Productivity

10 Annoying Apps We're All Stuck Using (And How To Make Them Better)

Every app has its share of annoyances, but some are so popular that you’re just plain stuck using them — either because your friends do, because you need it for a particular gadget, or just because there’s no real alternative. Here are 10 popular apps that get on our nerves, and what you can do to fix them.

10. Skype

Skype isn’t our favourite video chat app, but it is one of the most popular, which means if your friends and family use it, you’re stuck using it too from time to time. You can’t fix Skype’s bad interface, but you can at least fix its desire to always be in your face. Just head into the settings and uncheck “Start Skype Shen I Start Windows” under General, “Keep Skype in the Taskbar” under Advanced, and turn off some of its notifications. That will at least keep it out of your way.

9. Spotify

Spotify is a fantastic service with a mediocre desktop app and a horrible mobile app to back it up. If you want to take advantage of its music library, though, you have to deal with the apps. Again, you can’t fix their interface, but you can stop Spotify from broadcasting your activity to everyone on Facebook, in both the desktop and mobile apps. You can also turn off “Spotify Social”. Lastly, you can mute the ads if they’re getting on your nerves, but as a site that makes a living on ads, we’d recommend you use this sparingly.

8. YouTube

Like Spotify, YouTube is an awesome idea wrapped in a site with more than a few annoyances. Some aren’t exactly YouTube’s fault (like the positively idiotic comment section), but others are baked right into the service (like videos that play automatically. We’ve shared a number of extensions and scripts that make YouTube a lot better, though, so with a few tweaks here and there you should be good to go.

7. Twitter

Twitter has gotten more and more annoying over time. They track you on the web, they limit third party clients, pile on the ads, and more. The official site and apps aren’t very good these days, but if you want to be a part of the network, you can make it a little nicer to use. First, make sure they stop tracking you all over the web, then try a new Twitter client like one of our favorites. You can even bring Instagram previews back, if you want. Image remixed from rudall30 (Shutterstock).

6. Java

When we asked you guys what your least favourite apps were, a number of you responded with Java, mostly for its in-your-face attitude about updates and its browser plugin’s security issues. Luckily, if you need Java on your system, both are pretty easily fixable. To avoid security problems, just disable the browser plug-in. For those pesky update notifications, head on into Java’s settings to tweak how often it notifies you of new updates, as well as other scheduling features (though you should let it update automatically, so it stays as secure as possible).

5. Anything Printer Related

You’d think it’d be easy to write a simple printer helper, but history dictates otherwise. If you’re sick of your awful, slow and buggy printer companion, help is on the way: check out our guide to de-crapifying your Windows printer and scanner setup. When you’re done, you’ll have a fully working printer without all the crap that comes with it. Image: Kevin Cortopassi.

4. iTunes

Mac users may not understand this pain — since iTunes is actually a decent program on OS X — but it might just be one of the most horrible apps available on Windows, mostly due to its unbearable slowness. Installing a better music program is always an option, but if you’ve got iOS devices to sync, you’re stuck with iTunes. Our recommendation? Import your library into another music app, then use iTunes just for syncing. It’s a bit more work, but you’ll be happy you switched.

3. Adobe Flash

Ah, Flash. Nothing makes my laptop’s fans spin out of control and overheat quite like you. Nobody likes Flash, but we need to use it on the web nearly every day. The best solution? Install an extension like FlashBlock (or enable Chrome’s click-to-play feature) to at least keep Flash from running when you don’t need it. It’ll white out any space that has Flash in it, and you can click on it to start it up. If you really want to, you could also go the somewhat-overboard-John-Gruber route of uninstalling it entirely and just using Chrome when you need Flash.

2. Facebook

Where do we even start? From privacy issues to confusing interface elements and just plain annoying people, Facebook is an app that a ton of us use and most of us hate. If you don’t want to quit Facebook, you do have some options for making it better. Check out our always up-to-date privacy guide, as well as our guide to making Facebook infinitely better with one browser extension. And when it comes to annoying people… well, there are ways of silencing them as well. Image remixed from trekandshoot (Shutterstock).

1. Your Operating System

Sometimes, the most annoying app you have to deal with isn’t even an app at all — it’s your entire operating system. Whether it’s on your phone or on your desktop, no OS is perfect, but we’re stuck with what we’ve got — and sometimes, you’re stuck with something you don’t even want (sorry, office workers). So what can you do? We’ve featured more guides than we can count for tweaking your OS, but this one is a good place to start. We also recommend you perform the correct maintenance for your software, whether it’s Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, or Android. If you’re annoyed with your phone, you can also jailbreak or root it and get a lot more out of it. Image remixed from Yuri Arcurs (Shutterstock).


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