Why Apple should allow us to delete default apps and what I use instead [Editorial]

When the iPhone launched in 2007, there was no such thing as an official third party  App Store. All you could do was use the apps available on the phone out-of-box. That wasn’t a bad thing at the time. Its apps and user interface were miles better than anything else on the market. 5 and a half years later, and that’s about as far from the truth as you can get. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and the more I delve in to the App Store, the more I realize that there’s a better alternative to almost every app Apple gives us. Here are the most used ones on my iPhone/iPad.

1. Fantastical – $1.99/£1.49 (Instead of Calendar)

Fantastical is a relatively new app to the App Store for iPhone. It’s been around on Mac for a while, but it’s simple, intuitive and attractive UI make it irresistible. No going through menus to change view, and adding events could not be simpler.

2. Gmail 2.0 – FREE or Sparrow $2.99/£1.99 (Instead of Mail)

Gmail 2.0

Gmail 2.0 is another new app, being little more than 24 hours old, I’ve only had a day to use it, but, it’s taken the place of Sparrow on my Home Screen dock. It’s ridiculously fast, very attractive and modern and allows multiple accounts. My work email is all Gmail, and although it falls short in a few areas (no unified inbox), I’d still rather use this than Mail. It one-ups Sparrow for me thanks to having push notifications.

3. Spotify (Instead of iTunes/Music)

iTunes – to me – is no longer relevant. I see no point in paying to not even own an album, or song. I won’t get any more or less pleasure from my music by listening to a non-owned tunes. I used to spend between £15-£30 per month on music downloads from iTunes and end up with only 2-3 albums. With Spotify I can pay a penny shy of £10 per month and listen to virtually anything I want to. The only time I’ve used the Music app in the past 6 months is to check that Home Sharing is working. I could easily delete the Music and iTunes apps without missing them for a minute. Also, using offline mode is almost as good as owning the music.

4. LOVEFiLM Player – FREE – UK ONLY (Instead of iTunes/Movies)

Really, for the same reasons as above. My £8 per month package allows me to stream any of the movies or TV shows available, and I get DVDs included too. Why would I pay iTunes to download a movie? Or even worse, pay an extortionate fee to rent a new title? I can wait until it’s available on LoveFilm. I’m not a person that really cares about watching films when they’re new out. Even when they landed on DVD, I’d wait 6 months until the price dropped.

5. WeatherNeue – FREE (Instead of Weather)

Weather is one of the dullest and most useless apps in my mind. It’s hideous and still uses the same design scheme as the original. Thankfully, the App Store is full of much better alternatives, probably why Apple’s never bothered to update it. I use WeatherNeue because it’s as minimalist as you can get, and gives me the information I need.

6. Clear – $1.99/£1.49 or Wunderlist (Instead of Reminders)

Clear for iPhone

I really dislike Reminders. Its skeuomorphic and patronizing notepad design is hideous. Clear is my recent favorite. Although the colors are a bit brash and in-your-face, it’s clean and simple and controlled using some simple gestures. It’s available for Mac too, and syncs over iCloud. Wunderlist is one I’ve used in the past when I’ve had more than one platform (and before I discovered Clear). Wunderlist is free and can be used on Android, iPhone, Mac and PC, as well as having a Google Chrome plugin.

Those are my replacements, but that doesn’t mean I use all the other Apple-made apps. I never use Stocks, Compass, Voice Memos or Passbook. So, all-in-all, that’s 10 default apps that could be deleted from my Home Screen if Apple would give me the option to.  I only found a use for NewsStand when I got the iPad mini, and I still have no idea why it’s on my iPhone.

What about you? Which of Apple’s default apps are pointless to you? Comment below or tweet me: @TiP_Cam.

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  • The articles you have on your website are always so enjoyable to read. Good work and I will be returning often.

  • The more I realize that there’s a better alternative to almost every app Apple gives us.

  • healeydave

    I’m probably going to be in the minority here, but I prefer to stick with the stock apps.
    Our household is completely invested in Apple hardware, so I have taken the time to get everything including media etc compatible with OSX & iOS. That means I don’t really have an issue with having everything on tap and on hand through all our iDevices and Macs.
    I tried Sparrow before google bought it and whilst I was impressed with a few UI features, I found after a while, it was short lived love just because it was new nd different. Same with the Clear app. In the end, I found the crosslinking of functionality in IOS to the stock apps far more valuable than a few nice UI features that iOS divorced 3rd party apps provide.
    What I mean is I’d rater stick with mail because it does pretty much what I want and everything else in iOS links to it. Same with reminders, I’m not interested in a few fancy UI animations that clear offers when I can use Siri to create a reminder in a second.

  • iamspencer

    Unless apple allows 3rd party apps to be integrated with the OS, using them to replace important functions such as email or calendar is difficult.

  • Orchrist

    I have seen lots of claims that one programme or another is better than iOS-Mail, but no one seems to be able to say what is wrong with the native app. I have 6 IMAP accounts running on Mail and have everything I need, perhaps except marking as spam, which I don’t see as the big disaster. It all sounds like bloggers looking for something to say to me.

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