Web has a very long history of optimization. There’s even a famous study from Amazon, which indicates that slow performance results in less sales. Most of those web optimizations also apply for apps, so I’ll present some optimizations, which are shamelessly stolen from the web.

Well, actually they aren’t really stolen from web, as they’re well understood. There’s for example a lot of information to be found at https://web.dev/metrics/. We’ll now take a look at a couple of strategies, which have a positive impact on your app.

Responsive image loading

At the start of the development of an app, you’re typically running a “one size fits all” strategy. Though, this is probably not intentional, but because optimizations aren’t yet as important as getting it working.

Serving desktop-sized images to mobile devices can use 2–4x more data than needed. This results in slower loading times for images, increased data usage, and slower image decoding times on lower end devices. The web has special APIs for this.

Flutter doesn’t have specific APIs for this, so I’m going to show you how to do this. But first, we’ll need to talk about the backend. Typically, you want to have the images in 3–5 different resolutions. Those images should be pre-sized, since on demand resizing increases the duration of the request.

Now back to implementing this on Flutter. For bundled images, this can be done by following this Flutter guide. For images coming from the web, this isn’t as easy. First, we’ll create a widget to get the size of the available space for the image, as well as the current screen density. With that ResponsiveImageBuilder we can then create a URL to request the image in the correct size.

typedef ImageBuilder = Widget Function(BuildContext, double width, double height, double densitiy);

class ResponsiveImageBuilder extends StatelessWidget {
  const ResponsiveImageBuilder({super.key, required this.builder});
  final ImageBuilder builder;
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return LayoutBuilder(
        builder: (BuildContext context, BoxConstraints constraints) {
          return builder(

// ...

  builder: (context, width, height, density) {
    // Build URL to request image based on the width, height and density
    final url = '';
    return Image.network(url);

Adaptive Loading

Adaptive loading is loading content depending on the network, like 2G, 3G, LTE.

  • Decide on whether to load high or low resolution content, like images, videos and so on. Typically, streaming services do this.
  • If you do background up- or downloads, pause and resume them depending on the network
  • Check whether roaming is enabled and warn users, that additional cost may occur.

There are several libraries available on pub.dev which provide this kind of information. Choose one as you see fit.

Incremental Loading

Let’s assume that the initial page of the app consists of multiple different data sets, as it is often the case. Incremental loading means that each of these data sets is individually loaded. This incremental loading makes your app seem faster, since content can be presented faster. It also helps you to be interactive faster. Make sure that you don’t introduce annoying layout shifts, though, as that can break the now faster experience again.

Preloading content

Preloading content is the process of loading content for pages your user might visit next. Flutter does already provide an API for preloading images:

  [NetworkImage(url1), NetworkImage(url2)],
  onError: (exception, stackTrace) {
    print('$exception $stackTrace')

Other content has to be preloaded by yourself, though.

Optimizing bundle size

On web, you often use JavaScript minification (and obfuscation) to reduce the bundle size, in order to reduce the amount of code which needs to be downloaded. This results in quicker page loading. Additionally, you typically use a tool like ImageOptim in order to reduce the size of images, so that images load quicker. This is done additionally to the responsive image loading.

In Flutter, you can also make use of code obfuscation (minification, sometimes also called tree-shaking, is done by default in Dart) and also of splitting debug symbols. Both can reduce the bundle size of your app. Be aware, though, that you need to make your error monitoring service of choice aware of the debug symbols.

Flutter has also tree-shaking for icon fonts and not just for code, which helps to further reduce the bundle size.

Image optimization is possible for Flutter, just crunch the images you’re bundling with a tool similarly to ImageOptim. Ideally, this is also built-in into your build pipeline, so that it doesn’t matter if you’re committing optimized images.

You can further reduce the bundle size of your app by employing native strategies to reduce code size. Favor, for example, Android’s AABs over APKs for distribution of your app.

Originally posted on Medium.