Does anyone else find themselves paging through screens and screens of apps or digging through multiple app folders to find exactly what they need on their phones, or is it just me?
Yes I have a BlackBerry, but I also have plenty of apps on it: productivity apps, social media apps, and even health and fitness apps, in addition to standard apps. It gets even murkier when I use my iPad, because Iíve also loaded e-reading apps (Kindle in addition to the standard iPad reader, plus my libraryís free e-book lending app and a couple magazine apps thrown in for good measure); games; plus entertainment and video streaming apps. Itís almost enough to get me back to pen, paper, and a dumb phone.
Iím not the only person struggling with an application overload. Adrienne Gusoff, a relationship coach and author, uses an HTC Incredible Droid and is out of room on her phone. ďI literally cannot install any more apps without deleting others, which forces me to get rid of apps I like so I can install apps I need (i.e. for banking, DropBox, email, Kindle, various office programs, etc.),Ē she told me via email. ďI even added an extra SD card to my phone, only to discover that you cannot install apps on it.Ē
Part of the problem for Gusoff is that her Droid came with preinstalled apps she never uses, such as radio programs and games. She canít delete them, and her phone is at-capacity. Gusoff isnít the only person with more apps than she can use. According to the New York Times, anecdotal evidence suggests that users download more than 100 apps on their mobile devices -- yet only use about between 15 to 20 of them. For someone who needs multiple apps, say, for e-reading (I canít use Kindle or the iBooks app for the e-books I borrow from my library, and some of my magazine subscriptions use different magazine apps) or messaging (Apple messenger, BBM, WhatsApp, regular texting to dumbphones), thatís a lot of wasted space and confusion, hence the multiple folders.
Folders and organization are key to not being overwhelmed, Michael Candelori, creative director at mobile marketing agency @atsMobile, told me. ďI find that the key to not becoming overwhelmed is carefully organizing apps on my home screen -- sorted by functionality, client type, and frequency of use -- and tightly controlling their notification settings, especially in the notification center,Ē he said. ďSo in addition to culling apps whose utility proves little to none, I am always policing notification settings based on the amount of time I feel I can spend looking at my phone.Ē
Too many apps harm performance. As one Internet Evolution commenter pointed out, phones -- even the new, top-of-the-line iPhones -- have limited processing capability. It may take more apps reduce speed, but it will slow down with multiple apps running in the background. Candy Crush flickers occasionally on my iPad because Iíve opened up too many apps.
IT departments also struggle with app overload, not just consumers. BYOD has resulted in an influx of mobile devices and their apps, and according to an article on CIO Insight, managing these apps will quickly start to consume more of ITís time, particularly when users may have two or more apps that essentially do the same thing. Plus, as phones run out of memory, provisioning devices with mobile device management (MDM) software to secure corporate data also becomes a challenge.
Culling seems to be the only viable option. However, thatís hard to do when most people, including me, use their phones and tablets for business and personal reasons. Hereís to a new year, a clean phone and tablet, and, hopefully, more multifunctional apps.
— Christine Parizo is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.