iPhone and iPad

4 Big Name iOS Apps That Could Do With A Rethink

Tim Brookes 24-08-2011

When a big-name brand with a swelling bank account and past record of providing innovative products and services creates a sub-par mobile app, many of us have to resort to the mobile web 5 Mini Browsers For Mobile Phones Read More  or give up altogether. It’s a shame because software that runs natively on your device should perform faster, provide a couple of extra bells and whistles and much of the time allow some limited offline access too.

It’s true that much of the time the app and service is provided for free, but in certain instances the information you have surrendered to the company and the adverts you have stared at Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Read More for hours on end are payment enough. More importantly why would a company sit back and let the bad reviews come in, lose potential users and let the creation stagnate?

Let’s see who isn’t pulling their weight on the App Store.


From first hand experience, the Facebook app doesn’t work all too well. OK, I’ll say it – it’s terrible. Don’t just take my word for it, there are plenty of reviews on the app store saying the same thing.

ios app reviews

Many users report that the app functions perfectly well when first installed, then seemingly becomes bogged down and starts behaving erratically. The ordering of status updates seems to be a repeating problem, with updates from a few hours ago interspersed with updates dating back days.

Facebook Chat isn’t much better either (though the new Messenger app provides a workaround). The app is sluggish to load your online friends and occasionally things go very wrong with no friends listed – just a blank scrolling screen. I’ve had this issue many times, and it seems killing the app is the only way out.

A friend even managed to break his Facebook application to the point of no return. He left the app on a status update, realised he needed to change his password, returned to the app after doing so (back to the status update, he was prompted to enter his new password) and this happened:

ios reviews

See if you can work out how to get “back” from there. Thanks to @AndrewFairbairn for the image!


How do you break an app that is seemingly pretty good? According to Tumblr, removing the search facility is one way of going about such a feat. That’s right, and the app was updated this very month to include “Bug Fixes” – but complaints about the lack of search and angry comments from their legion of users went unheard.

ios reviews

Tumblr doesn’t necessarily owe us anything – we should be lucky to have a mobile app, right? Sure, but what’s the point in leaving out probably the most important feature on just about any website?

Also present on the App Store are a considerable number of reviews from users who are unable to login, despite providing the correct credentials. Bug fixes!

Google Earth

It’s not a bad app this one. At all. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. It just needs an update or two to include many of the things that the full-fat desktop version Google Earth: Cool Resources and Plugins Read More has had for a while. Implementing Google Street View 6 Websites To Do Some Virtual Globetrotting With Google Street View Google Street View is a feature both on Google Maps and Google Earth that brings you panoramic 360 degree views from many locations around the world. It started from the United States and now embraces... Read More would be a great start, but there’s more that could be done to make this awesome.

ios reviews

Both Mars and our moon have had the Google Earth treatment for quite a long time on the desktop version. Whilst this isn’t exactly a navigational aid or useful feature, it would certainly make Google Earth that little bit more varied and exciting.

Google Earth desktop has also been used to highlight seasonal events and trails – such as the Tour de France – and it would be great to have access to this sort of thing on an iPhone or iPad.


It was a combination of the tweet below and my sub-par Internet connection that spurred me to include YouTube on the list. No low-quality video streaming option means I can’t actually use it in a lot of situations, instead I have to rely on YouTube’s (thankfully excellent) mobile site.

mobile app reviews

Of course this app isn’t necessarily bad, but it could certainly use a major update. The ability to choose lower-quality video streaming options would also reduce mobile data usage, saving precious data allowance.

ios app reviews

My main annoyance is that YouTube links automatically open in the YouTube app. I then have no way of watching the video because I’m locked into a high quality iPhone optimized stream that takes forever to cache.


There are plenty more problematic apps on the App Store from companies who should know better. In some cases, Apple’s own suite of apps aren’t up to par – but with iOS5 just around the corner we won’t have to wait long to enjoy updated versions of core apps like Mail and Safari, as well as deep integration of Twitter. Let’s just hope a couple of other apps get the updates they so badly need too, eh?

Are you a disgruntled iOS user? Which app has angered you this time? Vent some steam in the comments below.

Related topics: Facebook, Google Earth, Tumblr, YouTube.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    iOS user: "how do I back out of this?"

    Android user: ::hits the back 'button'::

  2. ThatGuy
    August 25, 2011 at 2:48 am

    The iOS Youtube app is the worst thing ever. I have been hoping that it would be updated for 2 years now and something has to be done. 

  3. tas666
    August 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I'll agree with the YouTube one, and add to it that it doesn't filter out search results that cannot be displayed "on my device". Whether it's because it's geographically restricted or someone has decided they don't want it to show on a mobile, it's frustrating clicking on results that present that. The Android equivalent just hides the results from view so you don't click on them. Gah