Do Your Apps Spark Joy?

2 minute read
| Deep Dive

Marie Kondo’s decluttering system has taken the internet by storm ever since she was featured on Netflix. Physical minimalism is good to practice, but you might forget about digital minimalism. It’s time to take a good, hard look at your electronic devices and ask, “Do my apps spark joy?”

[‘Tidying up With Marie Kondo’ – the New Best Thing on Netflix]

I’m kind of a digital hoarder. Not r/DataHoarder level, but I save content I like even if there is no immediate use for it. Articles, concept art, hundreds of eBooks, videos, all get saved. My iPhone has 128GB of storage and I took that as a challenge.

Minimize

Even if you don’t hoard, it’s a good idea to re-think the apps you’ve downloaded. Maybe there’s an app that you used once or twice and forgot about. Or the developer could be sending your information to Facebook.

A good starting point is taking a look at each app’s privacy policy. Thankfully, we can speed that up with tools I’ve written about before. One is called Polisis, and it gives you a summary of any privacy policy and turns it into an infographic. There’s also a chatbot that does the same thing except in a conversational format.

Social media apps are another category to minimize. They aren’t always good for our mental health, and lead to mindless scrolling. “Mindless” is the key word here. A big part of minimalism is doing things with intention. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What purpose does it serve?”

polisis on macbook
Polisis

Even if you don’t want to give up social media, at least delete the apps and use the platforms through Safari. Removing the apps also removes some of the data tracking. It also adds a small barrier. It might take a bit longer to use Facebook on Safari, but that gives you the opportunity to use it with intention, instead of scrolling out of boredom.

If there is an app you’re unsure of minimizing, stick it in a special folder. Name it something like “Minimize.” Make a note of the date that you added it. If you haven’t used that app after a month, then deleting it might be a good idea.

Organize

Part of minimalism is the fact that if you have fewer things, they are easier to organize. That’s why I created a file organization system. Since it involves file names, it’s easier to do on macOS, because you have tools like Automator that let you rename a bunch of files at once.

However, since iOS is app-based, content is already more organized than macOS, since you probably won’t have stuff scattered in Finder. Books and PDFs are kept in Apple Books, Photos handles photos and videos, your music is stored in Apple Music, etc.

[iOS 12: How to Create Album Folders in Photos]

Photo by Vishwas Bangar on Unsplash

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