Simplify Your iPhone

How many applications are installed on your iPhone right now? Do you have a couple of pages of the most necessary apps, or does the iPhone seem to grind to a halt when flicking through your ten pages of essential tools for the road?

I previously fell into the last category. Since purchasing my iPhone a little over a year ago, my Powerbook G4 has started to languish in its case. While it had been my daily companion for over three years, once I had the iPhone, I found that I didn’t need to boot the laptop up as much to accomplish my daily computing tasks.

Apple’s ad campaign “There’s An App For That” couldn’t be more true. For almost every task I have needed to accomplish, there has been an iPhone app available. But there was one problem — the iPhone isn’t as powerful as a full-fledged laptop.

Sure, most tasks require little computing power, and therefore, the iPhone suffices. However, the iPhone performance degrades as more and more applications are added to it. I’ve noticed that even with most applications remaining idle and closed for the majority of the time, the more applications added to the screens, the less responsive the interface becomes.

Even regular tasks such as checking mail take longer to render the screen information. Purchasing yet another application from the App Store became much slower as well.

If this sounds familiar, then perhaps it’s time you cleared away some of the cruft. The beauty of the iPhone is that most applications can be installed anywhere you have service (provided they are under 10MB in size). So I figured I would delete almost all applications that I rarely used or deemed unnecessary.

After the removal of the applications, the performance was much quicker. A subsequent reboot boosted the performance even more (of course, clearing memory will always help). Time will tell how my decision will work, but I am willing to bet that I only re-install one or two applications out of necessity within the next 6 months.

So how many applications did I remove from the iPhone? Well, I had 6 full pages of apps. I trimmed that down to 3. That means at 16 apps per page, I deleted 48 and there are 48 (including the Apple defaults) left. I originally wanted to trim it down to two pages, but was unable to manage it. Perhaps in the future as I find other applications getting used less often.

While this may seem extreme, it not only improved the iPhone performance, but increases my productivity as I have less apps to flick through to find the one I need. Also, there are many less applications just waiting for me to open them because I haven’t bothered using them in months and forgot why I had them there in the first place.

Do you think you could cut your applications down to 3 screens? How about 2?

Is it possible to have a great iPhone experience with just the Apple default applications and web apps accessed via Safari?

I think that last one may just be possible. I might give it a try in another month. Right now, I’ve got to settle in to my current minimalism.

Be well.