Hoarding! Why Can I Not Clean Up My iPhone?

I spend much of my time browsing for iOS applications. Finding new apps on blogs or finding reduced price and free apps is kind of a hobby of mine. Often, I will download apps with no intent of using them, but to collect them in my iTunes just in case. A few of my friends like to make the, “there’s an app for that” joke almost anytime I talk about my phone. Some of my students were recently discussing the show about hoarders. You know the program where people stack random items in their houses until it is basically not livable and they seem to not be willing to admit the problem or change? Well, as they were talking it hit me: Am I a hoarder?!?!?! No, my house is not piled with items and I do not collect thousands of some bizarre product. My problem is with iOS applications!

Lately, when downloading apps for the return of the Blue Plate Special, I have had to delete something to make room for the additions. This can get pretty annoying when it may take several apps to finally find one worthy of including in the review. My phone has also been slow and sometimes unresponsive. Text messaging has been in and out and push notifications are not coming through. As I was thinking about how many problems have plagued me, someone looked at my phone and said, “Wow! You have all of those pages of folders full of apps. How can you keep them straight?” There really was not an answer. When I explained that my folders help keep them in order they replied, “So you have three folders full of photography applications and several scattered on their own throughout other the pages. Do you actually use all of them.” My answer was simple…. Nope!

Yes, I try every month or so to go through and delete some apps and clean everything up. There is a rather large number of apps that I scan by as they wiggle on the screen waiting to be X’d back to their iTunes resting place and I just cannot do it. Yes, in my mind I try to think about when the last time I actually used the application, but invariably it keeps the spot on my phone. Yes, I have multiples of every type of application. Games I have not played in over a year, several phone books, a folder full of astronomy guides, shopping helpers, news, weather, reference, several pages of lone apps of all types. Wow! What am I doing?!?! I have become one of those people I see on television in my digital world! It is time for a change!

Here is a bit of background on my hardware and some usage info. I carry a 16GB iPhone 4 and use AT&T as my carrier. I do not house any music on my phone and the only other media I have are pictures and videos taken with the camera. The photo album is actually cleaned out and saved on my hard drive every few months to clear room for more apps. I rarely watch videos on my phone and listen to music through various streaming services. I do download a few podcasts, but only keep the latest version that has not been listened to yet. So it seems my problem is what I feared. I am hoarding applications! As you can see, I currently have a whopping 218 MB available. No wonder apps are slow to open and many of my features sometimes seem to disappear. This phone is full of junk! I need an intervention!!!!

Our very own Dino had a great question when asking if there were applications that will give stats on how much apps are used and how often. There are these solutions on Android, but I consulted the book of knowledge without finding anything for iOS unless I jailbreak. So I will have to do this the old fashioned way….elbow grease and discipline!

I started on page 1 with my first folder and began purging apps. If I do not use it, I deleted or I picked one if they served the same purpose (except weather apps). To reassure myself all would be ok in the end, I had to keep remembering that the apps were all safe and sound in iTunes and could be added back anytime. As the shaking apps slowly left my iPhone, I became inspired and brave, even eliminating several folders and brought myself down to less than 1 1/2 pages of folders and apps. Games and photography folders are now down to one each. These were probably the two toughest kind of apps to eliminate. My phone went from 218MB of available space to 6.7GB in just a few minutes! I still plan on backing up my photos and videos and clearing the album to free up even more. My iPhone looks so clean and the apps are easy to find and navigate since there are not countless numbers of pages to search for what I want.

What about you? Do you have a tendency to hoard applications on your phone? Do you have trouble deleting apps despite rarely, if ever using them? What are some of your methods of keeping up your iPhone health? What pushes you to keep an app on your phone in the long term? PLEASE comment with any suggestions or methods to keep me from qualifying for the hoarders television show!

Categories: Editorials, Rants and Raves

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5 replies

  1. I, too, have way too many apps. I keep some for myself, some for the kids, some for my wife, and some JUST IN CASE. Just in case I want to show someone some game or app that I thought was cool but only use once or twice a year. Between, music, movies, navigation, relaxation, games, and video books, my 32gb iPhone is full.

    • I too had a bunch of apps to show cool things my phone can do. Many of them I have had for years. I purged all of them! Mostly because I think by now, most people have seen that stuff on a phone already. 

  2. Wow, I must be doing something wrong.  I only have 40 apps on my iPhone.

  3. I got the 64g model, just so I could avoid this problem for a few years.   I also have a large music library that I carry around and am allowing 32 g just for music.

  4. Very much so. At times I’ve nearly hit 300. My problem is partly that I look for better apps than the one I have, and partly I get apps just in case of things, like getting into a car accident, or if one day I want to watch videos.