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The most unreliable smartphone apps, since Whatsapp suffers from power outages

The most unreliable smartphone apps, since Whatsapp suffers from power outages

App interruptions can leave people frustrated and unable to use their phones when they need to (PA Wire)

App interruptions can leave people frustrated and unable to use their phones when they need to (PA Wire)

WhatsApp’s outage on Tuesday affected more than 40 million users in the UK alone. Interruptions like these are not only frustrating, but can also be a huge inconvenience if you’re trying to communicate quickly.

Also, losing access to banking apps or anything else with sensitive data can be incredibly stressful.

A new study by Uswitch.com has determined which mobile apps are the most unreliable and likely to leave Britons unable to access their services.

As part of the Mobile Statistics Center, experts analyzed the top 24 mobile apps for a variety of factors. These included the volume of reported outage issues per million monthly downloads, the volume of Google searches during outages, and app ratings from actual users.

The results reveal which apps most Londoners want on their phones are the most unreliable, on a scale of zero to five.

Which mobile apps are the most unreliable?

With a trust score of 1.50 out of 5, Facebook was revealed to be the most unreliable mobile app. On average, there are 15 reported app issues for every million monthly downloads, two-thirds more than fellow Meta app WhatsApp, which had “only” nine issues per million downloads.

YouTube is the second most unreliable mobile app, with a reliability score of 2.36 out of 5. There are 36 reported app problems per million monthly downloads on average – four times as many as Soundcloud. In addition, over the past year there have been 673,500 searches related to the YouTube app being down, the highest of any app analyzed.

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Twitter ranks as the third most unreliable mobile app. On average, for every million monthly downloads, there are 195 reported app issues, the highest of any app analyzed. However, due to Twitter receiving 86 percent fewer queries about the app being down compared to Facebook, it was given a slightly higher reliability score of 2.54 out of 5.

Uswitch analyzed data to find out which of these apps were the least trusted (Uswitch)

Uswitch analyzed data to find out which of these apps were the least trusted (Uswitch)

At the other end of the spectrum, Zoom was found to be the most trusted mobile app with a trust score of 4.51 out of . There are only three reported issues with it per million monthly downloads on average, the lowest of any app analyzed.

How can power outages be dangerous to our data?

A Censuswide survey of 2012 UK mobile phone users, carried out by Uswitch.com for the Mobile Statistics Centre, has revealed that more than a third of UK adults allow their mobile apps to access their personal data.

The survey found that men are more likely than women to allow apps to access their private information, while almost half of 16-24 year olds said they do not deny access to personal data when installing apps.

Handing over our personal data to apps has its risks at best, but especially during power outages. Uswitch.com mobile expert Catherine Hiley offers tips on how to protect your personal data from power outages caused by cyberattacks

“There are several reasons why mobile apps can lag, such as server issues, outdated software and cyber attacks,” she explains. “Apps that users haven’t updated recently can expose outdated software and thus have a higher risk of being hacked. These attacks can also lead to app crashes, so it’s important to make sure your apps are as up-to-date as possible.

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“When you install a new app, it will often ask for permission to access personal data on your phone, such as your camera, microphone and location. It’s important to be aware of what each app has access to so you don’t overshares or offers access to more information than it needs.”

Ms Hiley adds that it is important not to “skip past the T&Cs”, urging people to “make sure you have read the app’s privacy policy to understand how your data will be shared”.

“If you’re not comfortable with the guidelines, avoid downloading the app,” she says.

“If the app asks for permission to access your location or camera, pay close attention and consider whether this is a necessary part of the app’s functionality. Keep your downloaded apps up to date and review their permissions regularly. You can check your settings at any time and give them access to your personal data only when you use the app.”

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