5 Apps That Just Keep Getting Worse

smartphone app

Source: iStock

Normally developers try to improve their apps with each new release, making the experience better or releasing new and useful features. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

For whatever reason however, some developers miss the mark. Whether it’s making the interface harder to use or adding features that don’t make sense. Some problems you can’t even see: like using tons of your data, draining your battery life, or even loading malware onto your phone.

So what are the five apps that we all use that just don’t seem to get better with time? Let’s take a look.

5. Facebook

No list of apps that stink would be complete without Facebook. Yes it is one of the most popular apps on either device, however it seems like the app just gets worse and worse. Take for example its most recent redesign. On my iPhone, the new comment screen either pops up the old interface when visiting a post via a notification, or this new blocky design when accessing the comments from your feed.

It looks like a bad cross between iOS and Windows 10. And this doesn’t even say anything about the battery usage.

One thing I like (or dislike depending on how you see it) is now in iOS 9 Beta, Facebook’s high battery usage is laid bare for all to see. The app consistently is the biggest drain on my battery, making up anywhere from 35-50% of my battery drain on a daily basis!

The chief offender? A lot of background activity. According to iOS 9 Battery stats, each day up to 2-3 hours a day the app is active in the background on my phone, more than any other app by about ten times. What is Facebook doing that it’s active in the background that much?

4. Facebook Messenger

facebook messenger

Source: Thinkstock

I hate to harp on Facebook more, but Facebook Messenger app is just as bad. The app took a good deal of criticism for being split out of the main Facebook app in the first place, although Facebook claims it is to be able to add features faster than it could if Facebook Messenger remained part of the original app itself.

I can accept that, but it still annoying to switch back and forth from app to app regardless. Add to this the fact there are annoying interface issues that sometimes make the app harder to use. For example, sending photos. Clicking on the tab to send photos shows your most recent photos, and up until recently there was no way to get to your full photo album.

There’s also that little problem with how Messenger tracks your location at all times, and is apparently easy to hack in to as well. A Facebook intern actually lost his internship over publicly disclosing the flaw. Other past issues regarding privacy have kept users away over suspicions their data isn’t protected.

3. Apple Music

Apple Music app on iPhone 6

Source: Apple.com

Apple doesn’t get a pass either in the bad apps category. The original iTunes app was decent, although sometimes clunky. With the acquisition of Beats, its switch to Apple Music has been less than stellar. The user interface needs some work, and there seems to be way too many menus to get through in order to get to commonly used options.

I found myself frustrated when trying to figure out how to download tracks from Apple’s preprogrammed radio stations or Apple Music itself. The option to “Make Available Offline” (which is how you download it as part of the subscription, and not to own) is shown in some menus but not in others. On the Apple Music pages, only the option to purchase the track is shown clearly.

This doesn’t even mention what the switch to Apple Music might do to your iTunes library. Users have reported that their collections have become jumbled, and in some cases replaced by inaccurate (and copy-protected) tracks even if they owned or ripped them legally.

2. Fitbit

Fitbit product lineup

Source: Fitbit.com

While the company makes the top selling fitness tracker, its own app leaves a whole lot to be desired. On iOS there is still no support for Apple’s Healthkit nearly a year after that feature first debuted with iOS 8. Fitbit’s stubbornness was even enough for Apple to remove the company’s fitness trackers from its retail stores.

Fitbit’s reasoning is even more hollow: Apple’s lack of compatibility with Android. That makes no sense because Healthkit is an iOS app, part of the operating system itself.  Besides the strange reasoning for not supporting iOS Healthkit, the app is still way too basic, and there still isn’t enough control to limit erroneous steps without jumping through hoops.

1. Any flashlight app

flashlight

Source: Thinkstock

All three major mobile operating systems have methods that you can turn the flash on to use as a flashlight without the need for any third-party app. As time has shown, many of these apps do a bit more than just turn on your flash to light the way.

In fact, security experts recommend — especially on Android — that you no longer install these apps. Some are asking permissions for content that it shouldn’t need. In some cases, these apps have shown malware-like characteristics. Just use the built in feature of your device, there’s no need for an app here.

Follow Ed on Twitter @edoswald

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