We’ve all been there.

Well, we probably haven’t all been there, but the few of us who haven’t can quietly ask one of us what it’s like.

Where was I? Ahh, Yes. We’ve all been there.

When time and curiosity set counsel together against you and your iOS device is suddenly teeming with apps.

Your apps as South Dakotan Bison

Apps for this. Apps for that. Apps for you-don’t-know-what-anymore. Apps that are flat out amazing. Apps that are kinda meh. Apps that you’re really just keeping installed in case they release an update with that feature you really want.

You get the point: too many apps.

Combatting app bloat can be difficult when you don’t have a system, and I have a feeling that many of us end up going the “binge and purge” route. That’s no good, because the only thing that leaves a worse taste in your mouth than binging is purging.

If you're gonna spew, spew into this

Good news! I’ve discovered a great way to keep our iOS devices trim and loaded with only the BEST apps. Better news! It includes a FlickChart style VS!

Step 1 — Set a limit

The easiest way to do this is to only let yourself have N screens of apps and J folders. You’ll want to find your own sweet spot, but my personal limit is two screens and two folders. One folder is for all of the Apple shovelware apps and the other folder is for rarely used, essential utilities.

This may sound pretty limiting (and in practice it is — there are a lot of good iOS apps), but two screens and two folders allows for 58 total apps on my device. That’s plenty.

Step 2 — Have your fill

Does the App Store make you feel like this?

This step is so easy that you’ve probably already done it. You just install apps to your heart’s delight until you’ve maxed out your screen/folder limits set in Step 1.

If your device is already loaded up with apps, you’ll get a big dose of Step 3 right away.

Step 3 — Versus

Whenever you download an app that pushes you over your self-imposed limit you have a decision to make. Does this new app make the cut or are all of your current apps better? Which, if any, of your apps do you not use much anymore? Can any of them be replaced by this?

Or, just think of your least favorite app on your device (that Apple will actually let you delete). Face it off with this new app. Two apps enter. One app is left standing.

This feels cumbersome at first, but it’s actually kind of fun and makes you think critically about the software that you use. The key is to not let slip or the whole system dissolves and you end up back where you started.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

The result

I’ve been doing this for a few months and I’m surprised how much more I enjoy my iPhone these days. It’s topped up with best-of-breed apps and since I’m already at my app limit I don’t go seeking out new apps anymore.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you as well as it does for me!