Updates, integration with the system and privacy as main reasons
Years ago, when applications made an appearance in our lives, my attitude towards them was very different. I remember, shortly before the arrival of my first iPad, the original iPad, wandering through the App Store, then iTunes, get me a good number of apps for that curious and new device even before having it.
Over time, however, applications began to evolve more and more and become more complex. When before we needed three apps to do something, now we could do it with a single app that offered us several functionalities. Here I started a simplification of my number of apps. A simplification that was also supported by the design. If before everything was valid as a design language, with the passage of iOS versions I valued more and more well-integrated apps that were consistent with the rest of the system.
Until now, I kept a good number of third-party apps on my devices. But then two things happened, in my opinion, important. For one thing, Apple introduced, in quick succession, several changes to the operating systems. Changes such as the possibility of using several apps at the same time on the iPad, the integration with the Share menu and several others that marked a before and after in what we could do with our apps. As a super early adopter of all the news, installing the beta versions of the operating system as soon as possible, seeing that there were applications that took months to update with the news (did someone say WhatsApp for iPad?) made me sift through the apps I used again.
Many fell by the wayside, and many more, especially the small utilities, were lost when Workflow appeared, then bought by Apple and turned into Shortcuts. What previously required dedicated apps could be replaced by a shortcut. And everything, made in Apple. I have already told you about how I use Shortcuts to follow my RSS feeds, or the time I captured a year-long Time Lap of photos and created a small video all with two shortcuts.
And so I turned to privacy
My devices were starting to have fewer apps. But they disappeared because they did not meet some requirements that I considered basic. So I started to orient myself more and more towards privacy. The iPhone and its apps ceased to be a game, we handled, as we do now, a lot of personal data on them and privacy took a leading role in my relationship with technology.
I started auditing the connections made by apps that I used long before the iOS 15 App Privacy Report existed. Discovering apps that connected to Facebook pointlessly, or made hundreds of connections to dubious servers for no clear reason, caused me to get rid of many, many apps. And the final straw was the 2018 WWDC presentation.
Before I had tired of waiting months for the dark mode to arrive in some apps or that they integrate this or that function of the system. Yes, of course many apps are excellent and we must recognize and congratulate their developers, those are still on my devices. But they pass a personal audit in many aspects before becoming part of my small collection.
I am aware that this attitude is rare, which is what made me consider writing this article, but I am really happy with my decision. I have plenty of reasons, let’s talk about iCloud Private Relay only in Safari or Privacy Protection in Mail. I have the apps I use, the ones I need, the ones that I consider the best in all aspects for how much I have to do. Stand out among them iA Writer, 1Blocker, Affinity Photo or Procreate, for example. Although I also take the license to block the connections that certain apps that I do use do without convincing me of a good reason.
In the end, I use, almost exclusively, Apple tools. They will have their shortcomings, maybe yes, but they are excellently integrated with the system, they work really well, they pick up the news from the systems from minute one, and they are getting better and better. Thus, at each WWDC, Christmas in the Apple world for many, including myself, I see news that I know I am going to use. I won’t have to wait months to be able to filter app content with the new focus modes. And the rest? I distribute the rest between shortcuts and between 11 apps that, I have to tell you, are hats off.
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