In the early 2000s, Apple coined the term ‘There’s an app for that’ to introduce their latest line of third-party applications. The move proved huge for the mobile phone industry. Instead of a suite of apps, from games to weather reports, users could finally download apps from other developers.
Since then, there’s been a mobile app boom, many of which follow contemporary fads. For example, the Fitbit introduced the modern age of fitness and health apps that work with a remote sensor to provide data about the body. Currently, there’s a huge gaming boom for mobile apps that coincides with the rise of eSports.
Today, there are nearly nine million apps in circulation, according to RiskIQ, with Americans using up to 46 apps per month. But not all of these are useful, and there’s no reliable data that indicates what types of apps are used on a daily basis. Statistics tend to focus on the type of app downloaded and the number of downloads.
Clearly, there’s an oversaturation in the market. This can have tangible effects for mobile users, as some apps will charge a subscription fee after luring users in with a big deal, while others may be collecting data even when not in use. Even more will simply take up space and be forgotten.
So how can users be more mindful about which apps they download so they get the most from each product? Here are four simple steps that can be used to evaluate (or reevaluate) mobile app usage.
Have a (Specific) Purpose
An app should serve a specific purpose. In fact, the variation available in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store empowers users to find a very niche app that meets their needs. Selecting the first app listed in a store is settling for less.
For example, a poker enthusiast might be on the hunt for a training app that helps them learn the ropes. However, there will be a variety of options related to learning poker, which might focus on old-school strategy or how to get the most from online play. Before shopping around for an app, understand what the app’s concrete purpose will be.
Similar to the variety of choices exemplified above, users will also find a handful of options that deliver on the same mission. In the case of social media, this isn’t a big deal—but it is in other sectors.
For example, there are over 8,000 apps that use the word ‘weather’, according to The Guardian, for Android users alone. Of those options, most will cover daily weather reports specific to a certain region. Whatever the purpose of downloading a weather app, be sure to compare the top options. Read reviews from users and critics and be sure to consider whether an app is optimized for either Android or iPhone products.
Put Features to Use
With so much variation in the app market, most developers will look to create unique features that are specific to a certain demographic that they’re targeting. For example, budgeting apps are one of the most popular emerging sectors in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Each budget app has a suite of features that make tracking finances easy in relation to a specific topic. Some apps make tracking business expenditure and revenue easy, while others will look to make budgeting for a household easier.
To get full use of an app, a user should be prepared to dive into its special features. Oftentimes, these are listed directly under the app in its description, which makes shopping around easy.
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
As mentioned in the first section, finding the perfect app is easier with a clear goal in mind. However, with new apps being released every month and new startups tackling problems each year, there are incredible new releases around the corner at any given time.
Those looking to make their life easier with the help of apps can consider signing up for tech-related newsletters that cover apps and new technology related to their specific interests. And, of course, be sure to always update existing apps for top performance.