Mahyar Saeedi / Admin / Vancouver / July 29, 2015

Landfill of Apps

There is an onslaught of apps that are unused, and (in some cases) useless beyond the means of a single function, making it difficult for users to find useful, and well-produced apps within the app store. This is not problematic only for iPhone users, but also includes android, google, and windows phone users alike.

As of June 2015 there are an estimated 1.5 million apps available in the Apple Store. A study conducted by Adeven shows that approximately 60% of apps never receive a single download. Part of this problem stems from a lack of promotion and marketing. Adeven CEO Christian Henschel points out that according to the study found that if an app is not on any app store lists then it is unlikely to ever be downloaded.  

"If you’re not on those lists, it’s not sure that you’re being discovered by anyone else. The top 25 tend to be the same companies who spend millions of dollars to get to the top of those lists. If you’re an independent, small app publisher, then it’s really tough to be discovered."

- Christian Henschel, Adeven CEO

There is more to the problem than just big names buying ad space. More than a quarter of all apps downloaded by the end user are never used, which is surprising as there are a total of 100 billion global downloads as of June 2015. The most popular category is games, which makes up 21.8% of the app store market share. Given the volume of available apps it’s no wonder why it can be tough to get noticed.

Extreme saturation in the marketplace of similar apps also has a part to play. There is a huge influx of apps that provide the same functions, and yet more of the same are produced every year. Adeven found that there are almost 1,900 choices for flashlight apps alone. How many apps of the same use or function need to be produced before developers realize they should strive for new and fresh ideas? I find this continuous recycling of existing products mind-boggling.

Trends within apps are apparent; digital lighters and guns that fire when swiped along with digital bubble wrap to pop. We all remember these apps as early adopters to the app store. Although cool (for maybe a few seconds), these apps tire quickly and seem to exist mainly as a testing ground for adoption of apps and touch screens for developers. Surprisingly many of these mindless apps seem to be a big hit with heavy monetary gain, which in turn entices other developers to try to make millions off small time development.

Let’s put this all into perspective. If I type the word ‘fart’ in the app store I will get over 1000 apps in my search result, which is far too many to search through. iFart Mobile was an early adopter to the fart noise trend and launched in 2008. The company averaged $10,000.00 a day and even hit the top spot of the App Store at one point. At its peak the app was making upwards of $30,000.00 a day.

This leads us to the app store itself. At what point does Apple take control and add potential restrictions and filters to cultivate and encourage creative development and hinder repetitive apps with limited function? With their slogan “There’s an app for that,” I don’t think we can expect change anytime soon.

The App Store should put emphasis in developing new filters for a better search experience for the end user. Perhaps even putting a spotlight on apps that are exceptional but don’t have the backing for heavy advertising. Until then I’ll sift through the digital landfill only to find nothing but an endless supply of fart noise and flashlight apps.


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Mahyar Saeedi Admin July 29, 2015 Vancouver More By Mahyar
Influencer Extraordinaire, creator of Designed to Speak, and independent designer. I create, collaborate, design and influence. I currently hold the GDC BC A/V chair and am part of the Creative Mornings (Vancouver) committee.
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