Sunday, January 20, 2013

Replace Apps with Bookmarks to Free up your Mobile Device

Apps are great, providing one click access to applications and services in a format that is optimised for mobile viewing.

But....

Every app you install eats up some of your limited storage space and many apps continue to use system resources when you are not using them like push notifications and live desktop widgets. If you are running out of space or if your device is slowing down due to app overload then you need to do a clear out. After all you probably don't need that interactive guide to a city you visited 8 months ago and only the most dedicated twitterers really need a pop up notification every time one of the 872 people they are following makes a tweet.

Happily there is a way that you can continue to have one click access to many of your favourite services without wasting any of your mobile device's precious resources. Simply use your browser to create a home screen bookmark to the web version of the service you want. Many websites such as Facebook, Gmail and Twitter now have excellent mobile versions. While they may not be as as responsive as a dedicated app they are perfectly adequate on a reasonably fast phone or tablet plus the web version is often more flexible with more access to advanced features than the app.

Here is how to make a home screen bookmark on an Android device. I have tested this method on Gingerbread (3.4) and ICS (4.2) using the stock browser, the Chrome browser and my favourite the Firefox browser.
First open your browser of choice and navigate to the webpage you want. You can choose the mobile or desktop version as you see fit. Log in if required and let your browser store the password if you want. Create a book mark to this page, usually by clicking a star near the address bar. Next open the bookmarks menu. In Chrome or Firefox just open a new tab to see the bookmarks list, in Gingerbread stock just press the bookmark star again. Find the bookmark you just created and long press it. You will be given an option to add the book mark to home screen (make sure you have space for it). This book mark will give you one click access to the webpage. It feels and works just like an app. You can move it to a folder to keep things tidy. Now go and uninstall that Twitter, Facebook or Wikipedia app that you didn't really need in the first place.

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