The 8 tech nuisances that annoy us most

Ngoc Huynh

Endless notifications, uneven updates, short-lived batteries and other modern headaches.

Neverending Notifications

Our lives are constantly being interrupted by notifications, and there’s no good way to get just the important ones.

Email services like Gmail and offer special social media alert filters, but that’s largely to make up for the fact that the social networks themselves are getting increasingly spammy. In iOS, Apple allows you to specify contacts as VIPs, so only certain emails will trigger an alert. Google offers a similar person-specific notification feature in its latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system.

Battery Life Is Too Short

Charging is the party pooper of every mobile gadget. Yet phone-makers keep designing them thinner, hurting—or at least not improving—battery performance.

Until wireless charging becomes common (or scientists perfect some alternative power technology), here’s the solution: Make fatter phones. We won’t mind a few extra millimeters if they could extend the life of a phone by a few hours. We don’t need phones thin enough to slice cheese. We’re already shoving the slenderest models into unsightly battery cases, or at least lugging power packs around.

Updates Bog Down Old iPhones

Hooray, new iPhone software! Oh wait, you may not want to install that.

New versions of iOS have brought security updates and needed capabilities to older iPhones and iPads. But both iOS 7 and iOS 8 came out initially in versions that weren’t tuned well to older phones, and caused owners to report slowed performance, overstuffed storage and shorter battery life.

Waiting for Android Updates

The problem with Google’s Android is just the opposite: Many Android phones never even get the latest version of Android. And if they do, it can take months. Right now only 3.3% of devices run the latest version, Lollipop, released nearly six months ago.

Privacy as a Luxury

The valuable information in our searches, email and even location is the real price we pay to use Google, Facebook and other vital services. Too many technology companies have made this privacy trade-off the core of their business models.

Printers Are Still Terrible

Paper jams. Overpriced ink. Flaky wireless printing. The only thing you can really count on a printer to do? Break after a year or two.

Die, Passwords, Die

Passwords are hard to remember, and not always effective at keeping things safe. To use them adequately, passwords need to be complicated. Password manager programs can help, but they feel like a stopgap measure.

Now that we have fingerprint sensors and cameras that ID our faces and irises, why are we still punching in strings of text into laptops? Our computers should be smart enough to know who we are by now. This technology exists. It needs to be integrated widely.

App Addiction

Mobile tech is like a drug. It offers too many apps designed to get us hooked on their stream of distractions.

There’s a phenomenon called Phantom Cellphone Syndrome, where people imagine their phones are vibrating. Many apps make money selling our “engagement” to marketers. They’re incentivized to invent reasons for us to keep checking in, rather than design efficient services.

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