Posted May 27, 2013 by Tom Litchfield in Tips

Going on an app diet

woman measuring waist on iphone screen
woman measuring waist on iphone screen

App developers will hate this post. I’m about to tell you to remove apps from your phone or tablet.

I’m the last person to tell anyone to uninstall apps. I love apps. I love that having your smartphone with you at all times can give you more time in the day to get things done. Think about all the waiting you do every day, at the doctor’s office, getting your oil changed, lines in stores and at banks, these are moments we have every day when we can knock out small tasks with apps. I love that apps help us can stay on top of customer service, manage websites and even participate in meetings while on vacation. Oh, and apps allow us to share any moment, anytime with anyone.

So, why then should we go on an app diet? Because some apps are redundant, with features your phone already has out of the box. There are many apps that have features that overlap. And there are some apps that can take the place of 3 or 4 apps. Redundant apps lead to unnecessary updates, storage usage, lower battery life and possibly reduced performance.

Some apps are resource hogs. For example, the official Facebook app is one that can drain a phone battery in just a few hours of heavy use. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives that can post to Facebook. Yet one more reason to uninstall apps from your device.

If you think you need to go on an app diet, here’s a short list of alternatives for some popular apps:

  • World Clock apps: Android and iOS can display times for multiple time zones. You don’t really need a separate world clock app unless you want additional features, like displaying several time zones at once or calculating hours between zones.
  • The Hootsuite app (free) can replace Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for posting status updates, pictures and comments. Social media power users and Facebook addicts will probably want to stick with the individual apps for their advanced features. Also, many apps like Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and several others will post to Facebook and Twitter.
  • If you have Reader and News apps on your device, but haven’t used them in over a week, you can probably uninstall them. Get news alerts sent to your email instead by subscribing to your favorite sites or using Google Alerts. Note: this tip only for those who have good management of their inboxes!
  • If you use Wikipedia Mobile, you don’t really need WikiHood. WikiHood actually has a better interface than Wikipedia Mobile, but if you rarely use it you can uninstall it.
  • I love GateGuru but if you already use Kayak you can get by without it. Kayak gets its airport data from GateGuru.
  • If you use Google Googles you don’t need Inigma or any other QR code scanning app.
  • If you’re a heavy Instagram user you can check-in to Foursquare places instead of using the Foursquare app.

Of course, these app diet ideas are for casual users who don’t use the features of the apps mentioned. Most of the alternatives won’t satisfy power users. If you’re thinking of removing an app, perhaps take a deeper look at its features to see if it might be more useful than you thought.

I plan to update this post as I come across other app overlapping. If you have any examples of app redundancy, please let me know in the comments.

Tom Litchfield

is generally fascinated with mobile and internet technologies, and how they can help people and organizations. He’s always on the lookout for new technology that solves real problems.