App Fatigue: Why people don’t want to download your mobile apps and what you can do differently.

Solomon Olalemi
4 min readApr 18, 2023
Photo Credit: Pinterest

I get tired of so many notifications popping up on my screen and what pisses me off is seeing some apps I haven’t used in the last 3 months. Like I can’t imagine I wasted my precious data to download the app and here I am finding it redundant. oops

I am sure you might have experienced this at one point or another other so you can relate. If yes, this is what is known as “App Fatigue”.

According to a report by business news, the number of apps downloaded annually declined for the “first time”, from 143.6 billion downloads in 2021 to 142.6 billion downloads in 2022. That figure was also lower than in 2020. In addition, iOS noticed a slight increase in the app and game downloads in 2022, after a two billion download decline in 2021.

As a product manager, when I look at some of these mobile apps on the play store or apple store, I can say some of them are good to be hosted as a web version there was no specific need to explain why a mobile app needs to be created. This to me makes the product looks like a bad product because it is a misplaced priority; but beyond that, there are other reasons why people are experiencing app fatigue. Some of them are;

  1. App overload: With millions of apps available in the app stores, users are becoming overwhelmed and finding it difficult to keep track of all the apps they have downloaded. This makes it challenging for new apps to stand out in a crowded market.
  2. Security concerns: Due to the increased number of app permission most of these mobile apps ask for, users are not becoming curious and careful to grant access to their data. Hence, downloading mobile apps is now creating app fatigue for people.
  3. Complexity: Some apps are complex and require a significant amount of time to learn how to use them. This put off users who plan to quickly use a service and in turn, makes the app usage dormant in the long run.
  4. Battery drain and performance issues: Some apps may drain the device’s battery or cause performance issues, such as slow load times or crashes. Users may b reluctant to download apps that can negatively impact their device’s performance.

What is the way out?

As a product manager, there are several strategies you can implement to address “app fatigue” and make your app more appealing to users:

  1. Develop Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): PWAs are web applications that can be accessed from any device, regardless of the operating system. PWAs are built using web technologies and are designed to provide a seamless user experience on mobile devices. With PWAs, users don’t have to download or install anything, making it easier for them to access your services.
  2. Focus on User Experience (UX): To stand out in a crowded market, it’s essential to focus on the user experience. This means creating a user-friendly interface, reducing load times, and ensuring that the app is easy to navigate. By focusing on the UX, you can make your app more appealing to users and increase engagement.
  3. Personalize the Experience: Personalization is a powerful tool for increasing user engagement. By personalizing the user experience, you can provide users with tailored recommendations and services based on their interests and preferences. This can increase user engagement and lead to higher retention rates.
  4. Simplify App Processes: One of the most significant barriers to app adoption is the sign-up and login process. Users are reluctant to spend time creating an account or entering their personal information. To address this issue, it’s important to simplify all the processes that are within the app.
  5. Focus on Security: To address security concerns, it’s essential to focus on security features such as data encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular security updates. By demonstrating a commitment to security, you can build trust with users and increase the likelihood that they will download and use your app.

In addition to all of the five (5) points above, it is important to look at your product critically, engage your customers and ask them if they truly want a mobile app. This will enable you to filter between what you feel is needed from what your customer/ users want to have. Remember that you ain’t building a product/ solution for yourself but for your users.