‘Alarming’ Problems You Should be Preventing in Your App

I have an alarm clock app that I’ve been running on my iPad2 for a couple of years now. Apart from groaning when it goes off in the morning, I’ve been happy with it. It always goes off, no crashes, and it has carried on working through several iOS upgrades.

Well, I thought it was a great little app until last week.

I was upgrading some of the other apps I had installed, but one failed as there was not enough space on my device. A quick check showed that I had a large amount of videos and photos taking up a lot of space, so after some tidying up, they were gone.

Then I noticed that the storage amount for the alarm clock app was showing as 2.4GB! That seemed excessive for a small app that only woke me up in the morning. I deleted the app, re-installed it, and it went down to 27.2MB.

I’m not sure what the problem was: Was it writing a huge log file every time it woke me up? Was it writing out a copy of the alarm time for every time zone in the world for every day in the year?

I’ll be keeping an eye on this app over the next few weeks to see if the storage starts increasing again. I’ll also be looking at the apps I’m testing to see if they have any issues like this.

This wasn’t something I had been specifically checking for, but now that I’ve seen a real-world example, it’s been added to my checklist. What else is on that checklist?

  1. Battery usage. If your app is killing the battery, expect to get some one-star reviews in the app store.
  2. Memory leaks. Don’t quit your app after testing the latest functionality. Keep it in the background, open it, rotate it, visit all the screens, background it. Any signs of sluggishness or an actual crash? There are tools you can use to help check for this.
  3. CPU usage. Use the app intensely and see if your hand starts getting warm as the app hammers the CPU. :)

That’s a small list, but more will be covered in future posts. What’s on your checklist?