In the smartphone world, there are millions and gajillions of apps that do all sorts of different things. Fitness trackers, note takers, compasses, video and photo editors, games, ebook readers, weather reports, and so many many more.
And in a playground so saturated by many, each app developer is vying for attention and monetization, of course. Some hit the mark of becoming popular and good enough to stay on our phones and tablets. Others get a bit too annoying and get instantly deleted.
So, what causes us to instantly obliterate an app from our phones? Well, our list is below and you can feel free to add your major pet peeves when it comes to apps in the comments section below!
Grubby subscription plans
As the market gets saturated and everyone has the device they need and apps they need, sales start to plateau. Even hardware manufacturers get this — there’s a good reason why Apple is pushing so hard to evolve its subscription services (Apple Arcade, Music, TV+, Cloud+, Fitness+).App developers get this, too, which is why you can see a lot of subscription model monetization all across the App Store and Play Store.
Now, I am absolutely not bagging on subscription-based apps that actually provide value. Things like Adobe’s CC, where you get cloud space to sync all your projects, and you get constant app updates with new features or bug fixes — that’s fine, the cost is justified.
But there are these other apps that are just grubby and slimy — the type of app that you will only use once in a year. Maybe to make a funny GIF, open a specific document, or add a glitch effect to your video.
The app is marked as “free” but then tries to fleece you by instantly requesting you subscribe to actually get to its home screen. Or, it’ll offer a 3-day free trial and charge you after — I can only assume the developers here hope users forget to cancel after they try the app out.
Like, why do I need to subscribe to an app that makes my dog photos “talk”? It does all of its work on-device, no server fees required, and it doesn’t use any fancy machine learning algorithms or anything. All of that for just $22 a year? Sign me right up!Alternatively, some apps will offer a “pro” subscription or one-time purchase to unlock all features. That’s fine in theory until you see that the one-time purchase price is way too inflated, effectively pushing you towards a subscription plan.
Like here’s the pricing plan for a free video editor app, which occasionally tries to funnel you to the pro plan:
$70 for an outright buy? I do love this app, but in a world where LumaFusion costs $30, this is a bit much. With such a price, it kind of feels like the developer wants to funnel us into the subscription plan options. And, again, the app in question doesn’t offer any cloud space or a service that would cost you money. It just gets… some more effects and advanced color grading. On-device stuff.
“Hey, remember our app?” notification
We all have a bucketful of apps on our phones, stored away in a folder and used once every 7 months or so. And app developers know this. So, they come up with the smart solution — let’s push a notification to our users to remind them to actually use our app! What could go wrong?
You know, the type of notification that doesn’t really have any value. It’s more like “Hey, come look at our app!”. Like the one that decided that 7:45 PM on a Tuesday evening is the perfect time for me to get to making a video, for example.
I know, I know. We have granular control over notifications and I can just disable those for this particular app. But you know what? Holding my finger over the app and choosing “Delete” took me way less time and effort.
Ads bigger than the app’s UI elements
This goes without saying, but if your ads take more space on the app screen than the actual app buttons and elements, something isn’t right.
Oooh, and what about those apps that force you to watch 30 seconds of the most awful mobile game video ever before you can actually skip it?
Yeah, we all want to monetize our products. But this ain’t it, chief. Delete.
Are you enjoying our app? ARE YOU???
Let me preface this by saying I’ve got absolutely nothing against an app asking me to review it. Sure, if I am enjoying it and actually using it, I will absolutely drop a 5-star rating — thanks for reminding me, I wouldn’t have gone back to the App Store to do it manually.
But some apps… some apps just don’t give up! You already rated and reviewed it. You dismissed the notification a couple of times, choosing “Don’t ask again”. And you know what? It asks again!
Yeah, let me stop whatever I am doing, just to make sure I meant every word in that review I wrote about your app 2 months ago. Dropping one star for each pop-up after the initial prompt.
This is not what I wanted to download
This pertains mostly to games, and to be fair — most of you have probably already learned to avoid these like a bat menu dinner party. There are a plethora of video ads, infesting Facebook and YouTube, showing you these pretty cool mobile games that you’d actually want to try.
You download the game — it’s a shoddy Farmville clone that crashes during the tutorial. Alright, OK, who approved this to exist in my world?
Allow us to access everything on your device for no specific reason
Now that we have granular permission control on both Android and iOS, it’s really easy to spot if an app is up to no good (or if it’s just been developed lazily). Like, if a ZIP archiver wants access to my Phone or Contacts, that’s an instant delete.
A lot of apps will kindly inform you “Hey, we need this specific permission for this specific feature”. That’s cool, thanks for letting us know. But if an app looks like it wants way too much access and fails to give us a good reason for why — bye-bye, we are off to download another one.