Are you suffering from app fatigue?

Are you suffering from app fatigue?

Summary: If you own a smartphone, if you are not already suffering from app fatigue chances are you will at some point. App fatigue sets in over time as you collect a seemingly endless stream of apps.

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If you own a smartphone, if you are not already suffering from app fatigue chances are you will at some point. App fatigue sets in over time as you collect a seemingly endless stream of apps that do the same thing. You end up spending far too much time scrolling through screens of apps to find the one you want. Eventually you pause and look at all of those app icons on the screen and realize you have a bunch of apps that do the exact same thing.

I am a heavy Twitter user; I am in the social network all day and frequently share things with my Twitterverse. It's not only fun, I often find very interesting things that would otherwise pass me by. I prefer working with Twitter on my smartphone, as I find mobile apps are better than the Twitter web site. That's why I have 5 Twitter apps on my Android phone right now.

App fatigue creeps up on you before you realize it, because it's human nature that drives it. Many apps are free or less than a buck, so it's hard to justify not trying a new one out when you hear about it. Never mind that you already have 5 Twitter apps on your smartphone, a new one just came out and someone said it was really good. So you spend time installing it and using it for a bit to see how it compares to that other app. Usually it has one or two features the other apps are missing, and you delight in finding it and feel ahead of the game.

But after a while you miss other features your old app has that the new one is missing, so eventually you return to your old favorite app. If it ended there app fatigue wouldn't be such a big deal, but you don't uninstall these apps you no longer use, you leave them on your phone taking up space. Why not, they were free, right?

Over time it becomes a time sink, as the developers of all of these unused apps keep adding features to get you to use them again. Your phone keeps telling you about these updates, and you stop what you're doing to apply them. Then you have to try them out to see if the update is just what you were looking for. The cycle starts anew, and often ends the same way with you casting the updated app aside, just like you did originally.

App fatigue can become a big waste of time, and certainly wastes precious device memory. These apps just sit there taking up space, waiting for the next update to get your attention once again. The obsession with these apps is not a sickness, but it's pretty darn close. The smart thing to do is keep using your favorite app of a particular type, and getting rid of all the others. You may even do that occasionally, but then a brand new app gets released. You just have to give it a try, just in case you might be missing something. And now you have a tablet alongside your smartphone and there's another mess of apps to try. Sigh.

Image credit: Flickr user Peat Bakke

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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20 comments
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  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    Not much of an issue for me. At least with the current version of iOS, I can easily organize my apps into folders. I went from 11 screens of apps down to 4 when Apple added the folder feature with iOS 4.x.

    Plus, I don't think twice about deleting an app if I either don't use it, found a better alternative, or just don't like it.
    gtdworak
  • Bleeders

    It's an old term for a new trend: bleeding your pocketbook a few dollars at a time. It's a godsend for Apple, who just takes their cut off the top, and for small developers who don't have the resources to do more than small apps. It's even sweeter when they can get you to pay for the same thing over and over and over ...
    terry flores
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    I don't care at all about all those apps. I only use what I find useful and just stick with it. If I don't like it I either throw it away or find something better. Life has so much more to offer than a few lousy apps.
    DonMarcello
  • Right on cue. A couple of days after it's pointed out

    that android tablets have almost 0 apps, comes a story on how lots of apps is actually bad because you'll get app fatigue. Reminds me of the stories on how unemployment was actually a GOOD thing because it let you reconnect with your family. Of course, unemployment is only good under Democrat presidents.
    fr_gough
    • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

      @frgough@...
      LOL. :D
      Ram U
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    [b]But after a while you miss other features your old app has that the new one is missing, so eventually you return to your old favorite app. If it ended there app fatigue wouldn?t be such a big deal, but you don?t uninstall these apps you no longer use, you leave them on your phone taking up space. Why not, they were free, right?[/b]

    Personally I have no issues deleting apps off of my phone that I no longer use - mainly because I sync my iPhone every evening prior to bed and I have all of my apps backed up so deleting one off of the device is not a big deal at all. Also with the folders I can keep my apps organized.
    athynz
    • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

      @athynz
      Samething and moreover I don't think twice before deleting an app that is no longer being used. But OTOH, I keep my kids games and other stuff eventhough I am not using.
      Ram U
  • I say shocked

    Fortunately this never happens on desktop PCs, he said sarcastically.
    Robert Hahn
  • Eh?

    "App fatigue sets in over time as you collect a seemingly endless stream of apps that do the same thing."

    And why would you do that? What I do is I grab a bunch, select the best one, and delete the others. There's almost no redundancy of functionality with the apps on my device.

    Never have redundant apps on a device for more than a day. When the next day comes, throw away all except one and wait at least a year before going to the app store again to look for something with the same functionality.

    If it wasn't your job to review apps and have opinions about them, that's what you should be doing. That's what I try to do.

    "I am a heavy Twitter user"

    My advice is to stick with only one social network, and only use one app with it. There is really no need to get drawn into a dozen networks with a dozen apps each.

    In the case of Twitter, choose between the official app and TweetDeck and throw away everything else.

    Again, you probably can't really do that because of your job, but that's what I try to do, and what most people I know do.
    CobraA1
    • +1

      @CobraA1 I have a couple of apps on my Android device, a few more on my WP7 and a fair few on iOS. I found the ones I needed on iOS and those I used regularly, I transfered to WP7 and Android, when I upgraded handsets.

      I am down to maybe half a dozen core apps I use regularly. Even the Amazon App Store's daily free app has never tempted me, I look at them and think "hmm, free app... hmm, I'd never use it anyway," so I don't bother downloading.
      wright_is
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    My fart apps have their own folder, that way I can enjoy organized flatulence.
    Brick Tamland
    • YOUR BRAIN IS SUFFERING FROM MULTIPLE IDENTITY FATIGUE!!!

      @Brick Tamland

      Buwhahahahaha!!!!!!

      on your stupid_a$$ blog he posts about being Brick Tamland. http://zdnetfollies.blogspot.com

      LMFAO!!!

      Hey Brick Tamland, er I MEAN WINDOZE98!!! YEP, you just changed your name from WINDOZE98 to brick tamland, and the proof is in the link below...hmm, how could all those people replying @windoze98 to a post from "brick Tamland"? very interesting! I think it means you're a fraud, and a hypocrite.

      YOu remember, posting as WIndoze98, asking me why I post towards Cyberslammer2 (Ron Burgundy) the way I do...

      and I picked up on "windoze98" right away!!! I knew it was you, and I called you out on it!

      LOL..."windoze98" even said: "Granted, cyberslammer2 rants a lot and is full of crap..." you said yourself you're full of crap (of course, anyone that reads your posts knew that)

      So, ONCE AGAIN, Brick Tamland, Windoze98, Cyberslammer2, Ron Burgundy, etc., etc., etc.,...

      YOU GOT OWNED, SUCKA!

      http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-91637?tag=talkback-river;1_94317_1807003
      SonofaSailor
      • Most coffee companies now offer decaf.

        @SonofaSailor

        You should switch.

        Oh, and meth is no good for you, either.
        trickytom3
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    No, but I appreciate the concern.
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    I think that the comment section of a blog is the very definition of "tough room"
    chriscrifasi
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    Personally I'm suffering from App dearth (iPad) rather than fatigue. There just are not enough good apps out there to be worth bothering with in my experience.

    I played a ton of PvZ at one point and some World of Goo, but the Kindle App and the browser now account for about 97% of my usage of the device.
    SlithyTove
  • Well... no.

    Because my phone is just that: a phone and nothing more.
    Hallowed are the Ori
  • Whose fault is this?

    Nobody cares that you have such a lack of control that you buy duplicative apps. That should only be a problem for seven year olds and the mentally-retarded. It's like saying that I have "chicken mcnugget fatigue", because I eat them seven days-a-week.

    You what cures "app fatigue"? NOT BUYING DUPLICATIVE APPS!

    That was hard, wasn't it?
    trickytom3
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    I do wonder about all the tax apps I have on my IPhone; most do the same function, some do vary and may be quiet useful; however, I find that I may have made the app better myself had I had the funding. For example: there is only a few apps that produce state tax information. Those apps focuse on sales tax and use tax. Why do tax deadlines, deductions, etc.. apps only focus on federal tax news, every state has it's own tax news, rules and regs.

    Greg Freyman, CPA
    www.taxproff.com
    GregfreymanCPA
  • RE: Are you suffering from app fatigue?

    Makes me wonder how credible, or how complete are the rest of those tax apps.
    GregfreymanCPA