Brits use just 1 in 5 apps on their smartphones

Brits use just a fifth of the apps on their smartphone, according to research. Despite having an average of 26 applications stored on mobile devices, adults admit to using just five of these every day.

And almost a third say they rarely delete apps from their device, with one in 10 last having a little ‘tidy up’ more than six months ago.

But it’s not just apps ‘cluttering’ up smartphones, as the average adult also confessed to having more than 550 pictures, videos or documents stored on their mobile which should be ‘binned’. As a result, one in four of the 2,000 adults polled would describe themselves as a ‘digital hoarder’.

The study was commissioned by first direct, which also revealed almost nine in 10 feel having apps on their phone has made their life easier by saving them time or because they don’t have to do as many things in person or over the phone.

But despite spending almost as much time on banking apps – making payments, transfers and checking their balance – as they do on Facebook Messenger or a search engine, nearly a quarter will ‘bury’ finance applications.

In fact, one in six will neglect their banking apps because they don’t want to acknowledge their financial situation.

Joe Gordon, head of first direct, said:

“Smartphones have completely revolutionised the way we live. We’re able to check up on friends, answer almost any question, or even send money with a touch of a button, but our research reveals sometimes being this connected can be overwhelming.”

Talking about hiding banking apps, chartered clinical psychologist Dr Siobhan McCarthy, said: “In this digital age, we want to have access to information as it gives us a sense of power and control, but this often clashes with how we view ourselves.

“For example, our banking apps might reveal the truth about our financial situation, which we may want to avoid in order to live a more ideal lifestyle.

“In those circumstances, people can find that they move quickly into ‘out of sight is out of mind’ mode and we convince ourselves we are ‘in control’.

“Avoidance is a great strategy which can allow us to continue to function and maintain good mental well-being, but this only works in the short term.

“We need to acknowledge financial reality as in the longer term, greater and more entrenched problems could arise.”

The study also found one fifth of phone users will rearrange their apps depending on usage. And the same number will attempt to organise some into groups with others scattered around their mobile home screen.

But nearly a quarter of those polled, via OnePoll, will leave apps wherever they end up once downloaded instead of sorting them, either into a folder or by how much they use them.

And two fifths are ‘hiding’ certain apps to avoid the particular functionality without deleting it entirely.

Chris Price