You probably spend a lot of time on your smartphone. In fact, you may find yourself questioning whether you’re actually addicted to the internet or to your favorite social networks. (It turns out that maybe you are.) But for all the time that you spend on your smartphone, you probably spend less time than you think using the dozens of apps that you’ve download from the Play Store or the App Store over the years.
In fact, researchers have found over and over that smartphones users typically only use somewhere between three and five apps frequently. Depending on what data you look at, studies have indicated that American smartphone users spend about half of their app time in a single app, which, for most people, is Facebook, YouTube, or Facebook Messenger. In a month, the average smartphone owner probably uses 26 to 27 apps total — which includes the apps that you only open once or twice in a month, like the airline app you use to check into your flight or the news app you only resort to after you’ve read everything in the three other apps you check first when you’re bored.
So what happens to all of the apps that you download after reading reviews about them online or hearing about them from your friends? Chances are good that only a select few make it into the rotation of apps that you use on a monthly or weekly basis, and even fewer become so indispensable that you check them every day. In fact, it seems pretty likely that you have quite a few forgotten apps still lingering on your smartphone. Read on to check out some of the most popular apps from years past, and see if any of them are still sitting, unused, somewhere on your phone’s home screen.
1. Angry Birds
Angry Birds was one of the first high-profile mobile games, and burst onto the scene with an iOS app in 2009. Its extreme popularity has led to the development of many spinoffs, including a series of more than a dozen different games, PC and gaming console versions, a cartoon series, a feature film, and a big market for branded merchandise. But chances are good that unless you’re a particularly big Angry Birds fan, you haven’t been a regular Angry Birds player for quite a while, and may have an Angry Birds title (or two) taking up valuable storage space on your phone.
2. Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush Saga launched in 2012, and you’d have to have spent the last four years living under a rock to be oblivious to the fact that tons of people were obsessed with this game. The app is constantly updated with new levels, which appealed to devotees who never wanted the game to end. Unfortunately, the app’s (extended) moment in the spotlight has drawn to a close, and plenty of mobile gamers have moved on to newer, trendier titles.
3. Draw Something
Draw Something launched in 2012 and was downloaded millions of times. The idea was that the app enabled two players to take turns drawing a picture to depict a word that their partner would need to guess. The person doing the drawing would have three random words to choose among, and those would be ranked by difficulty. The person doing the guessing would see a replay of the drawing, plus scrambled letters including the letters that make up the word, plus some extra letters. It was an extremely popular game that’s not nearly so ubiquitous now.
Foursquare used to be an app that just about everybody had and was talking about after it was introduced in 2009. From badges to mayorships, checking in to your favorite places was fun — at least until Foursquare split its functionality between a new app, Swarm, and a redesigned Foursquare app that ditched the check-in and focused on trying to become “a true Yelp-killer in the battle to provide great local search.” As they are when any social app introduces a major change, Foursquare users were angry and abandoned ship, even though the Foursquare app is still available on Android, iOS, and even Windows.
5. Google Voice
Google Voice used to be an extremely popular app, and even made TechCrunch’s list of the best iPhone apps of 2010. The app lingered in “approval limbo,” but made a splash when it was finally approved thanks to its ability to replace regular phone calls with a unique number capable of calling, texting, voicemail, and message transcription. A lot has changed in the past six years, however, and there are now plenty of apps that enable you to call, message, and video chat with your friends without using your phone’s preinstalled apps for any of those functions — which may mean that your Google Voice app is still sitting there, collecting digital dust as you Snapchat your buddies and place calls via Facebook Messenger.
There was a time when everybody was talking about Groupon, and plenty of smartphone users were excited to download the app on their phones and browse deals from anywhere. But for most people, the excitement has worn off. There are tens of thousands of deals to be had in major cities, and scrolling through the options on the relatively small screen of your iPhone or Android smartphone is a sure way to feel overwhelmed by all of your options when it comes to great deals on salon haircuts or budget-friendly laptop accessories.
Pandora Radio was an extremely popular app for a few years, including 2013, when Business Insider reported that the streaming service was among the most popular apps for the iPhone and iPad. That was the year that Apple announced iTunes Radio, prompting critics to ring the death knell for Pandora. It turns out that iTunes Radio didn’t kill Pandora, but the advent of streaming services that let you play what you want on demand, instead of creating radio stations, has meant that Pandora plays second fiddle to services like Spotify and Apple Music.
8. Plants vs. Zombies
Another mobile game that’s seen more popular days is Plants vs. Zombies, a title that was originally developed for Windows and OS X and soon made its way to iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. The idea of this game was to use a variety of plants to prevent zombies from entering your house and eating your brain. The game won several awards and tons of fans, and while the title was extremely popular, it’s likely not a game that you still play on a daily basis.
Rhapsody gained notoriety as an “all-you-can-eat music listening service,” as noted by TechCrunch’s 2010 list of best iPhone apps. It was the first music subscription service to offer unlimited access to a large music library for a monthly subscription fee, and users liked the fact that Rhapsody would enable them to “listen to as much music from the service as you like without needing an active Internet connection,” as TechCrunch noted at the time. In the years that have elapsed since Rhapsody became a household name, plenty of other streaming services have arrived on the scene, and many users seem more apt to choose Spotify or Apple Music these days.
Vine was the hottest new social networking app — until it wasn’t. It was among the most popular apps on the iPhone in 2013. But once other social networking apps, like Instagram, made it easy to post your videos the same place you were posting your photos, too, plenty of people quit using Vine. So scrolling through the app today will just highlight how few people are still using it.