Not every iOS app plays by the rules, and some don’t have your best interests in mind. There are a lot of great apps for your devices, but we are looking at those you should avoid altogether.
These are not fly-by-night privacy nightmares, you still want to keep an eye out for those. These are popular apps missing key features, from developers who really should know better.
Let’s take a look at five of the worst sinners, don’t forget to add your own in the comments at the end of the post.
1–2. Gmail and Google Hangouts
The Google suite of apps is powerful enough to make your iPad a cloud-friendly productivity workhorse. If your office uses Google for productivity, you can do much of your work right from your iPad. The Google App suite has support for iPad multitasking. Well, the entire suite with two annoying exceptions: Gmail and Hangouts.
You can work with your email and chats via Notification Center and at least fire off quick responses. It would be nice to be able to split pane between your email and chat while in a meeting. Alternatively, when going through a presentation, keep your chat open in another Window for questions.
You can at least multitask with Gmail in Safari while working with another app in the split pane. There is no mobile browser support for Hangouts, so you are stuck using the app.
At this point, iPad multitasking should not be an issue for any serious app. It is not clear why only some Google apps have these features. However, it is certain Gmail and Hangouts should be more useful for iPad power users.
Like Google, Facebook does not have much of an excuse for negligence. Their Messenger app supports multitasking, so the main app should have feature parity. The only rationalization is that Facebook does not want less than your full attention.
It would be good if this were the only real issue with Facebook on iOS, but the app a battery killer and as you can see it sits behind my podcasting app in battery usage. That stat is pretty crazy since I usually listen to around eight to twelve hours of podcasts a day.
You could take the extreme remedy of uninstalling the app and using the website via Safari, a workaround that solves both problems. Although it is not as optimized for iPad screen, the mobile version on the iPhone looks decent. You lose notifications and background updates, but that is how you get the improved battery usage.
During the halcyon days of the partnership between Google and Apple, YouTube was an Apple-developed app that updated alongside the operating system. In those days, there weren’t many features in-demand from YouTube.
After the schism, the App added support for the more modern Youtube features. Alongside subscriptions and channels, it has gotten Airplay support. More recently, the app an update included support for iPad split screen multitasking.
This feature allows you to shrink the document you are working on so you can watch the many fine tutorials and reviews on the Make Use Of YouTube channel. But do you know what would make it much easier to work and watch videos at the same time? Picture in Picture video. Introduced in iOS 9, picture-in-picture put your video in a floating window you could move around the screen.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon all support this feature. YouTube is not the only video app that doesn’t support the feature, but it is the most high profile. And it has nothing to do with adverts because Hulu has ads and supports this feature.
There isn’t a workaround, even in Safari. On the web page, there is still a custom player that doesn’t allow you to use Picture in Picture. For some reason, YouTube opposes using this feature in any form.
5. Apple News
News was going to be RSS for the masses when it was introduced alongside iOS 9. Apple made an app that allowed you to follow specific outlets and topics that was closer to Flipboard than Feedly. When you first use news you’ll be presented with an endless grid of news services and topics, tap one to use it to populate your news feed.
While the complicated setup is a bit long-winded, it is not a deal breaker. It asks you to set up notifications, but the default setting grabs any sites you selected along with News Editor’s Picks and News Top Stories. This will lead to a Notification Center filled with alerts throughout the day.
The default of the app should not be to buzz with every bit of breaking gossip disguised as news. Instead, alerts should be limited to breaking stories that network news used to break programming to report. You can search YouTube for Walter Cronkite to understand this reference.
A few notifications here and there wouldn’t be bad, but there are days where it is over a dozen. Of course, this is the default behavior, but this is the way most users end up experiencing News. Making this too chatty can end up making actual breaking news feel less important.
Luckily it’s an easy fix. After you open the app, click on Favorites in the bottom toolbar. Then, tap the bell in the top left corner, and you get a list of the sites you subscribed along with the list More Channels.
Scroll down and flip all the sliders to gray to turn notifications off. If you are looking for something to give you headline updates without the Spam, try the Associated Press or BBC News apps. Both are free and seem to have a good idea of what is breaking news.
Not Mad, Just Disappointed
Though there are probably more than a few apps in the App Store that aren’t worth your time, we tried to highlight apps from developers that should know better. That said, everyone has an app that is annoying now and then. Please share an app that has a glaring drawback in the comment.
What’s your biggest iOS app complaint? Let us know in the comments below.
Image Credit: Komkrit Noenpoempisut via Shutterstock.com, Phantom Open Emoji via Wikimedia Commons