Why sticking with stock iPhone apps is a bad move

iPH - standardapps

Let’s face it: The iPhone has come a long way since its debut several years ago. And along with hardware improvements, we have seen major software improvements as well. Apple’s stock iPhone apps are now more useful than ever (thanks, in part, to both iCloud and Siri), making using them not only more appealing – but more productive than in the past.

But using them and forsaking third-party apps in the process is a bad idea.

The temptation to use stock apps alone is going to be high for those who have recently obtained iPhones. This is especially so for those who aren’t exactly familiar with technology of this sort. While these stock apps provide a lot more usefulness than before, they also do have limitations that third-party apps can help lift. Now, that doesn’t mean that Apple’s own apps can’t do more than many of these third-party apps, but it does mean that they don’t have to if there aren’t any viable – or even better -alternatives.

Apple is all about innovation, and third-party developers have helped to foster that on the iPhone. While Calendar on the iPhone is good, Fantastical or Agenda is better – and in different ways. I’d bet that natural language entry will come to Apple’s own calendar app, but they may not have even been considered had these third-party apps not introduced them in the first place. If new – and existing – users decide to stick with what Apple offers right out of the box on the iPhone, then such innovations may be slowed (or even halted) for certain apps.

I do think it is important for Apple to have control over what they believe the device should do, but I also believe that users need to be able to choose depending on their comfort level. I haven’t jailbroken my iPhone since I had my first-generation device, and I don’t see a reason to any longer. Both Apple and third-party developers have delivered (and continue to deliver) better and better apps, making the iPhone a better device. The rise of third-party apps means that users can have a healthy balance of stock and installed apps; and Apple has helped play a part in creating that balance. And they’ve done it through the element of controlling the space in a way that allows for innovation – innovation that they can choose to adopt to their own apps because they’ve seen first-hand how it makes their hardware better.

Essentially, the practice of controlled innovation has led to progress. That seems counter-intuitive in idea, but when put into practice in the iOS ecosystem, it works.

The idea of using what is offered initially on the iPhone is a good one; it will help new users get familiar with their new device and help seasoned users deal with any of the improvements that Apple delivers on apps that are a vital part of the iPhone’s ecosystem. But I think it’s important to continue to expose all users to the wonder of third-party apps – they serve to advance the device and the ecosystem in their own way. And it’s a way that actually serves to allow Apple to continue to innovate both efficiently and effectively.

Apple’s stock apps give users what they need; third-party apps give users what they want. Both types are necessary and valuable for both the device and for the user – and that’s perhaps the thing that needs to be fostered more than anything else that the iPhone has to offer.

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  • Lahey

    Unless a jailbreak becomes available the site will be reduced to… articles such as this. A shame. When the articles and the ads are equally boring it may be time to rethink.

  • Louis

    A bit of a poor post, author! All you’ve done is write many paragraphs reiterating the fact that we should use third party apps instead of the stock ones, but all you’ve done is give two mentions to replace ONE app, and barely touched the surface of “why” we should. Make this the awesome post it’s meant to be by giving alternative options to ALL the stock apps, highlighting why they’re better.

    • http://www.iphonehacks.com iPhoneHacks

      Thanks for the feedback. A followup article will cover the best third-party apps to replace the stock iPhone apps.

  • http://twitter.com/HiTekkSteff Stephaughn Alston

    One thing I always recommend is going with Universal apps, apps that will be available on all platforms so no matter what you’ll always have access to your most important data. In my opinion you never wanna settle with stock apps. For example I never use the stock notes app on iOS, I use Evernote.

  • WarEagle75

    The reason to jailbreak? Because I want to tether my phone to my iPad. “F” AT&T and the other carriers for making the people pay if they have an unlimited data plan. Why should I pay when I can do it for free as it should be.

    • Drusenija

      Whilst I completely agree about jailbreaking in order to access tethering functionality, I do have some sympathy for providers who want to charge extra for it on an unlimited plan. Unlimited plans are sold on an assumption of how much data that specific device is likely to use. Tether a second device (phone, tablet or laptop) and you can significantly change that estimation, which is what causes networks to slow to a crawl. The extra cost helps to offset that to a point (although I doubt a lot of network providers reinvest that money in their network, so an argument can be made for doing it anyway).

      What annoys me is when providers want to charge to enable tethering on fixed usage plans. Surely any method that allows me to use data faster when I have a fixed amount of it can only be a good thing for a provider, it opens up the possibility of excess usage charges or me purchasing more data – win win in either case for the provider.

  • Nobby

    You havnt jail broken your device since the first iPhone! This is a iPhone hacks website!


    I think most people with iPhones know that they can get a lot out of the App Store. Apple have been pretty good by not offering too much in the way of 1st party Apps, allowing 3rd party developers to thrive. I met a girl once who had turned the App Store off because she didn’t want to pay for Apps, I had to explain to her that there were a ton of free Apps available.

  • Jwrbloom

    It’s tough to suggest third party apps do more while ignoring the most useful SMS app on the market, BiteSMS, not to mention the number of more useful and efficient ways to access information and settings by apps only available via a jailbreak.

    It’s worth jailbreaking my iPhone for BiteSMS alone. Even my Treo 650 had ways to quick compose and quick reply. The ability to send scheduled texts is excellent. I’d also like to see a more efficient way to send bulk texts.

    A lockscreen is useless to those who don’t care about the security of their information, and that barrier seems to halt a lot of wonderful features that could easily be embedded in future versions of iOS. Do I really need to unlock my phone, pull down the notification screen or open Tweetbot to send a tweet? I should be able to control the experience I have on my phone.

    Now that I’ve gone all Apple, I’m sticking with the iPhone for the time being due to the integration of services and content. However, a couple of more iterations without vast improvement in iOS it will keep me from looking at new hardware or even send me in another direction.

  • Luigi

    well people on the Iphone they also want to be able to customize the device and apple has been very poor this subject since the very begining of the Iphone, for those who don’t remember on the original iphone and on iphone 3G you cant even change your home screen wallpaper !!! it’s absolutly ridiculous, and thanks to jailbreaking and winterboard it gave us control and had a super costumizable iphone…. people they don’t want only productivity apps and games… everbody likes to make the device they own, to match the paticular style of each person…. and without jailbreaking that’s not possible now is it???
    and like that user said, this is a hacking iphone website….. if the person who wrote this article hasent jailbroken his iphone since the first one, then I think he’s on the wrong website!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1740590440 Abel Goddard

    “I do think it is important for Apple to have control over what they believe the device should do, but I also believe that users need to be able to choose depending on their comfort level.”

    This is a paradox. If apple has control, users don’t have a choice.

    Overall, I agree with many other comments – you need to jailbreak to post here, and if you disagree that a stock app is best, tell us about options.

  • razielpr

    yeah sure controlled innovation has left apple with a 17% of the market share world wide they need to loosen the controlled innovation if they want to take back the market from Android