About Creating Efficient Cellular Apps

Applications (apps) designed for Ethernet and Wi-Fi have natural limitations imposed by the architecture of cellular networks. Two of the most significant limitations are bandwidth usage and battery usage. High bandwidth usage and unnecessary connections can cost the user in data plan charges. High data-transfer rates and other factors can consume battery life. Poor app design can consume extraordinary amounts of both.

It is in the interests of developers, carriers, and hardware manufacturers to avoid these kinds of problems.

While Apple has its developer support programs, carriers like AT&T and Sprint also have frameworks to analyze apps and have programs to educate and encourage developers in creating efficient and well-behaved apps that are safe for networks—which Apple developers may want to explore.

This document is intended for developers of apps on Apple devices that use cellular networks for data transfer (iPhones and iPads). It presumes that you are already familiar with the basics of Ethernet and Wi-Fi data transfer. It uses the Xcode Instruments tool to display data about apps’ behavior, so some familiarity with Xcode and Instruments may be helpful. The advice here may also be useful to developers of apps on other platforms, but it is not intended to discuss those environments.