What the Tech? Are Unused Apps Hogging Space on Your Smartphone?

By JAMIE TUCKER Consumer Technology Reporter

Remember that smartphone app you downloaded a year ago that added a princess filter to your photos? Or maybe it was a free game, or possibly a restaurant’s app that gave you a free appetizer when you visited.

Quick question: is that app still on your phone?

How many apps do you have downloaded on your smartphone? Most people have around 50 or so but only use about 17 apps regularly. We all have apps we #1. don’t need and #2: forgot we downloaded it.

Is that a problem? It could be. Here’s why:

Any app can install adware or malware. Especially the free apps. They can also drain the battery and use data because they’re running in the background. They could send data and personal information back to the app maker.

Information such as what websites you visit, your contacts, social media accounts, what you search for, and if you make a purchase, the app can get that information.

These apps aren’t stealing the data. You agreed to let the app do all of this when you installed it.

Lots of free apps are never updated and are vulnerable to hackers. Another company may have purchased the app and now it has your username, email address, and password for that app but that is a huge issue if you use the same credentials to log into Facebook, your credit card, or your banking app.

Take inventory of your app library. On an iPhone, there are three ways to see how many apps you have downloaded. Connect the phone to iTunes on a computer and hover over the “Apps” installed to see the number.

You can also open the iOS settings, choose general, and then “About”. You’ll see the number of apps installed on the device.

To see the contents of your app library on an iPhone, swipe left until you reach the end and then tap in the search bar where it
says “App Library”. Apps will be listed in alphabetical order.

On an Android phone, open settings, then “apps” to see the number. Decide what you want to keep and delete the rest.

You should also open Facebook and look for apps you’ve signed up for using your Facebook account. These apps have access to a lot of your Facebook activity. Revoke access and delete the apps you no longer want.

It may be fun downloading an app your friends are all demonstrating on Facebook posts but once you stop using them, it’s a good idea to remove them from your phone.


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