21 Amazing Apps That Will Ruin Your Life
By Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 15 September 2016.
By Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 15 September 2016.
There are countless ways to waste your precious time in this life. But your wastrel-ness increases a thousand-fold when you've got a smartphone at hand. With over 2 million apps in the iOS App Store and 2.2 million in Google Play, according to Statista, and more being added every second, you could spend thousands of dollars a week and still never catch up. Just ask Shaq.
Certain activities take up a lot of time, but don't necessarily waste your time. Like listening to music. So that takes apps like Pandora and Spotify off the list. Social networking is how many of us stay in touch today, so that means Facebook and Twitter don't qualify. Sure, looking up something on Wikipedia can take you down a rabbit hole of article reading that is much like falling though space-time...but that's your fault. Additionally, reading apps, video apps, and shopping apps are all necessary in everyday life and can't really be considered frivolous.
But there are some "productivity" apps that will suck you in and never let you go. Day after day, you'll return to them, enjoy them, and then wonder "Where the hell did the time go?" They're the empty calories of the app world. That doesn't mean they're not worth downloading; just beware that these apps don't suck...but they will suck time.
1. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
If you want to play dress-up, but don't have access to a fully stocked closet, maybe you need to be friends with Kim Kardashian. Or at least the digital equivalent in this "game" that, according to our review, is either dumb fun or a shallow cash-grab; probably both. (Free with in-app purchases for iOS, Android)
If you can't get enough Kim, meanwhile, the reality star has parlayed her mobile game fame into an emoji app: Kimoji (of course). It's also available on iOS and Android.
No one has perfected time-wasting online like the folks at Cheezburger Inc., makers of the I Can Haz Cheezburger site. It's probably the home of the original Internet cat memes! Of course, now, there's an app for that. You can even remix the images and GIFs. (Free for iOS, Android)
You've probably wondered exactly what your own voice would sound like if auto-tuned like a big star with a lack of singing talent. Wonder no longer! Smule's Songify takes a recording of whatever you say or sing into the phone, and plays it back to you with musical accompaniment in full auto-tune. Use it over and over again to prove your lack of ability. Or, use Smule's similar AutoRap for the same effect, but, you know, hip-hopped. (Free for Android; US$2.99 for iOS)
Whisper is all about sharing your secrets, displaying them like a meme with art and your confession, for all the world to see anonymously. It's like PostSecret without the curation, plus people will reply. Think of all the time you'll spend perfecting that secret so you don't come off as a complete weirdo. (Or better yet, don't.) (Free: iOS, Android)
5. Sago Mini Doodlecast
You can tell by the SagoSago website that this app is meant for kids. Ha! By the time parents figure it out, it'll be all about them, using this app to capture your voice as you doodle. The animated video with voice-over can then be played back for sharing with anyone. (US$4.49 for iOS)
6. Meme Generator
In the game of who is cleverest on the Interwebs, occasionally the throne goes to whomever can make the smartest looking meme. In this case, that amounts to a witty bon mot coupled with a still picture that lots of people might share - you know the kind, with the big white block letters. You don't need serious Photoshop chops to make them happen when apps like Meme Generator Free can handle the job. You, unfortunately, have the hard part: spending the time it takes to come up with something clever to say. (Free: iOS, Android)
Selfies are in. The definition made the dictionary and they've become an entire category in the App Store. Picr could be the poster-child of the selfie movement, as that is its entire purpose, with the goal of getting you to take a selfie each day. At the end of a month, year, decade or more, you'll be able to generate a movie of your facial changes through time. (Free with in-app purchases on iOS)
8. 1 Second Everyday
Perhaps you're thinking you'd like to do more than take a picture every day. Well, how about recording one full second of video with 1 Second Everyday? That should certainly give your life some context, once you assemble it days or years from now. Set up multiple timelines (one for you, one for spouse, one for kids, etc.) or submit your second to group projects. (US$4.99 on iOS; free with in-app purchases on Android)
Taking a picture with just one camera on your iPhone isn't enough. You've got TWO cameras. And people would like to know exactly what you looked like as you took a shot, right? That's the theory behind FrontBack. It takes snaps with both cams at once, then stitches them together for you, even allowing you to write captions after you're done. Share it on social sites or email. So imagine all the work you take composing a shot, doubled! (Free: iOS and Android)
There are lots of weird drawing apps for smartphones, and drawing as a whole is probably not going to suck much of your life away. But what about turning your pixels into sand and using them to create art? Thisissand stole a good chunk of my day, as I created colorful cascades of digitally produced sand to save as images, perfect for making screen backgrounds. It even sounded like sand tinkling inside the phone. (Free with in-app purchases on iOS and Android)
11. Moodies Emotions Analytics
Wondering how you really feel today? Don't take your brain's word for it! Moodies will listen to you talk for 20 seconds and then report back based on the pitch, volume, timing, and energy used. It won't just report on your primary mood, but your secondary mood (which I'll bet you didn't even know you had). (Free for iOS)
Ah, "personal growth." It's the bedrock of an entire industry of books, classes, and other forms of navel gazing. Hey, if it helps you, great, but as a cynic I'm going to declare apps like Unstuck, which promises to help you past those times in life when you get stuck, to be in that category of "too good to be true." But hey, it won a Webby and an Appy Award. (Free: iOS for iPad only, but website is usable on all mobile platforms)
You probably know Flipboard by now. If you don't, avoid it - this combination of RSS reader, Web search, content saver, and more will create a "personalized magazine" for you out of all the content on the Web. Say "goodbye productivity!" (Free for iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows)
14. Original Virtual Bubble Wrap
The ultimate way to lose yourself for hours on end, a true brain-musher...popping bubble wrap. Sure, Bubble Wrap might be a game, but it's the most relaxing, least competitive game you'll ever play. (Free for iOS, Android by various developers)
Finally, an app that isn't so much a ruiner, as trying to prevent ruination. Moment will show you exactly how much time you've spent (read: wasted) on your iOS device, how many times a day you pick up the iPhone, track where you take the phone, and set limits for how often you're allowed to use it. It'll even track usage by your family members on iOS devices that have Moment installed, and let you create times when everyone has to go screenless - at least for a while. (Free for iOS)
Ready to mix some tracks? Pacemaker lets you pick tracks and instantly mixes them (but you can tweak them until the end of time - a remix is never finished). You can pick music from iTunes or Spotify. That means you have an almost unlimited amount of wasted time ahead of you! (Free with in-app purchases for iOS, including Apple Watch and iPad)
With Dubsmash, you pick an audio clip from what seems to be millions of user-provided clips on the service; record a video of you (and friends, family, co-workers, passers-by) lip-synching to it. Share it and send it and consider a job as a professional lip-synch artist. Like the actors above. (Free for iOS and Android.)
If you're not quite ready to embrace Snapchat, check out its most amusing feature with MSQRD, which gives you face-changing filters that you will spend hours and hours playing with. It's a great way to pretend you're the Ben Affleck Batman (there are a few filters specific to movie/TV franchises) or a Juggalo, or just put on a pretty flowered bonnet. My favorite? Face-swapping. (Free for iOS and Android.)
Don't let the fact that Prisma is a highly popular, well-reviewed app distract you from the fact that it's monumentally distracting. Now that Prisma's got a number of photo-changing transformers that work offline, it's twice as fast when it comes to sucking up your free time as you make your pics all artistic. Here are some tips to help you get started. (Free for iOS and Android.)
Load up this app and map it as a keyboard for easy access. Then, spend hours perfecting your Bitmoji avatar - your eerily precise "personal emoji" that shows up in multiple settings or using witty, meme-y bon mots you can't come up with on your own, most of them just right for texting, chatting, or sharing. There are so many, that's when your life ends: you spend the rest of it finding just the right Bitmoji to use for every occasion. (Free for iOS, Android, and even for Google Chrome on the desktop)
21. Pokemon Go
We tried to stay away from games on this list because, well, they're supposed to suck your time and life away. That's the whole point. But Pokemon Go isn't just a game, it's a phenomenon. Even if it is on the cusp of petering out with only millions of players, oh boo hoo for them. If you're wondering if you missed out - or you just haven't collected all the Pokemon you can - now is the time to get back into and kiss that productivity buh-bye. Be sure to check out our roundup of tips. (Free with in-app purchases for iOS, Android )
[Source: PC Magazine. Edited. Some links added.]