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How Long Should You Keep Application Data For?

How Long Should You Keep Application Data For?

Data collection and analysis is an essential part of application development. Information can be gathered about all kinds of functions and processes and be used to further improve and optimize the application performance.

However, data takes up space. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what is useful and what isn’t. Managing data correctly can be a challenge, too. Organization methods such as the use of log management software are crucial for staying on top of data and ensuring it is accessible.

Let’s look at what app data collection is used for and how long data should be kept. Find out more below.

What Is Application Data Used For?

Data collection and analysis is a cornerstone of software development and design. Apps are no exception. By examining different data streams, developers can glean key insights that can allow them to improve and optimize app performance.

User experience is one of the primary aspects of app performance that can be improved through the collection and analysis of data. There are analytic tools available that will track how long users spend on different areas of your app.

Advanced tools can provide heatmaps that show where your app’s main touchpoints are, which is where users are clicking the most. This can give you an idea of which parts of your app work and which don’t and can allow you to evaluate how attractive different parts of your app are to users.

Example of a Heatmap Generated by Hotjar

Improving Performance and UX

Data can also be used to test an app’s speed performance across networks and servers. Using testing methods such as spike, stress, and load testing can provide you with detailed insights into how your app responds and performs when met with different levels of use and traffic. This data can then be harnessed to improve your app’s speed and efficiency.

User information, such as login and contact details, is perhaps the most important kind of data your app will process. It will allow users to access their accounts and make use of your app’s features.

App Data Display in Apple’s Developer Dashboard

However, this data must be treated with a high level of sensitivity and confidentiality. Failure to do so can cause irreparable harm to your brand’s reputation and can even lead to legal action being filed against you.

For How Long Should the Data Be Kept?

How long data should be stored will depend entirely on what kind of data it is. It will also depend on what you are using data for and what stage of the development process you are at.

Storage options also need to be taken into consideration. How and where your store your data can come with different logistical and financial implications. For large volumes of data and information, cloud storage is often the best option. However, this can be expensive. To ensure you are spending money wisely, you need to assess and identify the data that needs to be kept for longer.

Different Stages of Discarding

Data collected during the initial app development process is often the first that can be discarded. You will have to rerun similar tests in the future as part of the app’s general maintenance, so there should be no issue in overwriting the data.

However, user information such as login details will need to be kept for far longer, often indefinitely, until such a time that a user deletes or removes their account. As we mentioned above, personal user data is subject to strict laws and regulations, such as those set out under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Let’s look at this in more detail.

What Does The Law Say?

The GDPR stipulates that the minimum possible amount of user data should be collected and held. The legislation states that data should be assessed for both its storage limitation and its purpose limitation. Storage limitation means that data can only be kept while the purpose for its collection remains unfulfilled.

Once the data has been used for what it was intended for, it must be deleted and completely removed from storage. If data is being kept, the purpose for this data retention must be clearly defined and clarified to the relevant authorities.

Adhering to current laws and regulations regarding data collection and handling is absolutely crucial for all modern companies. Disciplinary action and regulatory sanctions can be swift and extreme, with failure to meet GDRP standards often resulting in a fine equivalent to 4% of a company’s annual turnover, or up to around $20 million.

Many data laws worldwide, including the GDPR, stipulate that companies must provide users and customers with their personal information should they request it. This means that your data storage procedures must be highly organized to ensure you can access data in a timely and efficient matter whenever you need it.


The process of designing and developing an app is a long and involved one. Collecting and analyzing data is one of the most effective ways to streamline the process. It can give you key insights that you can then use to optimize your application and improve performance and user experience.

How long you keep data will depend on what kind of data it is. However, you must always remember to adhere to data laws and regulations.

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