Are you excited about adding another app? — The reality of “App Fatigue” and “Home Screen Clutter”

App Fatigue and Home Screen Clutter

Have you heard of “app fatigue” and “app clutter”? Are you experiencing this mobile-related stress? Take heed; you are not alone. I continue to see several articles and reports on smartphone users experiencing these conditions due to excessive app availability and downloading.

In fact, in a wide variety of customer and facility owner/operator gatherings in which I participate, I often poll groups of people by simply asking how many attendees want to add a new app to their phones. The number of hands that go up is always small. Ask the same question to yourself. Look at your home screen. How do you feel? 

So Many Apps with Little Use

Today, there are over 4.7 million apps in the Apple App Store, and the Google Play Store has over 2.9 million. Smartphone users are becoming fatigued, and sometimes even frustrated, with each new request (or, even worse, requirement) to add a mobile app and clutter up their already limited home screen space. This is in no way inferring that adding new mobile apps is altogether less desirable, but we must be selective. There are simply many more choices today, and some apps are simply overbuilt, overly complex, or too focused on benefits beyond the actual mobile user.

We continue to hear from smartphone users, irrespective of age, whether baby boomers, millennials, or Gen Z, that outside of engaging a focused set of commonly used apps (perhaps between 10 and 18*), there are too many apps on their phone they never use. One study cited that across all age groups, the average user has 40 mobile apps, while millennials specifically average 67 apps*.

Reasons for Clutter and Ways to Combat

Users recognize that their phones are simply too cluttered with apps, which are:

  • used too infrequently
  • are too complicated to set up, access, and use
  • do too little or even lack a significant purpose
  • resulting in hidden monthly charges even for so-called “free apps”
  • and ultimately offer too little user value

So, what are some approaches to consider as you begin to reflect during the holidays and look forward to simplifying your life in the New Year? Here are a few pragmatic thoughts:

  • identify and delete unused apps (tip: in iPhone, go to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage -> Last Used Date)
  • implement apps that aggregate other niche or specific-purpose apps (e.g. a smart home app versus a smart product app)
  • select products or services that do not require apps for infrequent use cases, but instead have built-in intelligent automation or use simple mobile SMS/text customer interfaces.

StorageDefender’s pedigree in smart home products and apps helped us realize that the wise use of smart tech does not always necessitate a mobile app user interface for simple, but necessary applications. We chose to focus on deploying a conversational mobile text-based user interface, particularly given how infrequently self-storage tenants access their storage units.

More broadly, smart technology solutions should focus on delighting customers with the simplest and right-sized user experience to meet or exceed their needs. I believe that in many cases, properly architected tech solutions should be inherently smart and simple enough to avoid the addition of other needless mobile apps, thus helping to mitigate app fatigue and app clutter.

Mark Cieri is the CEO and co-founder of StorageDefender (, a prop-tech company focused on providing smart solutions in the self-storage space.