At least five times a day, I get a notification on my phone telling me that I have very low storage. Most of the time, I just want to throw the device against the wall. But what I end up doing is either ignoring it or doing what Apple calls “managing my storage.” As I manage the storage of my phone, I am able to see what is taking up most of the space and, I have to say, a good amount of it is apps.

But what exactly is an “app” and what is the purpose of downloading them? Also known as applications, they range from social media, like Facebook or Instagram, to news sources, to productivity. Since everything a person might need is practically in all of these apps, the idea of an app is that they are helpful tools that make our lives easier and save us time.

The real question is whether these apps are useful or just deceiving and actually a huge waste of time.

Let’s take a look at social media apps. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, sure make it a lot easier for users to check their respective accounts and be constantly connected to their social world, something that wasn’t possible when smartphones weren’t yet created. However, I think that social media apps are the biggest waste of time that there is. Most of the apps on my phone are social media apps. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr.

My account for each of these platforms is always connected through their apps, which means that there is never a moment that I am logged out of my social media platforms. Yes, this makes my social life a whole lot easier. I get to check all my notifications the moment I receive them. But is it really making my life easier when I am constantly connected? There never is a moment that I can back away and concentrate on one specific thing.

The apps keep me connected, but also distract me from more productive things I could be doing.

Apps that provide news, such as newspapers or magazines, can be a little bit more constructive. Before one would have to buy a newspaper or search online for the news source. Yet now with apps people are able to receive news notifications the minute the news breaks.

One of the biggest category in the app store is “productivity.” These applications are designed to make the user’s life easier in terms of their work or school life, or really any aspect of their life they want to keep organized.

Most of these apps consist of to do lists, emails, virtual notebooks, calendars, and other organizational tools. There is even an app that through algorithms learns your behavior and smartly suggests different ways that you could get things done.

I love the idea of these types of apps, but I always download them, use them for maybe two or three days, and then completely forget I downloaded them.

Call me old school but I am still the type of person who likes to have an actual physical planner and a piece of paper and pen to write my to-do list on. I think that in the time you take to download the app and update all your information into it, you could already have written down all your tasks in your calendar or to-do list. But that’s my personal preference. I do see how these apps can help people stay organized with all the different options they might offer.

So, are applications beneficial or a waste a time? I am not quite sure. Apps can be very useful and productive, but it mainly depends on how and for what the individual uses the application. An app can be designed with the purpose of making the user’s life simpler, but in reality it could just take away from their time, whereas someone else might be able to make the most of their time with the same application. Because I believe that smartphones themselves are highly distracting, it is hard for any application on a smartphone to be non-distracting. It all depends on personal preference and how people use their applications for productivity without letting other factors of the phone waste their time.