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What The Most Useless Unironic Mobile Apps Can Teach Us

The mobile app development world sees a mix of exceptionally simple but very useful applications targeted with a specific purpose in mind, and highly popular “super-apps” that offer a wide range of services, often incorporating communications, financial transactions, eCommerce and social media.

However, ever since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 and its corresponding App Store in 2008, millions of apps have been made, with a peak of 2.2m in 2017.

Of those millions of apps, some of them are very useful, well designed and entertaining, but some are completely the opposite, with either a poor interface, poor execution or poor concept making the app completely useless.

Outside of ironic apps which are deliberately useless as a joke, here are some of the most useless apps on mobile phones, and the lessons they can teach to app developers everywhere.



One of the oldest and most reliable machines for addition and subtraction, some developers actually decided to make a virtual Abacus for the iPhone and sell it for 79p.

To its credit, it works for the most part as an abacus, but it is rendered useless by the fact that the iPhone (and in fact every electronic device since the personal organiser) has a calculator that does the same job better and for free.


Celebrity Heights

Have you ever wanted the ability to search for one incredibly specific piece of information about famous celebrities? Instead of using a search engine to find out the heights of celebrities, why not use a dedicated search tool instead?

This highlights the importance of having an app that is not simply an existing feature but more limited.


Kitchen Scales

There is a lot to say about an app that sounds like it turns your iPhone into a depository for flour, sugar or liquids, but the Kitchen Scales app is far worse than this.

Essentially it is pressed against a container and guesses the weight of a stated substance based on its volume. Its purpose would have been particularly limited and useless even if the app had worked as intended.

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