I often hear colleagues and family speak about how big bad internet companies collect their data.

Yet, I find it highly confusing that these same persons are the ones who blindly give permissions to mobile apps.

Let’s answer the following questions together :

  • Would you install an application to access your bank accounts on your desktop/laptop computer, instead of using your browser ?

  • Would you give it full access over your files and hardware, for features that will never work offline anyway ?

  • Even if all these features can already be accessed from a website…

    • in a device-friendly user interface ?
    • without giving up any access to your private data ?
    • without taking overpriced diskspace on your overpriced iPhone ?

Let’s phrase this another way : Are you nuts ?!

Why bring all that nonsense to your mobile phone, which is just a small touch-based computer loaded with private data ?
Does that cool looking icon in the app store really makes you lose your mind ?

“But typing addresses is boring”

Just put the mobile site in your favorites, and add a shortcut icon to your homescreen.

As a rule of thumb, do not install an application unless it provides irreplaceable offline features.

Such features may be :

  • using a GPS for navigation - NOT localization, ordering your cab can be achieved through a browser !
  • stuff with advanced graphics : games, sketching, video editing…
  • stuff to read offline : books, courses, music/video apps with offline mode…
  • professional tooling : payment, docs, spreadsheets…

Exception to the offline rule is when you need to get notified (push) in real time : messaging, traffic alerts…

What you obviously don’t need to install apps for :

  • Checking your bank account -> website !
  • Social networks -> website !
  • Ordering a pizza -> website, or *shocker* : phone !
  • Reading the news -> website or paper !
  • Shop online -> website !!
  • Anything that was only a website before smartphones -> website !!!
  • Any promotional offer that requires you to install an app -> just don’t, unless getting spammed makes you feel special

We’re probably screwed when it comes to vendors collecting data directly from our operating systems, let’s not shoot ourserlves in the foot by opening more doors than necessary.