads grow, hard drives shrink — the average iOS game is now 60MB

Apple’s decision to increase the cellular data download limit from 20 to 50 megabytes has led to a dramatic and noticeable increase in iOS app size reports ABI Research.

According to the latest study from the company’s Mobile Application Markets service, the global average size of an iOS app was 23 megabytes in September — up 16 percent  since March. iOS games grew by 42 percent during the same period, swelling to an average size of 60 megabytes due to the combination of Retina display upgrades and an increased download limit.

Apple’s decision in March to increase the maximum size of 3G/4G-downloadable apps from 20 to 50 megabytes has clearly had an unleashing effect on developers,” said ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen in a statement. “Games can now be more complex and graphically polished, while still being able to benefit from the instant gratification of cellular downloads.”

While the move to larger apps may allow developers to create more detailed products, as ABI points out, it also means developers will have to fight harder to keep their apps installed. As our readers with smaller capacity iOS devices are likely aware, once non-app files like music, photos and system files are accounted for, a consumer may only have two or three free gigabytes to devote to apps — space that can quickly be eaten up by titles that require hundred of megabytes of storage space.

Developers wishing to avoid having apps deleted for no other reason than size issues may wish to consider local storage limits when designing their apps.