How to Tell When It’s Time to Switch Apps


Switching apps can be a hassle. You’ll need to get used to a new interface, learn new commands, and possibly transfer over your old files and data. But at the same time, switching to a new app can be an investment for the future; your new app might save you hours of time every week, or offer features that your previous app couldn’t match.

So how can you tell when it’s time to pull the trigger and make the switch?

Identifying the App Type

First, consider the category of app you’re attempting to change. For example, if you’re thinking about switching from Outlook to Gmail, you’ll be considering email platforms—and email platforms affect multiple areas of your life, including your productivity, your ability to stay organized, and in some cases, your professional image. You’ll also only be able to manage one version of the app at a time. If you’re thinking about switching from one chess app to another, the stakes are much lower, and you should probably download both to do a side-by-side comparison.

Assessing Features and Costs

You probably already have a competitor in mind. If you don’t, you can run a quick Google search to find an alternative app for your chosen function. From there, list out some of the most important features to your daily life. For example, if you’re thinking of switching email management apps, you might list things like layout, security, reliability, and compatibility with other apps. Then, see how each of those apps stacks up to the other.

As part of this comparison, you may also want to compare costs. Ultimately, one app will probably come out ahead; this shouldn’t finalize your decision, but it should be a major step in that direction.

Estimating Time Savings

Estimating time savings can be tough, especially if you don’t have any direct experience with the app you’re planning on switching to. However, you can make high-level assessments that support your decision. For example, you can calculate the time you’ll save by automating certain tasks within the new app that weren’t capable of automation previously. You may also factor in the time you spend frustrated at the layout or design of your current app. If you stand to save even an hour a week, and you plan on using the app for the foreseeable future, it’s likely worth the switch.

Interruptions and Delays

The last things to consider are the potential interruptions, delays, and problems you might encounter when making the transition. For example, if you’re switching email providers, you may miss a few messages in the transition—or you might be without your account for a few hours during the migration. These are generally one-time costs, so long as you’re confident in the reliability of the process, so they shouldn’t deter you from making a positive change.

If you’re dissatisfied with your current app because of its design, its features, or the time it takes you to use it, chances are there’s a viable alternative out there worth switching to. It may take some time to research the possibilities, migrate your old data, and establish new habits, but the long-term time and cost savings will be worth those initial investments—so long as you’ve done the math to show it.