Why I don’t like apps

I know that mobile apps are all the craze, on iOS and Android devices, and the numbers say that more people clock in more time using apps than browsing websites. But when I have the option, I almost always choose the “Add to Home Screen” when on a mobile site using Safari on iOS, instead of installing yet another mobile app. (and in so doing, you’d notice that even some popular websites have an app but don’t have a home screen icon)

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5 reasons I don’t like mobile apps

  1. Out of memory. With a normal 8GB or 16GB iPhone, you might have room for a couple dozen apps, and if you were to leave room for music and video, that’s about it. So many retail stores and franchises are making their own custom apps, and then there are websites, social networks, and mobile-only apps. I can’t get them all to try them out, much less to keep them around to use on a less-than-regular basis. That means I’m using the likes of IMDb and Wikipedia and Huffington Post as mobile websites via home screen icons and not as installed apps.
  2. Updates. I have to download another update again? Or I’m getting interrupted with another notification or badge? I know there are ways to automate most of those updates, but nevertheless, that’s one more thing to manage with them apps. Mobile websites are always up-to-date, no downloading, no updating permissions, no wait.
  3. App Store. Even as what someone might call an advanced user, I do not find the App Store (on iOS or Android) to be user-friendly. These stores are designed only to highlight and spotlight the popular ones or the new ones, and the categories worked when there’s a few hundred apps, but now with thousands and thousands of apps, trying to browse for an app that was released 2 months ago, but it didn’t become most popular, is nearly impossible.
  4. Push notifications. Every app wants to send notifications, and now there are websites that want to send notifications too. I know I can turn them off, but it’d be smarter to default to notifications off. I know every company is competing for attention and wants to push their notifications, but I can’t fit too many on my little mobile screen, so I have to be very selective.
  5. Development costs. Having an app does not mean your company/organization doesn’t also need a mobile (aka responsive design) website. And that’s a costly endeavor for a little gain, particularly when it’s obvious that the mobile app is not much more than what’s already at the mobile website. And, when I notice that the app isn’t much more than the website, that app is getting deleted, but that still wasted 15 minutes of my time figuring that out.

What do you think of apps? Love ’em or hate ’em? 

Yes, of course, there are a number of great things about mobile apps, and that’s why lots of people are spending a lot of their smartphone time in apps rather than browsing websites. With mobile apps, you can bake in more functions, uploading photos & videos, streaming audios & videos, download podcasts, a controlled environment, push notifications, and the habit-forming sticky factor to keep users coming back and spending more time. But as for me and my smartphone, I’m going minimalistic with using as few apps as possible.

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