Nobody wants to read your update dialog

One of our customers calls their users to remind them about updating an app. They call their users. On the telephone. They feel forced to do so because their update adoption rates are just above zero. No adoption rates means massive profit losses and months of wasted work.

It may sound as if users are simply indifferent to improvements, but that’s not it. It’s not the updates users don’t want, it’s the process of updating. I love driving on a smooth, new highway, but that doesn’t mean I have the patience for the construction it takes to make one. I want a new highway without an “Under Construction” sign, if you’d please.

Road v. 1.2 available. Visit app store to drive through.

“It’s not the updates users don’t want, it’s the process of updating.”

For the most part, people don’t care about updates — developers do. Developers typically spend hours choosing the right shape and color for buttons in their new app menu updates. If you try to explain these changes in a push notification, you’ll make users loathe you before they dismiss it without reading.

Or, if you’re using the App Store for distribution, you know it’s even worse: instead of push notifications, the App Store makes users detour to the “Updates” tab and update manually. Users barely have the motivation to read your push notification, let alone update manually. And, after this new-age, app update pilgrimage, you end up with a frustrating update adoption rate.

“Users barely have the motivation to read your push notification, let alone update manually.”

We’ve seen enough poor update adoption rates to concede that the only way to deliver your perfectly-shaped buttons is to roll out an update silently in the background. Deliver new features, run split tests, fix bugs, and monetize your app — but please don’t bother with explaining every step you take, before you take it. Users want a service, not a history of its development. If anything, notify them of the new features after they update.

Besides being discreet, background updates can prove to be a life-saving tool for your app business.

1. Increased revenue.

Regular and frequent silent app updates mean efficiency. Efficiency means more engagement, more trust, more conversion. Staying cutting-edge is staying profitable.

2. Freedom of testing.

Cutting-edge may keep you profitable, but well-made experimenting will make you rich. Small background updates are a way to test things out with accuracy and total control. Introducing new elements should be proven successful before it hits the majority of your user base.

3. Stable performance.

You know that bugless code is a unicorn everybody loves and nobody has. Somewhere, somehow, someone will dig up that bug that was commented in your code file as “fix later.” You don’t want Mac forums swarming with screenshots and ridiculing comments from dissatisfied users. Silent updates give you the option of delivering a fixed version of the app to 100% of your customers.

4. Improved retention rates.

According to recent data, as much as 90% of users lose interest in your app within 90 days of downloading it. Unless you’re Facebook, app retention is a sore spot in your metrics. You can mend this by silently rolling out new features to keep your users hooked.

5. Customer base growth.

Customer base growth. An efficient, stable app with a tested UI and a variety of features will help attract customers, given that it meets its original goal and is well marketed.

Update silently with DevMate


And as of today, our platform for OS X app development DevMate gives you the opportunity to build a “silent updates” option into your apps. It also has powerful tools for licensing, crash reporting, and feedback collection. Get started with DevMate’s Free Trial and make sure nobody misses what you’ve got to offer next.

Even if they’re not in the mood to read another update dialog.