Have you got App fatigue?

In January, I posted a rant ‘Is the Internet broken’ about the how the Internet was becoming less and less helpful (to me at least) and that we were all being forced to download more and more apps to do the simplest of things.   If I may, I’ll continue my rant, specifically in relation to Smartphone Apps which I think are ruling our lives, rather than improving the quality of our lives. 

Apps bloat your phone

My last smartphone told me I had run out of storage space.   It wasn’t old but it didn’t have space to accommodate the updates on the three apps I had downloaded and it wasn’t possible to delete the ten regularly updated useless apps it came loaded with.  So, I have a new one.  Initially the temptation was to try out various apps that took my fancy.  Some were too intrusive, some didn’t work, and a couple of amusing games were unplayable – because they could only be understood young people.  Other apps seemed hell bent on getting money out of me.  I then decided I didn’t need any more apps and in any event, I can accomplish most things I need to do just as easily on a web site.   

Apps are deliberately addictive

Even the popular, some would say essential, social media and photo-sharing websites, are proving tiresome to a lot of people.   What about you?    Are you sick of Instagram sending you dozens of push notifications each week and ‘stories’ to attract you?  Do you find Twitter’s constant feed refresh graphics are designed to keep you excited and constantly Twittering?  Do you have apps like LinkedIn that want you feel obligated to make more connections?  Do you get apps reminding you of events and birthdays or presenting time capsules or recommendations?  All these techniques employed by apps are designed to reel you in and keep your attention.  Of course you can customize and limit your notifications but it takes some digging through your settings, and the default is to notify you about everything.

Apps are needed for bloody everything – even going for a pint!

Annoyingly, from 4 July, it appears I will now need to download an app just to go for a pint.  How will the oldies who are not familiar with the process or don’t even have a smartphone cope?  How will the landlords cope if people refuse?  And if they don’t, will landlords be able to properly manage the software and the data they collect?  I doubt it.  I can support the principle of track and trace, but leaving it to private software companies and individual publicans to manage contact tracing doesn’t sit well with me.  Will landlords delete data after 21 days, will the software company keep the data and will I get mysterious marketing messages as a result of the app? 

Apps mug you

The problem is, we don’t always know how much information we are sharing when we download apps and what happens to it.  Every week there’s another massive data leak that exposes the sensitive information of thousands, if not millions, of people.  The reason for this is that, simply put, application networks are dumb.  Dan Demers of Forbes Technology Council explains…… “Every time two or more applications need to communicate, they create their own copies of your data. Every time this happens, you’re giving control of your data to a new application.  When you have thousands of applications networked together, as so many enterprises do, you have thousands of copies of data. That means thousands of applications with control over your data. How can anyone possibly keep up with all that? You can’t.”

So, overall, I mistrust apps! I much prefer browsing, researching, shopping and making payments on secure websites on my laptop.  I’m sure if websites were better designed, many apps wouldn’t be needed but of course that wouldn’t allow companies to grab my personal data quite so efficiently and bombard me with marketing, ads and scams.

Apps, Apps and More Apps

I know some people would like to control every aspect of their lives from their smartphones.  And they pretty much can. There is an app for just about everything.  I read there are 2.8 million apps on the Google Play Store and 1.9million apps on the Apple Appstore. There are around 150,000 apps for the iPhone alone.  Therefore there has to be a very high number of bad ones out there.

Stupid Smartphone Apps

Apps can be very stupid

I found an amusing round-up of the most useless and frustrating apps available on smartphones on thestreet.com.  At the top of the list was ‘Hang Time’, an app that for 99 cents measures how high and how fast and how often you can throw your iPhone in the air.  In effect you pay for the opportunity to destroy your phone.

The fact that lots of people downloaded these stupid apps is a worrying sign and an indication that some prefer to spend their time in a weird, lonely and depressing place. 

Apps for a psychedelic experience?

So I was encouraged when I found there was a new app to tackle stress, anxiety and depression. This app claims to allow users to have a psychedelic trip using their smartphone. It basically works by flickering light to guide the brain into an altered state of consciousness between that of meditation and classic pyschedelics.  It has been developed by Lumenate to help people to clear their mind from stress.  It’s also supposed to help you get better sleep although I don’t know how that fits with the advice that blue light emitted from smartphones inhibits sleep.  Whatever, I like the idea and am looking forward to trying it.  I am also looking forward to watching people using it. 

Until my next Tech rant, ‘Appy blogging!

Author: Paul

I am a retired, married bloke, dad and grandad - growing old with attitude.

2 thoughts on “Have you got App fatigue?”

  1. I think your rant is justified! I prefer the iPad and laptop to the phone, and as I don’t go out much that suits me fine. I’ve learned in the 10+ years since I first got an iPhone that stuffing them full of apps is a waste of time, and I’ve hardly ever paid for one in that time. May the unwary be saved!


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