How Do You Handle It When a Favorite App or Service Is Discontinued?

Sometimes we can become quite dependent on our everyday apps and services that help us with productivity or even help us enjoy our downtime. These apps and services just seem to make everything go swimmingly. But what happens when the developers decide to pull them and they disappear? How do you handle it when a favorite app or service is discontinued?

Ryan explains that with so many competitive apps/services that are available, he feels it would be “incredibly rare if I didn’t jump ship to a better app/service before the initial app/service was shut down.” He uses MySpace as an example, noting that everyone he knew had already migrated to Facebook before MySpace was even completely dead.

He can’t even think of a particular app or service that he used but was forced to stop using because it was discontinued. “If an app/service is shut down, chances are it’s due to the fact that someone else is doing it better.”

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Damien agrees with Ryan that with millions of apps out there, “you are sure to find several other apps that are better or have the exact same functionality as the existing one.” His only concern is how to migrate data from one app to the next, and that’s why he only uses apps that have a central syncing option.

For Ada it depends on the app/service, as not all are easily replaceable. When her first mail provider discontinued the service, she spent days looking for an alternative. The worst part about switching providers for her was notifying everyone of her email change. “It was a painful experience, and I lost data in the process.”

Alex says “sometimes you find an app that just works perfectly for you, providing exactly the features you need.” While he doesn’t use many apps that are in danger of being discontinued, he worries regularly about the essential apps that are on the edge. He points out it’s especially true for open-source projects that can be quickly abandoned or server-side functionality for apps that end up being less popular than originally expected.

“No app or service is permanent in the digital world, and you must always be ready to abandon ship when forced.” It creates a somewhat “ultra low-grade loss anxiety” for him whenever he thinks about it.

Phil lays out the steps of his tongue-in-cheek process:

  1. Freak out. Spend the day shouting at nobody in particular.
  2. Silent anguish. Augh. Maybe I should have been a better customer.
  3. 1000-word rage on Facebook and start petitions.
  4. Post on Facebook how it’s pointless, and in fact, what’s the point of anything? Post pictures of black voids with a single emoji in the center.
  5. Wake up one day and, huh, realize you don’t miss it.
  6. Start brainstorming other options; try out some likely candidates.
  7. Find a new service that not only replaces the one I lost, but as it turns out is better. Move forward into a bright future.

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Miguel just looks for alternatives, codes his own way out of the problem, or just finds a way to live with the features he had. A real-life example centers on a financial management app he used for years. He just kept the APK and continued using it, stubbornly, despite it no longer being supported. “If a better one appears, I will use it.”

Fabio says that “after just sitting there in shock that my favorite app will soon be gone,” he tries to find the best alternative, if there is any.

Andrew is another who agrees with Ryan. He can’t really remember the last time an app he was actively using shut down and forced him into an alternative. Some apps have started charging fees or something similar, which leads him to look for an alternative and try to port his data over. Mostly, though, “I’ll jump ship if an app/service starts going downhill.”

The reason we’re even talking about this topic this week is because Google has decided to kill off Inbox, and I’m quite distraught. I have searched for hours and can’t find anything I like as much to do the things I like to do with email, despite how many email apps there are. The same thing happens with my writing apps. I’m very particular, so it’s hard to find one that does everything I need, despite the fact that everyone and their brother seems to have developed one.

I guess when all is said and done, I follow Phil’s plan. Which is a shame, as I actually love trying out new apps and switching things up, just for a change of pace if nothing else. But when I HAVE to switch and can’t find anything I like, I got into a state of mourning.

Do you feel like many of our writers that there are so many available apps that you are always bound to find one that will suffice? Or do you go into a panic knowing you won’t ever find an app as special as that again? How do you handle it when a favorite app or service is discontinued? Let us know how you deal with it in the comments section.

2 comments

  1. I have found some programs and apps that have been discontinued. Some of which I really like or feel that there is not a better program (or I have not yet found a better one). Therefore, I backup all of my “essential” programs and Android apps. That way I then can still use a program until some OS update renders it useless, and/or an alternative can be found.

    So far only one service has stopped that I often used where I could not find and equivalent alternative. It was a company’s online service accessed when the program from that same company was converting from a PDF to Word document. That large, almost to the point of a monopoly, OCR company basically was forcing old users to buy their new program to use essentially the same service, but with a different conversion site link online. Okay, I have found a reliable alternative for that program/service, but I’d have to pay again (to the same company).

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