With over half of the population owning mobile phones, a large majority of us would probably admit to being unable to live without them. The primary pull of a smartphone has got to be apps, programmes downloadable to your phone which allow you to email, edit photos, read the news and play games. Whatever mundane or obscure thing you want to see, find or do, there’s an app for it.
So what is it about apps that are so addictive? And which apps could we simply not live without? I undertook a quick office poll to find out…
In at first place as the most used app is WhatsApp- the messaging service which allows you to send messages and photos for free using the internet.
Compared to traditional text messaging, WhatsApp messages don’t use up your contract’s messaging allowance, meaning you can type away to your heart’s content! It also differs from text messaging in that messages sent and received make up a seamless feed of conversation, as opposed to individual standalone messages. The fact that you can see when the recipient has read your message contributes to making the app more of an instant messenger service, which we apparently can't live without!
You can’t move these days without someone referencing something that they have seen on Facebook, Twitter or perhaps Instagram and Tumblr, which is why social media apps are the second most used apps on smartphones.
Facebook is the most popular, with most people I spoke to admitting that they refresh their page at least three times an hour. With the Facebook Messenger app, many users said that they can go through a day without even sending a text message, instead opting for Facebook messaging because of its ease of use.
“I like the fact that I can reply to a Facebook message whenever I have time to,” said one girl I asked, “you don’t have to scroll back through pages of messages to find it, like you do with texts.”
Twitter came in close behind the Facebook app, with a large majority of users admitting to use it to follow celebrities and sports teams rather than to communicate with friends.
Another app which was mentioned countless times is Instagram, the photo editing programme which lets you jazz up and vintage-ise your photos. What’s great about this app in particular is that it makes the most of what your smartphone- as opposed to your laptop- has to offer: its camera.
All smartphones have fairly decent cameras, and phone manufacturers have noted the popularity of social media apps by making it easier than ever to share photographs taken via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Google+,to name just a few.
As you would most likely imagine, games come in as the third most used apps. Amongst the many gamesthat came up, Angry Birds emerged as the most popular, with the majority of users I asked admitting that they played on the app regularly when travelling, between TV programs and before bed in the evenings.
Other popular games mentioned include Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope and Candy Crush Saga.
It would seem that as much as we’re addicted to playing on games, updating our social media statuses and messaging friends, a high proportion of smartphone users like to use their phones to keep in touch with the goings-on in the world, namely using news, weather and sports apps.
Most mobile phones come with some form of news and weather app pre-installed on their device, whether it’s Google’s News and Weather app or Apple’s News Stand. However, reading the latest headlines, or catching the most up-to-date football scores has urged people to download news, sports and weather-specific apps.
The BBC News app has 5 million downloads on Android alone, with the ITN News app trailing behind with 100,000, suggesting that having we just can’t go a day without checking on our local, national or international occurences.
Other popular apps of this sort include Sky Sports, the Met Office weather app and Yahoo news, which all allow you to stay at the forefront of what’s going on in the world at the touch of a button.
Last but not least in the top 5 most used smartphone apps comes music and television-related applications. Rather than using my iPod speakers or radio, I personally rely on TuneIn radio app, which lets you choose your favourite radio stations to listen to live via the internet.
Whilst most smartphones come with an in-built radio, these apps require you to listen with headphones, so it is sometimes necessary to download additional music and radio apps.
Spotify came high in the ratings amongst the people I quizzed, with it being considered the best way to access the tunes you’ve already stored at home or on the go, without having to carry around another device.
It seems that TV catch-up apps are also incredibly popular among UK smartphone users, with BBC iPlayer, 4 On Demand and ITV Player apps appearing high on people’s list of favourite progammes.
TV guide apps like TVguide.co.uk and the Sky Plus app also experience a high volume of downloads, with the latter allowing you to control your Sky digi-box remotely from wherever you are in the world!
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel