Once or twice a year, I get this irresistible urge to uninstall apps from my devices. Apps that I don’t use very often, apps that can be replaced by websites easily, apps that I don’t need all the time, and so on.
Yesterday, I did just that on my iPhone and I now only have four third-party apps installed from the App Store.
On my Mac, the cleanup happened a few weeks ago, and I only have five apps outside of the default Mac apps.1
The result of this minimal approach to using apps is not only a certain peace of mind, but a much more focused use of my devices. Blogging apps? Only on the Mac. Messaging app? Only on the phone. News apps? Websites are good enough. That cool photo editing app that I bought a few months ago but never use? I’ll reinstall it the day I really need it.2
In total, I only use seven different apps across all my devices (I only use the default apps on my Apple Watch):3
- 1Password (Mac & iPhone): I can’t get rid of it. Not only it is a fantastic app, but it would be a pain to move all my passwords to iCloud Keychain. Besides, even if I managed to uninstall this app, I’d still need another app like Authy to replace it, just for the one-time passwords required for 2FA.
- Wipr (Mac & iPhone): My new go-to content blocker for Safari. I am not a big fan of the principle of ad blocking, but browsing the web is just not bearable without one. I remember a time when it used to be easier, but it seems that this is not the case anymore. I also tried Ka-block and Magic Lasso, but they both seemed to make my phone run very hot from time to time, so I recently switched to Wipr. So far so good.4
- StopTheMadness (Mac): Another must-have tool to improve the web browsing experience, or rather to make it like it’s supposed to be.
- Drafts (Mac): My go-to writing app, perfectly tuned for my publishing-with-Blot workflow.
- Dropbox (Mac): needed for publishing blog post. For Drafts and Dropbox, I don’t really need the iPhone apps: almost never write on my phone, and the occasional typo can wait until I come back to my desk.
- Banxo, my bank app (iPhone): this app is very bad and very slow, but logging on the website every time I need to check my bank account is such a pain that I prefer to keep the app around. For now.5
- WhatsApp (iPhone): Almost all my friends and family use WhatsApp and there is basically no way around it, unless I want to become the annoying — but right — anti-Facebook guy forcing people to use SMS and be excluded from all the group chats.
Bear in mind that in a few days or weeks from now I may or may not reinstall twenty more apps and make this article completely irrelevant, but this is the beauty of the game.
More recently, I uninstalled the excellent NetNewsWire RSS reader app and use Feeder on the web, which really is enough for my needs.↩︎
By the way, do we know if App Clips are a thing or not yet?↩︎
Not counting my work PC on Windows 10 obviously.↩︎
I also used DuckDuckGo’s great content-blocker on the Mac, but for some reason on the iPhone it becomes a full on browser, not a content-blocker like it is on the Mac. I find this rather unnecessary since you can already have DuckDuckGo as the default search engine on Safari, and the tracker blocking feature could work as just a content-blocker add-on.↩︎
This app is so bad, that I consider getting another bank just for that reason.↩︎