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More people than ever now own smartphones How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life Your smartphone could be ruining your life, or at least have the capacity to do so in the future. Read More , with dumb phones becoming a rare breed Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] "Do you have a smartphone yet?" It's a question my friends ask often, and it's a reasonable one to ask. I make my entire living writing about technology, explaining how to use software and interviewing... Read More . With smartphone ownership comes smartphone addiction Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? At one time, landlines and payphones were all we had--and we survived just fine, thank you very much. But now, it’s almost laughable if you don’t own an iPhone or Android, and for some of... Read More , and the overuse of mobile apps. There is, after all, an app for everything, whether or not it’s actually of any use to anyone.

Some apps will sit on your smartphone lonely and unloved, being used infrequently. Others will be running all the time, and you’ll probably waste hours every week staring at your smartphone mesmerized by whatever is staring back at you from the screen.

As you may have guessed from the headline, these are the apps we’re interested in hearing about. Welcome to this week’s We Ask You.

Mobile Time-Wasting


We want to know, What Mobile Apps Do You Waste the Most Time Using?

How you answer this question will depend on what you consider to be a waste of time. Your time. Your precious, finite time on this planet. This isn’t about what apps you use the most, but which, if you take a step back and think about objectively, are a complete and utter waste of time.

Perhaps there is a mobile app you use way more than any other, but which you consider to be anything but a waste of time. So it obviously doesn’t count. On the other hand, there may be an app you only use for a couple of hours a week, but which you know, in your heart, doesn’t represent a good use of your time. That definitely does count.

This question is, therefore, about finding apps How Do You Discover New Apps? [MakeUseOf Poll] How Do You Discover New Apps? [MakeUseOf Poll] There's an app for everything these days. This is obviously a boon for all of us who own smartphones, but it makes discovering new apps difficult. Especially new apps actually worth installing. Read More which waste yours, and possibly everyone else’s, time. However, it’s also about getting you to actually think about what apps you use, how and why you use them, and whether they’re actually bringing anything — be it productivity, fun, education, or whatever — to your life.

Our aim is to create a list of time-wasting mobile apps which you may be better off avoiding if you value every second of your life. We imagine this list will include an eclectic mix of apps, from popular choices such as Facebook How To Use Facebook On Android Without All The Invasive Permissions How To Use Facebook On Android Without All The Invasive Permissions Facebook's Android app requires a ton of permissions, and it shouldn't be trusted with them. The Tinfoil app for Facebook is the privacy-conscious solution. Read More and YouTube The YouTube Guide: From Watching to Production The YouTube Guide: From Watching to Production Want to get the most out of YouTube? This Youtube guide is for you. This guide goes over everything you need to know about YouTube, whether you're an enthusiast or a budding director. Read More , to more niche apps only you and a handful of other people use regularly. Which is absolutely fine by us.

We Need You!

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before the responses are turned into a full article. Those readers providing the best comments will thanked by name, receiving our extreme and everlasting gratitude for their efforts.

We Ask You is a column dedicated to crowdsourcing the wisdom of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credits: Microsiervos Geek Crew via Flickr

  1. cammy
    March 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I like listening to music on spotify.......................................................................................................................................

  2. Aibek
    February 25, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Instagram. Some time I spend way too much of time there. No other time wasters for me. There are quite a lot of apps that I used a lot on my phone but I wouldn't call them time wasters.

  3. Bakari Chavanu
    February 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I mainly use my phone for listening to podcasts, checking mail and IMs, etc. But I would say Twitter is probably where I hang out a little too much, as well as Zite. Though I'm not necessarily wasting my time reading content in Zite, I should limit myself to less than thirty minutes a day.

  4. Tina
    February 24, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    When I do waste any time on my mobile, it's Facebook.

    I mainly use my phone for reading when on public transport (like right now) and I do consider that productive time. The apps I spend most time in are Gmail, FeedMe (Feedly RSS reader), Javelin browser, and Hangout. I also use Bhudify and Duolingo a lot.

  5. James Bruce
    February 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

    AlienBlue, the iPad Reddit client (now official, since they bought it). I waste about an hour every night, "reading". Let's be honest, most of what you see on Reddit is pointless cat pictures and useless facts you could live without knowing. Lately I've been removing all the default subreddits and just keeping those relevant to work - home automation, Arduino, RPi, that kind of stuff. I've also started doing ACTUAL reading instead - you know, books - they're a thing, I hear.

  6. Aaron Couch
    February 24, 2015 at 1:08 am

    I've been pondering the question over for some time. I suppose I spend a lot of time on Instagram. That's probably the biggest one. But I don't see it as "wasting time" because I'm using it to make connections, network and grow my personal brand. So in that sense, I'm not.

    Do I spend more time than I should on it some days though? Absolutely.

  7. Justin Dennis
    February 23, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    tbh, I'm gonna say: none.

    it used to be 9GAG, but I quit that garbage a few months ago and haven't looked back.

    So for now, I'm free from time-wasting apps. :)

  8. Guy
    February 23, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Aldiko and Quell.

    Aldiko is an eBook library/reader app I have mostly non-fiction on, but the occasional fiction book for when I'm stuck waiting somewhere or in the Porcelain Library.

    Quell is a puzzle game of which I just really like the look and feel. Again, I tend to play it only when stuck waiting somewhere or in the Number Two Parlour.

    Estimated time per week spent on these two apps in a wasteful fashion? Hmmm, maybe an hour, hour and half?

  9. Jessica C
    February 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Facebook. So much mindless scrolling. I guess I'm hoping to see something interesting, but the best I usually get is mildly interesting, and it's just not worth it.

    Facebook itself could be one giant Skinner-Box game.

    • Guy
      February 23, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Jessica, very cool observation! It pretty much is a Skinner Box, isn't it?

      Hadn't heard that term in about 23 years, since Psych 101. :)

  10. Taylor
    February 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Oh boy. Line, talking with my friends. Words With Friends because I'm trash. Facebook, naturally, and then Plurk.

  11. Rob
    February 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Instapaper... though I guess that's not REALLY time wasted, though it accounts for a lot of my 'productive procrastination' hours...

  12. Ben S
    February 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I really don't have many apps like this. So many people have mentioned WhatsApp, but I honestly don't have a use for the messenger (if nobody you know uses it, what's the point?) so that one isn't for me.

    When at college, I guess that Yik Yak is the only app I really waste time with. It's quite interesting seeing the underground thoughts of fellow students, especially since it's all anonymous.

    As a matter of principle, I don't play crappy free-to-play games like Trivia Crack. I love video games, and I'd rather spend my time getting my work done so I can play a good game on my PS3 or PS4 at the end of the day than waste an hour throughout the day on some stupid freemium game that doesn't respect my time.

  13. Daniel Price
    February 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    StumbleUpon. The latest Android release is shockingly buggy, but I use a release that's about 1 year old and it works a treat. It's single-handedly responsible for costing me an hour or more of sleep every night.

  14. Saikat
    February 23, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I am the billionth part responsible for WhatsApp's money. Feel proud of it? Nope. By my estimate, I waste an hour of it every day. Plus the distractions it causes.

    I "waste" more on Flipboard. But the double quotes are for the double of serendipitous discoveries I make, and the little ways it helps me stay on the exercise bike and explode endomorphins.

  15. Akshata
    February 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    For me, that would be Whatsapp. On rare occasions it's convenient, but mostly it involves banal chitchat that is annoyingly addictive.

  16. Philip Bates
    February 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Typically, I don't waste time on apps... but if I do get a free ten minutes or something, I'll turn to Siege Hero. It's far superior to Angry Birds, more immersive and satisfying. FlightRadar 24 is also quite mesmerising; knowing how long passengers are gonna be stuck in a hunk of metal floating through the sky, where they came from, where they're going, and what company they're using is oddly pleasing.

  17. Joel
    February 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    None for me. I make it a rule not to install any apps that don't serve a productive function. It keeps my phone free from clutter and leaves me without any temptation to waste time.

    But if I had to pick an app, I did play Trivia Crack for about a week or two at the request of my fiancee. :P

  18. Bohed
    February 23, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I don't really waste time on mobile. I play Asphalt sometimes, but it's only when I have the will to do it and it's only when I'm totally free. Besides playing, I read news via Feedly, read books before I go to sleep and check Facebook when I'm not busy. So I don't think mobile wastes any of my time.

  19. Christian Cawley
    February 23, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Transformers Angry Birds. Without a doubt the biggest drain on time and battery on any of my Android devices. :)

  20. Gavin
    February 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

    BaconReader used to take up time, but I've curbed that time-sink. Currently playing Motorsport Manager which can steal HOURS at a time.

  21. Matthew Hughes
    February 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

    So, honestly? None. I do use apps, but I don't really waste time on them. I've got a completely different consumption pattern, when it comes to apps, and choose to use them to solve a problem. This ranges from getting from A to B (with Uber), or finding a hotel for the night (with Hotel Tonight).

    • Daniel Price
      February 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      ... just wait for the MakeUseOf app, that'll change your tune!

  22. Dann Albright
    February 23, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I've definitely spent far too many hours playing simple games like 2048, Drop 7, and Flow Free. I've been playing slightly more involved (and rewarding) games lately, but I'm put in a ton of time on those three. For some reason playing games where there's actually some progression feels more worthwhile . . . even though neither type of game helps me get anything done!

  23. Von Adam Martinez
    February 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    It would be facebook. Because of it, I tend(like I should) to care for people's problems.

  24. kwacka
    February 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Done a lot less in my life since I installed the game 2048.

  25. likefunbutnot
    February 21, 2015 at 1:39 am

    I use Open Imgur rather than the official Imgur client, which is buggy and terrible. Imgur is my go-to "I just want something to do while I wait in line at the post office" thing.

    Most of my mobile device use really isn't time wasting. My phone has one game on it (Plants vs. Zombies) and I spend a lot of time with podcasts, books and music on whatever device I happen to be using, but there's very little passive time wasting. I'd rather participate in an online conversation than play mobile games or look at cat pictures.

  26. KT
    February 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Cell phone flashlight: I don't think I've ever owned a car with working interior lights!

    February 20, 2015 at 9:15 am

    any app that lets you customize and personalize your phone or tablet.... I'll spend hourssss everyday switching up my wallpaper /lockscreen/keyboard/and icons to conform to an aesthetically pleasing theme... Only to switch it all up again, sometimes minutes not only has nobody else gotten to see and admire my creative efforts, but I, rarely let myself enjoy the fruits of my labour before I am on to the next....
    Now if THATS not a waste of time, i dont know what is lol
    but i couldnt imagine life without these options!

  28. Amir
    February 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Feed Readers

  29. Suleiman
    February 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm


    This article came just two days after I killed these beast apps. I got to say something now.

    I am a hobbyist of photography and video taking and I happened to be good at them. Therefore, I ended up becoming a reporter to my families and friends globally. Once you open my phone you will see those above mentioned apps smiling at you and want your attention. Actually they will make you aware about their existence by the so called notification sound ( whistle if you have Samsung phone)
    I used Facebook to post pictures for all to enjoy and to post links about things I read ( like good articles like this one from Makeuseof) or watched and this was on a daily bases. The funny thing was that people are so used to me for posting daily that if I failed to post something, they would msg me asking what was wrong with me, yup that is right.

    Then comes Whatsapp app where you can do anything . You can instantly interact worldwide for free. You can txt, send and receive pictures, videos, voice msg, large files and intact in a group chat. I used Whatsapp more than anything else on my phone. I would start txing with someone and immediately changed into picture and video messaging.......we are too lazy to txt nowadays. Time wasted on this app, 27 hrs / days, try to figure out where i got the extra 3 hours :)

    If you have loved ones and friends outside North America (even in North America) , you can use Viber ( with "b" ) to make free calls and txt msg and even video conferencing. Ok Viber is a mixture of Whatsapp, Skype and Magic Jack. ( i guess without knowing I am advertising about it lol )

    Now imagine moi using these apps every single day. One day should have more 24 hours. People are so used to "see" me on these apps that they stopped communication with me by phone. Now look where the problem will start. Recently we had a snow storm in my area and my home internet stopped working for three days. To make things worst , my phone data (10 GB/Month) had already maxed out for this month. My phone was working still.
    To my great surprise none of the people that I interact daily on these apps call or txt me on my regular phone number for three days. When I asked them why , their simple answers was that they did call me on Viber and msg me on Whatsapp and Facebook. Get this people, none of them ever thought to call me on my regular number or txt, for them my number is the one on Viber or Magic Jack which depend fully to internet. The crazy stuff is that most of them live in North America were calling across America is free for most people these days .This hit me hard and I decided to deactivate my Facebook, uninstall Facebook app. Whatsapp and Viber.

    I have not only wasted lots of times on these apps but also I made myself reachable only online. No net, RIP me. For these reasons and some others I have and still I am in the process of killing all apps that make me waste time and make me reachable only online.

    Thank you for reading.

  30. Ribbet
    February 19, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Reddit sync

    • m-p{3}
      February 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Stopped counting the hours. Would be too depressing.

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