The NY Times today brings up an interesting discussion on whether we are suffering from app burnout. Granted that’s painting with a pretty broad brush, but I’d venture that many share something in common with the author who has 259 apps installed, 16 of which she uses on a regular basis. Is your iPhone a veritable wasteland of unused apps? Have you taken steps to delete apps from your iPhone or even go so far as to also delete them from iTunes?

App burn out

There are currently over 775,000 applications on the App Store, with a good number of free apps. People are downloading apps at a frantic pace, but how much of the app experiences has become disposable. Download, open and then file away in a folder never to be heard from again. Less than half the people who download an app use it more than once, says Guy Rosen, chief executive at Onavo. His company measures people measure data usage.

Speaking from my personal experience, my iPhone and iPad have in the past become a veritable app wasteland. I’m not sure if burnout is the correct word, as I still find there are a good number of new apps that manage to slip into my daily usage. App clutter is more like it. Let’s face it, that’s how you can judge success of an app within your digital ecosystem. Are you using it daily or at a minimum of once a week?

During the holiday, I went through a digital detox of sorts. No, I wasn’t going to do anything crazy like give up smart phones, tablets or computers. I took time to scale back my apps. The easiest method was to restore my iPhone to its factory state and then install my core apps, which I define as those which adorn my home screen without any of the stock apps.

I filled up a second page in no time, also with apps that I used on a daily basis. There were certain hard and fast rules, such as no apps which duplicate the functionality of another installed app. The only exceptions made were for Google Maps, although I’m warming up to Maps given it’s thorough integration throughout iOS. No Social folder filled with 10 Twitter clients. I realized that I don’t get any benefit from being a librarian for unused apps.

I forgot a number of frequently used apps during this process. When I did, they were just an install button away from reclaiming their position on my iPhone. eBay, Flixter, Amazon among others were all welcomed back with open arms.

There is no be all, end all system for managing apps on one’s iPhone. For many, having all of their apps installed works best for them. I used to be that very same person, but with music, until I realized there is no good reason to be carrying a library that contained a live Vanilla Ice album. App burnout isn’t having 259 apps installed on your iPhone, it’s being able to properly manage and get the most from your apps. Lean and mean or all in. Both work, but as users we have to rule the roost.

Source: NY Times