iPhone 4 truth time: Which apps do you really use?

Transferring apps from iTunes to the new iPhone 4 takes time. We took stock of how many apps we actually use--really use--and came out with a fraction of our collection.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
My old iPhone 3G is chock-a-block with apps I've tested, but never removed. Time for a clean slate?
My old iPhone 3G is chock-a-block with apps I've tested, but never removed. Time for a clean slate? Josh P. Miller/CNET

Getting any new geek toy takes me through the usual unboxing and tinkering routines, particularly if it's the shiny black iPhone 4 (full CNET review) I just got in on preorder that's so coveted that people are willing to sell spots in line for Thursday's retail launch.

Plugging the boxier, edgier iPhone 4 into iTunes was my first task. Staring at my roster of apps certainly forced me to consider which ones I use frequently enough to sync to this new, practically pristine device with its mere 18 preinstalled programs--only 14, really, if you don't count the phone, e-mail, Safari, and iPod buttons on the home screen.

The nature of my job as a mobile-apps reviewer keeps me in a steady stream of newly downloaded apps to test, but even with the previous iPhone always in tote, there are only a handful of programs I use--really use--enough to warrant moving over from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4.

OK, so by "handful" I actually mean that more than two dozen apps are making the jump, including essential social-networking apps for Facebook, Twitter (like TweetDeck), and IM (Palringo and Meebo). There are media apps I'd like to have onhand (Slacker Radio, SoundHound, Photoshop.com, Photogene), and utilities (Documents To Go, ToDo, Wikiamo). Some lifestyle apps also make my personal cut (Movies, Top Shelf Drinks, Epicurious, Yelp, Zagat). The rest I'll live without for now until new iOS 4 features make them must-haves, or the need arises.

On one hand it's nice to have iTunes transfer my purchases in a bundle to keep me from having to manually pick through the entire App Store, but syncing isn't a lickety-split process. The wait is especially aggravating if you can't wait to put your shiny, new hardware to the test out in the real world and far, far away from your computer.

So a reminder if you've already got an iPhone but are upgrading to the new iPhone 4 in the next couple days: pick the bare essentials judiciously for instant transferring, or move over your apps after you're finished oohing and ahhing for the night. That goes double if you're moving over music as well.

If you've got or are getting an iPhone 4, which apps make your list of iTunes transfers?