As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Apple and iOS. However, there are many things about iOS that absolutely drive me insane. The biggest problem I have is the fact that Apple won’t let me delete their default apps from my devices. Granted, some of the built-in iOS apps are great (App Store, Music, Videos, etc.) but there are some that I just don’t need or like and they’re taking up valuable real estate and storage space on my devices. Yeah, I get it, Apple wants to control the experience as much as possible within their walled garden… Give me a break!
There are eight applications that bother me and that I’d love to be rid of forever. Those apps are Stocks, Game Center, Compass, Weather, Reminders, Newsstand, Mail and Safari. It’s not that I don’t use my phone for the purposes in which these apps were intended. As a matter of fact, I use my phone for many of the tasks that these apps perform. The problem is that these apps perform these tasks in a subpar manner and I simply use other means to accomplish these tasks on my phone. Here are a few examples:
I Use Gmail Instead of Mail
With the release of Gmail 2.0 I have officially replaced the default mail application on my iPhone. All of my email addresses are either Gmail addresses or use Google Apps, so this is a natural fit. Accompany that with the fact the the new UI of Gmail is awesome and it seems to push email messages even faster than the default mail client, and I see no reason not to permanently switch. The only drawback to using Gmail is that there is (currently) no unified inbox. This means that in order to access mail from multiple accounts, you have to manually switch over to each account one at a time. Not a huge tradeoff, but many will find this a bit cumbersome, I think.
I Use Chrome Instead of Safari
Let’s stick with this Google app theme and talk about Chrome for iOS. Again, this is an issue of Google getting the UI correct and Apple simply falling short. Chrome does tabbed browsing much better than Safari (a killer feature for me) and it also seems to be a bit faster as well. I also like the fact the the keyboard, when typing out a URL, offers a nice top row with common URL items like “.com” making it easier for me to fill out web forms and access websites. You can also sign in to your Google account and sync your bookmarks and tabs across all devices with Chrome as well… Nice!
I Use Things Instead of Reminders
I’ve always struggled with task management apps. I just never understood the need for them until I took on a job where I had to juggle a ton of projects, meetings, and tasks. Nowadays I have to use something to manage my day and the Reminders app just doesn’t cut it. Things provides me with a robust system that allows me to break down my projects and tasks into areas of my life (home, work, etc.) and also tag and sort tasks into projects and areas as well. The inbox feature is great for keeping up with new tasks I encounter throughout the day and I can then organize those tasks into their proper place later by using tags, projects, and areas. Things also integrates with Siri and Reminders, making it easy for you to use dictation for adding new to-dos and also importing existing reminders into the Things ecosystem.
I Use TWC Instead of Weather
As someone who does their fair share of traveling, I always like to know what the weather is going to be like where I’m going. The problem with the default weather app in iOS is that oftentimes it’s wrong! I’ve had the app tell me it’s going to be 60 degrees outside and it winds up being 80. I’ve had it tell me it would be sunny with zero chance of rain and I get caught in a downpour! This is simply unacceptable. The TWC (The Weather Channel) app offers a much better weather experience and can even give you 36 hour, 5 and 1o day forecasts as well. Not to mention that the data is actually accurate to the location you’re trying to get information about. That’s always a plus!
One last point as I wrap this thing up. When Apple introduced Newsstand a while back, I was actually excited about it. I thought it was a great idea to push folks into the world of digital publications. However, as we’ve seen so far, Apple has fallen way short on their promise to deliver compelling content to this area of the iOS ecosystem. Newsstand is, for all intents and purposes, a novelty in which few “real publications” actually participate in. I find no use for this app or the content in which it contains. Therefore I beg you Apple, please, let me remove this thing from my device(s), or at the very least, allow me to put it into a folder instead of forcing me to stare at this sad empty little bookshelf every time I scroll past it to launch my favorite RSS reader or the Kindle app (where I do most of my reading).
I understand Apple’s need to control the user experience on the iPhone. In actuality, Google’s lack of control is arguably what makes Android such a fragmented experience for many users, but this is ridiculous. You can still control the experience of the OS without handcuffing us to apps with limited functionality and poor implementation. The Apple of yesteryear would understand that. You know, the ones who actually cared about how much people enjoyed using their products and took pride in the fact that their devices helped change and shape the way people live their daily lives? Yeah, that Apple is the one I’d like to see return back to form.