Apple bumps up the the over-the-air download limit for apps to 150 MB

Sarah Perez
With the release of iOS 11, Apple is making it slightly easier for iOS device owners to download larger apps over a cellular connection by increasing the download limit.

With the release of iOS 11, Apple is making it slightly easier for iOS device owners to download larger apps over a cellular connection by increasing the download limit. Before, Apple would require users to switch to Wi-Fi to download an app over 100 MB in size, which includes many games as well as Apple's own suite of iWork applications. Now, that limit has increased to 150 MB.

The change was announced in brief post on Apple's developer website, and comes at a time when Apple has introduced new technologies for third-party developers that allow them to build augmented reality applications where virtual objects can be overlaid on the real world, as in Pokémon Go.

But 150 MB is still a fairly restrictive limit, given the size of many of today's mobile games.

However, an increase on the download restriction has been a long time coming, as 9to5Mac pointed out. Apple hasn't raised the limit since 2013, when it bumped it up from 50 MB to 100 MB. And iOS originally had a 10 MB limit, if you want to consider how far we've come.

It's unclear, however, why there's a limit at all instead of a setting.

Many iOS users today have unlimited data plans, and they should be able to choose for themselves whether or not they want to use that data for downloading apps. And for those who don't, having the limit in place could be the default - which would protect them from unwanted data usage for things like automatic app updates, for example. (Facebook is often a culprit when it comes to hefty app updates, and it releases a new version every couple of weeks.)

But this is one of those cases where Apple seems to believe it's better to inconvenience some users in order to protect others, as well as a subtle signal to developers about app sizes, it seems.