The new year can be a great time to rethink our relationship with technology. Nearly 50% of Americans spend 5-6 hours on their smartphone daily, so if you’re planning to improve your life, doing an “app cleanse” can be a good place to start.
Ask yourself: Is your smartphone filled with apps you never use? Is social media becoming a time-suck? Are some apps making you feel bad about yourself and your life? Then maybe it’s time to say goodbye.
Remember, you’re not alone in this. Here are the most common apps people are leaving behind before 2022 gets underway.
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
This is hardly surprising. Multiple studies have found social media can adversely affect mental health. Perhaps that’s why the majority of people we interviewed are planning to quit or at least temporally deactivate social media this new year.
“I am a firm believer that social media causes stress because everyone’s life seems perfect on it,” says Aseem Kishore, CEO of Help Desk Geek. “I have uninstalled these toxic social media pages and plan to focus on my own happiness and satisfaction.”
“I’m tired of seeing fake positivity and polished people that look like they never had a bad day in their life,” says Emma Miles, co-founder of PawsomeAdvice, who is uninstalling Instagram.
“I want to find more time to myself rather than watching influencers living their lives while I am scrolling on my screen,” says Clyde Steuber, marketing manager at Independent Fashion Bloggers, who is deleting TikTok.
However, this isn’t an option for everyone. People who depend on social media for their jobs (think journalists, freelancers, marketing teams, etc.) can’t just delete these apps and call it a day. For them, taking a break or limiting the time they spend on these apps might be a better strategy.
After social media, gaming apps can be a major distractor. “I usually end up playing games even at work which sidetracked me a lot,” says Andrew Johnson, a roofing contractor and founder of Prime Seamless.
“It’s tempting to open the gaming apps as they send a lot of notifications that make you look at your phone while you’re working,” says William Cannon, CEO and founder of Uplead. It also overheats your phone and takes up important storage space, making it difficult to find the apps you actually need, he adds.
“I’m quitting all my games for a happier life without hundreds or even thousands of hours spent staring at a phone that can practically run your life for you,” says Amit Raj, founder and CEO of The Links Guy.
Again deleting all your games may not be the best option for all. Sometimes they can offer a way to destress from work concerns and have a fun evening with your friends. So use your judgment here — do you really need to quit all the games or do you just need better time management?
Dating apps: Tinder, Bumble, etc.
Dating apps have grown in popularity in recent years as finding and maintaining relationships moved online during the pandemic. But the growing dependence on these apps hasn’t been a welcome change for everyone.
“As a person who has struggled with self-esteem issues for a considerable part of my adult life, Tinder has only made it worse,” says Jonathan Tian, co-founder of Mobitrix. “At first, it felt like a great way to meet people but reaching them on Tinder means I do not have to walk up to them in person.” Along with fueling his anxiety, the app has also made it difficult for him to prioritize self-care. “I am glued to the screen for hours trying to find a match, so much so that I lose hours of sleep when I have to work the next day.”
Dating apps’ rising subscription costs, hit-and-miss matching algorithms, and security concerns are other reasons users want to prioritize IRL dating and say goodbye to these apps before 2022.
Food delivery apps: DoorDash
Food delivery apps can be a convenient option for nights when you don’t want to or don’t have the time to cook. But this can quickly grow into dependence.
“Food delivery apps make it so tempting to order a Big Mac or pizza every night,” says Glen Carroll, managing director for clicksmarketing.com.au. “These food apps are too clever, they give you an offer notification right around the time you want to cook. I understand it is a marketing tactic, but it derails the goal of healthy eating.”
“I am going to get rid of all the food delivery apps on my phone — DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub,” says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. “I spent way too much money using these services last year and definitely used them as a crutch whenever I didn’t really feel like cooking.”
Unfair practices and lack of eco-friendly packaging are also some of the concerns nudging users towards quitting these apps.
Document scanning apps: CamScanner
Scanning apps can be useful for people in a variety of industries, but with growing security concerns around how these apps collect and use personal data, users are tempted to quit them.
“As a SaaS business owner, online security is my top priority,” says CV Maker CEO Justin Berg. “I scanned confidential documents and customer data through CamScanner but I recently became aware it posed security threats to my organization.”
Beyond the privacy concerns, some users find these apps useless. Most smartphone cameras today have a built-in scanner so why download a separate app for it?
To quit or not to quit
Quitting apps is more than just a New Year’s trend. It can be a great way to change your lifestyle as long as you’re mindful about what you’re moving away from and why.
Jeannie Assimos, head of content for Way.com suggests thinking about this when you’re considering quitting an app: Is this enhancing or draining my life? If you’re unsure, consider taking a break instead of cutting the app out completely.
Bring on a more nuanced perspective and focus on how you use apps, rather than quitting or starting new apps, says Paul Sherman, chief marketing officer, Olive.
“For example, instead of saying you’ll quit Facebook, think about ways in which you can use Facebook so it’ll provide value to you rather than sucking the energy out of your day. This could mean turning off push notifications, unfollowing and unfriending people, or limiting yourself to only an hour or two of using the app per day.”
At the end of the day, find what works for you. Remember to invest your time and energy into apps in ways that nurture rather than empty you.