For Developers

App developers never want to see bad word-of-mouth or low ratings for their apps. Comments like "This app ate my data plan in two days" or "Uninstalled it—app was killing my battery life" can be the painful outcome when the app developer didn't pay enough attention to making the app efficient in its use of the wireless data resources that make the app work. It's simple: Data-efficient mobile apps offer a solid user experience.

To assist you with your app development, we created this testing service so you can see how your app uses data. Our tips and best practices provide ideas on how to maximize content and functionality while minimizing impact on your customers' data plans and network resources. These tips will help you build apps that use available wireless network resources more efficiently.

CTIA and its developer partners will continue to update this section to provide more content and resources to help you build a more efficient app.

AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) Diagnostic Tool:

CTIA and Intertek produced app efficiency test results by using the AT&T ARO diagnostic tool to capture, analyze and report network application data usage. Available through the AT&T Developer Program, ARO is a free, open-source tool that tests, analyzes and helps developers optimize mobile apps for industry best practices, which results in a more efficient and responsive app.

Tips to Build High-Performance Apps:

As developers choose how their apps gather, manage and deliver data, ARO and other such diagnostic tools show that their decisions impact how the apps perform.

Here are some additional tips for maximizing app performance and efficiency:

  1. Close Connections.

    Many apps don't close connections after obtaining the data or delivering image(s). Keeping connections open when the app doesn't need them guzzles data and slows down the app's performance.

  2. Cache Data.

    By default, mobile apps don't cache data, so it's important app developers affirmatively cache it to enjoy its benefits. By doing so, mobile content is delivered faster than downloading data and with less impact on data usage and battery life.

  3. Manage Every Connection.

    Build your app to group functions (e.g., downloading images or ads, sending analytics to servers, etc.) together to make data delivery more efficient. This may be accomplished by a number of tactics, including pre-fetching files that are often used or threading file downloads instead of downloading files serially. By maximizing the app's usability, it will run faster, conserve battery life and reduce data usage.

  4. Watch "Inactive" Performance.
    In the background refers to an app's functionality when the app is not in use by the consumer, but is still uploading and/or downloading data on the consumer's device.

    When your app operates, even when it is in the background, it may request data from the wireless device and its features and from the network. It's important to determine whether running on background is important to the app's performance. If it is, strategize about how to make these connections as efficiently as possible so the app doesn't use more battery life and data than absolutely necessary.

  5. Follow Best Practices & Guidelines for Location-Based Services.

    Location-based services rely on the location of a device to deliver or enhance a service. Numerous entities in the applications value chain can impact a location-based service (from the carrier to the device manufacturer to the app developer). CTIA and its members developed Best Practices & Guidelines for Location-Based Services to articulate widely-recognized rights and responsibilities among these entities when using location-based services.

Additional Resources for App Optimization: Both the storefronts and the major U.S. carriers have developer relations teams that can help you with questions about their platforms, including help on streamlining your app's use of wireless data resources. We've also included contact information for organizations that serve the developer community, and which have helped guide CTIA in the creation of these resources for developers.

Storefronts Carriers Other Organizations

intertekTesting by Intertek Testing Services. We deliver expert testing on any app, on any device, on any network – now. Visit www.apptestnow.com.

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CTIA - The Wireless Association