Free Yourself from App Overload

De-clutter your smartphone and boost your productivity.

January 2016

Has your phone or tablet been running a bit slower than usual? Have you gotten messages that your mobile device is out of space? Chances are, you’ve got far more apps than you need. By following a few guidelines, letting go of unnecessary apps and avoiding app overload is easier than you may think.

Useful app criteria

A good rule of thumb for clearing out your closet is to find any clothing items you haven’t worn in two years and donate them. For apps, shrink this to three months. Apps should be tools you need at the ready and frequently use, not ones you tap every few months. For anything used less than quarterly, you are much better off visiting a site via your browser.

Second, look for any duplicate apps. Do you have more than one tool for buying movie tickets or for tracking to-do lists? Decide which one you actually use and ditch the others.

Third, determine which apps add little value but take up a lot of your time. For example, if you are checking your personal feed on Facebook several times a day and it is distracting you from more important tasks, removing this app from your phone will reduce the temptation to check Facebook when you could be spending your time more productively.

Finally, when you delete the apps, be sure you actually delete them. iPhone users are probably familiar with the practice of pressing down on the screen until the app icons start to jiggle, then tapping the “x” that appears in the upper corner. But in some cases, this does not actually remove the app. If you notice the app reappears, it may be necessary to go into the Apps section of iTunes on your desktop or laptop and find the apps you want to delete in order to be rid of them for good.

With this in mind, here are three types of apps you may want to consider deleting to de-clutter your phone.

Microsoft Office or iWork apps

If you use Word, Excel or other Microsoft Office programs in your day-to-day work, it might seem logical to download these apps to your mobile device. But when was the last time you worked on a document or spreadsheet on your phone? Granted, having these on your tablet may be handy, but even as far as mobile technology has come, it still just makes more sense to work on documents using a laptop or tablet.

Antivirus apps

Most laptops and desktops include an antivirus program or two aimed at helping reduce the damage caused by malicious software, but are these programs necessary for a smartphone? Smartphones like Android and iOS function in a completely different way than standard computers, with each app operating in a siloed space, unable to access other apps. This limits the damage that malware can cause on a smartphone and limits the effectiveness of any antivirus programs. “Any antivirus software you install on a phone would not be able to scan any other app, or any data used by those apps,” tech expert Patrick Lambert recently explained. Better to remove these apps and instead seek out greater security from your phone’s settings, such as having a lock screen, or setting up “brick” mode so your mobile device can be erased remotely should it be lost or stolen.

Coupon and brand apps

Everybody loves a bargain, but you might want to double-check whether saving some money on your next office supply order or on a hotel stay for an upcoming business trip is worth the trouble often involved in a number of coupon and brand apps on the market. Tools like Eureka Offers, or LogicBuy often bombard users with offer alerts, many of which may be irrelevant or not particularly useful in saving money. Most of these services can instead be shifted to daily email alerts, or accessed through a mobile browser to free up space on your phone and allow you to look for deals on your own terms.



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