Replacing apps for websites

I woke up today, which is about ten days ish into 2024, I don’t know, time stopped for me in 2020, and decided I was going to delete all the apps off my iPhone.

Well, okay, maybe not all the apps. I mean, I’ll still keep the blindness library apps and the audio book apps, the podcast apps, and music apps and word processor apps, and blindness related apps, but all the other apps? Gone. Poof, like a wispy puff of bad smoke or something. Why? Because I was astonished at how much memory these apps were eating, and how much battery they were eating as well.

There’s a neat little trick to get your iPhone to display every single app on your iPhone. By the time this post gets popular, Apple would probably kill it because of something something innovation, but that’s not the point. The bigger point is I spent almost an hour just going through these apps and just deleting them. All of them. If I didn’t need it to do a specialized function? Gone, poof. I decided to just use websites and bookmarks instead.

Never has my phone run so fast before.

I’m slightly exaggerating, but I’m not. The websites worked just fine. I didn’t need the United Airport app because the website works fine, for the most part.

It’s quite astonishing how so many companies and corporations hate, and I mean hate, websites. YouTube, etc. I can’t even begin to name all the websites that beg me to download their app. Even Tumblr, even WordPress, which is a blog for crying out loud, their banner to downloading the app is bigger than their website content, but why all this push? Especially for a website where you primarily read stuff?

You know who gets it? Archive of Our Own, the best website on the internet. They came out and said, excuse me buddy, but you better bookmark our website because we’re not making an app, okay? I agree. My RSS app is fine. I can read your stuff without your app. You don’t need my details. You don’t need my account information. Nope, sorry, bug out corporation/company/tech bro.

I almost made the same mistake. Almost. I thought I needed an app of my own stuff. A one stop place to find all my stuff and then, well, I realized, nope, people can follow this website via email or RSS or make this website into a thing on your home screen. There’s your app. There’s your application. You actually have to use a web browser. Wait, what is this? 1995? Who uses web browsers anymore, old man!

Is it perfect? No. It’s not perfect. For one thing, websites are still badly designed today, especially for mobile web browsers. The truly astonishing thing is just how so badly websites are designed from the mobile experience. At least, with using a mobile screen reader anyway.

Despite the bad design, I still prefer websites over apps but I’m continuously amazed how the mobile website is much more uncouth than a mobile app. Everyone wants you to use their app, and not their website. Why?

Funny enough, the very same people that force you to use their apps instead of their websites are the same people that are absolutely astonished that Apple keeps playing them like a fiddle. Hey, if you don’t want Apple to take it’s extraordinary cut, here’s what you can do. Make a website. Pull your app from the app store. Tell people how to visit you in their web browsers.

I’m serious when I say websites are just badly designed these days, especially with using a screen reader on a mobile device. I can’t quite describe it, because mobile web browsers aren’t really well designed either, so it makes the website worse because it doesn’t even render all elements as smoothly as on desktop. Even radio buttons sometimes glitch out on mobile web browsers, sometimes.

Even though there are problems, I’m honestly glad I deleted almost all my apps off my phone and started to pin websites to my home screen more. For one thing, it cuts down on notifications. it’s super freeing to not get a random notification because you didn’t open the app in a day, so the app pings you to say hey I’m still here please pay attention to me, I feel lonely, and nobody will give me animals to snuggle with.

With pinned websites, my phone is faster and my home screen is much more organized as well. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. Certainly, for my next phone, I will certainly do the same thing. Install only the specialized apps and just leave the web browser to be the ultimate app on my phone. This, of course, won’t stop websites from tracking you, but it sure does free up my phone for other, better, things like books and TV shows with audio description.

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