Any Other App Addicts (AA) Out There?

My name is Simon and I am an app addict. I can’t stop trying (and buying) new applications for my iPhone, iPad and Mac. I don’t know when this addiction started, but it’s been a thing, for many, many years.

I’m always seeking the ultimate app; something new in productivity, some new utility, some new game, indeed any new app! For example I own just about every task management (to do) app ever released; Tick Tick, 2Do, OmniFocus. Things 3, GoodTask, Sorted 3, Microsoft Tasks, and many others. The same with note taking applications; Evernote, Bear, Notes, OneNote, Google Keep, Drafts, Dynalist, Workflowy (okay last two are outliners, but I use them for notes), Agenda, NotePlan, and (again) many others.

As you can see, I have a problem! I rationalise it by telling myself that this is the one, the app that will be the perfect combination of features, with the perfect user interface, that will let me work the way I want to work, finally!

While I may think that my new app is indeed the one, at least for a while, truth be told it never is. That is not the fault of the software or the developer, it is my fault. Because, if I really was going to write the ultimate novel, or put together the best and most comprehensive set of notes, or plan my day with incredible efficiency, I could probably do that just as well using a pen and paper notebook. But, where would be the fun in that?

It’s probably cost me thousands over the years, but I get a real pleasure from seeing some new take on a genre, a fresh approach, that will revolutionise my use of my iPhone, iPad or Mac. I am writing this in Typora (which is new to me, and very good), even though I already own Bear, Ulysses, iA Writer and others.

Are there any other app addicts out there? Should we form a support group? First we will need to research and find the best apps for managing support groups, of course!

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My name is Graeme and I am an app addict.

I found this topic on a resolution not to change apps helpful last year in keeping my problem in check to some extent, but my purchase of Studio One and Notion in a sale shows it is still here (see also the follow-up). There was no need for these, but I do love having them…

I make no attempt to rationalise it, but do try to remind myself that I share my money with my wife, so I really should not spend excessively. I do find that occasional talks like this help me.

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Thanks for sharing. I always felt somewhat guilty about my app purchases, but now I feel a lightweight in comparison :joy:

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Collector’s Fallacy

I think app collecting falls under the Collector’s Fallacy umbrella. I do the same with books. I see a book that sounds interesting, order it, and put it on the shelf. Sometimes I read part of it. Rarely, I read the whole book. I do this to an extent with journal articles, and of course web links to Pocket.
As far as apps, many of the ones mentioned by OP, plus DEVONthink, The Brain, Tinderbox, etc. Although I’m putting Tinderbox to good use thanks to @beck’s excellent videos, as well as the new edition of The Tinderbox Way (which I’m actually reading).

Good discussions:

by Christian Tietze at his zettelkasten site.

by Charles Chu over at Medium

Both of which draw from Umberto Eco’s How to write a thesis

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I got into these little fits as well. I’d see a feature on some app that looks neat, but then not really learn the rest of the application, and eventually acquire a pile of apps that all do the same sort of thing, but not really knowing any of them well enough to have mastered them. A big waste of space and lost time.

I made a rule for myself: once I’ve downloaded an app, I take every pains to really dig deep into mastering functionality for 14 to 30 days before trying out anything with similar capability. Once I started doing that, the need for multiple apps started gradually to subside, and I was more satisfied (and focused!) on doing the things I wanted to get done.

Because deep-diving into an app in a focused manner like this can be time consuming, it makes me VERY selective about what I allow on my devices.

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It’s fine to try lots of apps so long as we think of it as a hobby. As @bowline said, when we’re done playing put the toys back in the toy box and get back to work.

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I think I have become better at not collecting apps because of hardware. The macs I am running can not support the latest and greatest. As a result, I am finding myself digging a bit deeper into the apps that I have.

I must adimt, I love playing with apps, espically CRIMPing. But, the question is do I want to play with new apps or do I want to get some work done ? Do new apps get me better functionality at a cost of time and brain power ? Taking it further, what do I really want the software to do ? Can I accomplish it better with the tools that I have, with paper or simple lists (Bullet Journal). Am I using the potential power of new apps to procrastinate and not “feel guilty” ?

The Collector’s fallacy that JohnAlt mentioned is a deliciously deadly trap. Just because you own it or even read it does not mean you understand it until it is processed adequately. Unforutately, I still collect books, articles, writing projects, just not apps (as much).

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I’m definitely guilty of book collecting - so many books that I’ve yet to read, and even now I want to order more books that I “plan” to read in the future.

I’ll definitely take a look at these articles you’ve mentioned - thank you!

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There are three reasons to play with new apps:

  1. Because your existing apps are unsuitable in some specific way and you have good reason to believe the new app will be better. Like, maybe you do video processing and the new app is 50% faster. Or maybe the old app is broken and the developer isn’t responding to support requests. Or maybe the new app isn’t supported on your new device.

  2. Because the new app looks like it’ll be fun to play around with and/or potentially useful .

  3. Because you’re feeling disorganized and out of control and you think the new app will solve our problems.

Of the three I think everyone would agree that reason 1 is perfectly legitimate and even necessary.

There’s really nothing wrong with reason 2, so long as you can afford the time. Usually there’s no financial cost either, as just about all apps have freemium or try-before-you-buy plans. Like I said earlier: When playtime is over, put the toys away in the box. Or, if the application is great, you might even move to reason 1, and start evaluating the new app as an everyday driver.

Number 3 is where we get into trouble. In that case, you have a problem managing your life and you’re procrastinating by evaluating apps, pretending to yourself that the app will fix the problem when the problem is actually in your brain. For me, this situation manifests by switching task managers — most frequently, switching between Things and OmniFocus. I almost did that switch again in December, for the millionth time, but instead I did a review and got myself under control.

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I’m a recovering app addict. Used to buy/try a bunch of apps but have reduced that greatly. On the Mac I rarely add new apps as everything I have does the job for me and I don’t want to spend the time learning a new system/workflow. More of an issue on the iPhone and iPad since there are numerous apps that are handy when mobile.

I think a lot of times people don’t fully utilize the tools they have. I have seen questions from people for apps that built-in macOS tools could handle.

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Look for the fear beneath the addiction.

Addiction here defined as “continued use despite adverse consequences”.

Try the ‘5 Whys’ problem solving technique. Write down the problem on the first line and then keep asking why in each subsequent line to answer the preceding line until it feels appropriate to stop.

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Because I am data driven as well as obsessive :rofl: I have tracked all the apps I have ever downloaded in a Filemaker DB, There are 943 entries, There were probably a few others that I deleted as soon as I opened them and knew after a cursery look that they were not well made or just not for me. :upside_down_face:. I currently have 151 on my iPad, including the ten or so that Apple provides (Music, App Store, etc.) In my defense, they were mostly free or cheap. They range from children’s books and learning games to travel, gardening and “productivity”. Some of the deleted ones I have marked to download again if the occasion arises. And to think that my app glut doesn’t even begin to tap the array that is available in the App Store, those that I might be interested in as well as categories that don’t interest me. Amazing.

The one thing I wish they would change in the store is labeling apps as “free” when they are so limited as to be really unusable if you don’t buy the in-app purchses. They should be labeled “trial version” or something like that. Happy downloading in 2020. :tada: :tada:

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You’re not alone, Simon! I, for one, delight in buying all the apps. I don’t, however, agree with the subscription rip-offs on principle as you never own anything, for starters, and it has gotten ridiculous. The greedy have come out of the woodwork. I do like the Agenda price model. The subscriptions keep me in line. Plus I don’t own a Mac. But we certainly could start up a support group. I’d like to know the best apps out there!

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I definitely have that book collecting bug … with more purchased than read.

As for apps, I have the opposite problem. I hold on to long-depreciated apps much longer than I should … I used Autocad release 14 (1997) via bad PC emulation, probably to 2010; I used Quark 3.2.x until the cows came home, I used whichever Microsoft Office version I could get away with until it wouldn’t launch anymore, and I set YESTERDAY as my deadline to finally abandon Aperture, some 3 years 5 1/2 years after Apple officially deprecated it, and 7 years after its last real update.

Long ago I decided that security updates were too important to “freeze” a machine at an older OS; so the temptation to just keep tools well past their sell date has to be balanced against keeping the whole system secure. And, of course, lots of software is much better now than in the past … but OTOH I’m not sure you can say that about Microsoft Word, or, frankly, any of the Aperture replacements I keep lukewarmly auditioning.

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I’m 100% with you on subscriptions, unless they are good value like Bear which doesn’t try to gouge you with an outrageous amount every year, otherwise when I see on an app (especially a game) the phrase In App Purchase makes my teeth itch!

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I was like that for 4 -5 years after I got my first iPhone. There are apps where there are so many too choose from it’s hard to know which is the “best” if there even is a “best”.

Some tips:

  1. Figure out what you want the app to do.
  2. Read a lot of app “shootouts” in the category you are looking for.
  3. Search and post on forums to get feedback on what apps others are using.
  4. Compare features , price, longevity ( has the app stood the test of time )
  5. Ask yourself if you really need app. Or if you can use apps that you already own ( this usually stops me from making a purchase ).
  6. Ok, if the app made it past all of those hoops, you might actually need it.
  7. Wait a day.
  8. Still want it? open the app store and get it. :slight_smile:
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I grind my teeth, Simon!
I head straight for “in app purchases” when app shopping and essentially eliminate any app included there. I do like Agenda’s price model though. I may have mentioned that.
I only have three subscriptions 1. Apple Music 2. Slumber Sleep App (Insomnia) 3. Apple Arcade.
I love Apple :green_apple: Music! I can’t imagine ever giving it up!
The Slumber App does help my insomnia. It’s also the best sleep app out there.
Apple :apple: Arcade is a mere 17 cents a day. Also, I don’t use it. LOL! It does have the most innovative games out there (mostly), especially for graphics. I’ve never been into games that much aside from the older Plants v Zombies, finally a nice new Monopoly and an awesome game for kids of all ages the Zoombinis! I’ve downloaded some new Arcade apps. I just need to start playing or get a cheat sheet. But for $5!
I do love seeking out the most perfect apps or set of apps! Avoiding subscriptions is keeping the money from getting ridiculous, I surmise!

I’m Mark and I’m an app addict. Same as you. I love apps, even just for the power of them (look what you can do on your phone! Never mind that I’ll never need to that…you can). I’m enough of an addict that I was spending too much money on apps and so started looking for a way to save money. I did–and started a blog around it if any of you are interested.

Well Simon … I have a feeling we all are to some degree or another, but now I know who to go to when I have a app need as I just posted 2 minutes ago … maybe you can help me!

If you have a moment read my post and let me know if there is such a thing!

Hi Charlene,

Sorry, not aware of, but along with a couple of the suggestions on your post, Ghostnote does look interesting. Will have to take a look (ie buy) that app. :grinning: