How many apps you have on your phone or tablet? Most likely too many. If so, then probably your current strategy of finding new apps doesn’t really work.
If your current strategy is to install an app, give it a go, and if unsuitable for your needs, switch to the next one, then sorry… it’s a waste of time. With millions of apps available on the market, it takes more than luck or a few Google searches to find the right one.
Prepare before searching
Prior to searching, determine your needs and app features you are looking for. Then, before downloading or purchasing an app, learn about it to make sure it is a good match.
One specific example. Say, you’re looking at block games and you’re perplexed by all the choices. But you know you want a fun game that doesn’t require a lot of time investment. Then simply look for a game that says in the description you can “pick it up and play right away” or that it’s easy to learn.
Apple Store, Play Store, and search engines like Google are the go-to places for finding apps.
One tip to remember: Instead of running a search like “best calendar app,” it’s important to be more specific. Adding more details like an operating system or specific feature will make things faster: “best calendar app integration with wordpress.”
Ultimately, you want to find an app that is long-lasting, functional, quality, affordable, and safe. That’s why we broke our guide into 5 parts.
- DETERMINE LONGEVITY
Investigate about the makers
Once you found a candidate, be sure to do some detective work on the makers, their previous apps, and the rapport they have in the developer community. Try to understand the company’s values and whether they match yours.
Make sure the developer has been around for some time. Bet your time and effort on apps you think will be around for years to come. Similarly, watch out for freeware that does not monetize. Free tools can be discontinued without notice, if they are draining the company’s budget.
- CHOOSE QUALITY
Review the reviews
Reviews are a good reference point. Check them whenever possible, however, note that companies can “doctor” the reviews.
Check how many times the app has been downloaded too. If at least 51% of all those that reviewed the apps gave it at least 3 stars or higher, you may consider downloading it and giving it a try.
Beware of clones
There are many copy cats on the markets – apps that are simply a copy of some other, more well-known and generally better, app. Try to determine the more reputable “source” app, as most of the clones out there really don’t cut it. Again, Google search might help here a lot.
- CHECK SAFETY
Do check the app’s permissions. Be analytical, bad apps will ask for the following permissions without a legitimate need: full network access, preventing a device from sleep, running at startup, taking pictures and videos, knowing your location, read text messages, and similar.
- DON’T OVERPAY
With a free app, check limitations and future plans
If you’re willing to pay, your best bet is to choose an app that charges a one-time upgrade fee, over those that require a minimum monthly plan.
But it’s possible to find great free alternatives to well-popular paid apps, so do not rush to buy the most popular one.
Before installing, try to see: Is free really free? Even though there are many apps that are called “free,” full functionality may be rather limited and they may ask you to upgrade or show ads. Try reading user reviews to determine if the app will show you uncomfortable amounts of ads or ask you to watch videos.
Also be aware that when their app is young and needs some traction, the devs may be offering a free plan with great or unlimited functionality. But as the app matures, they may cut that functionality forcing you to switch to a higher/paid plan…
To avoid this scenario, you may get in touch with the makes and ask directly them whether they are going to introduce some limitations on their free plan or remove some features from it that are essential for you.
- CHECK FUNCTIONALITY
You may want to find and install apps that can serve multiple purposes, rather than installing a new app for your every need. Even if it’s a free app. It may not seem like it will cost anything, but when you factor in the time spent learning the app, entering or importing your data into the app, and trying to integrate other tools with the app, the drains on your resources start to add up.
Look for tools that are actively supported. On many marketplaces you can see when the app was last updated. If it was many months or years ago, then definitely you want to look elsewhere.
Check for training materials and comments. If a company takes the time to teach you how to use their product and replies to users’ questions, you know you will be helped with any issues.
Consider tools that integrate well with other tools you use. Make sure apps fit with your work-flow and sync with your other critical apps. To be as productive as possible, you need apps that “talk” to one another.
Is the app available on both iOS and Android? How about a web app?
You might want to make sure that the app is available in both stores. This way, if you were ever to change platforms (switch from iOS to Android), you would still be able to access your data.
Also, a web app version is another important consideration. Most of the time, for my task lists, I like to type everything on the website and just let the app sync to my phone. A full web experience can be helpful should you lose your phone or change to a different platform.
One final check
Finally, ask yourself: “Do I really need this app? Will I use it?”
If you have doubts regarding that, probably you don’t really need that particular app. Keep searching.
Our suggestions should have given you a solid advice. Once again, the gist is: Do not try every single app that comes out, do take your time to see if a new app is likely to indeed make your life a little simpler.