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It can be tempting to let apps accumulate on your phone until you start to run out of space, but apps you don’t use still have whatever data you put into them. They’ll still eat up your bandwidth to update themselves. And they will continue to distract you when you’re swiping through the grids of app icons in iOS and Android.
Neither Apple nor Google’s operating systems report which apps have gone ignored the longest, but their tracking of battery and bandwidth usage by apps can offer a rough indication of which ones have retained your attention.
In iOS, you can check each app’s recent battery use in the Settings app by tapping the Battery heading. See the clock icon at the top right of that list? Tap that to see how much time each app has spent in the foreground.
To see how much data each iOS app has used, tap the Cellular heading in the Settings app and scroll down. Unlike the battery data, this is a cumulative list–the running totals you see there can go back years.
In Android, you can see each app’s battery drain since the last charge by swiping down from the top, tapping the battery icon and then tapping the “More Settings” link. To see the data used by each app, swipe down from the top, tap the cellular-signal icon, and then tap “More Settings” and then “Cellular data usage.”
The data you see there will only go back a month at most, although you can also browse records for previous months. Note also that some Android phones may not have the stock interface described here, because too many Android vendors still think they can design a better interface than Google.
You can see which apps you use the most by going to Settings> Connections> Data Usage, and then look at either the ‘Wi-Fi’ tab or ‘Mobile’ tab. Scroll up and you can see which apps are using the most time. That will clearly show which apps you hang out on the most.
Also in Android, you can install apps that will report how much time you spend in particular apps as well as your total time spent interacting with the device–a number that can be either enlightening or horrifying. Among the various possibilities, reviewers have consistently pointed to ZeroDesktop’s free QualityTime.
I found this to be very valuable to tell me not just which apps I use the most, but also how much time I spend with then and how much ‘usage’ I’m being billed for. This alone might help you to reassess where your priorities might need to change.
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