Deleting the Facebook App Will Double Your Phone’s Battery Life

We’ve covered how Instagram is seriously damaging to mental health, but another self-study revealed that Facebook‘s mobile app is the most draining of your smartphone battery life. This observation came to light after Inc. journalist John Koetsier decided to delete Facebook from his phone after seeing that the social media app accounted for almost 50 percent of his device’s daily juice. Upon deletion, his phone’s battery doubled in lifespan.

While this may not come as a surprise to many, it’s the app’s specific functions that make Facebook battery use more demanding. SRAX executive ad tech developer Aaron Hetler says that Facebook’s wide range of features is what causes it to kill your phone battery, even by just opening the app. Facebook’s wide range of features such as device location, notifications, live videos, contacts, etc has contributed to the app’s 10-fold increase in megabytes over the past few versions. Some suggest that disabling the “Background App Refresh” function after quitting the app can extend battery life, but as long as Facebook is tracking your device’s location, it will continue to eat away at power.

This App Uses Video Games to Make Exercising Fun

Most workouts are boring. Unless you’re a fitness freak, then chances are it’s a constant struggle to keep yourself motivated.

New apps have made exercising more effective, but few have made it more enjoyable. That could change, however, with the introduction of Stealth, an app and core trainer that promises to make planking fun.

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Planking is arguably the toughest workout, so that’s a big statement to make. Stealth’s secret is distraction — you play video games while planking, using your body as a joystick. It actually gives you a better workout too as the game encourages you to twist and tilt to get points, activating more key muscle groups.

Last year, Stealth raised over $400,000 via crowdfunding so people are obviously into the idea.

This Creepy App Lets You Take Selfies With Dead Relatives

File this under: Creepy Tech. South Korean company Elrois Inc. is developing a new app that lets users 3-D scan their relatives and turn them into virtual avatars so they can talk and take selfies with them when they’re away — or dead.

“With Me”, showcased this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, uses 3-D photo-realistic technology and artificial intelligence to help recreate the image and persona of a relative, friend, or even a celebrity. Users can have conversations with the avatars and tell them things such as “I love you,” and the avatar can reply with, “I love you, too.”

Avatars will also respond to certain face expressions when taking selfies and recognize emotional change. If you were to pucker up, the avatar will turn to the side and pretend to kiss you. If you were to open your mouth in disbelief, the avatar would do the same.

“Users put personal information when starting this app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognizes if there’s some change in appearance and emotion, and mentions it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?’” Eunjin Lim, spokesperson for Elrois Inc., told Vocativ.

“With Me” is clearly morbid since it’s aim is to use a dead person as a form of entertainment, but it could also potentially help people cope with depression or anxiety when they go long periods of time (perhaps forever) without seeing a loved one’s familiar face.

Lim said the app can not only help for who have had loss in their family but also disabled or elderly people who have trouble moving. “We think the avatars can be the new way to overcome their wounded-heart with a good function of new technology. That also means it can be definitely be used for various healthcare fields,” he said.

The app is in its early stages and requires people to visit a 3-D scanning photo booth in order to create their avatar. Elrois hopes the app will be more accessible in the future, as phones include 3-D scanning technology.

“Some people told us that our app reminds them of ‘Black Mirror,’” Lim said. “However, when we think about the reason why we take a picture or video, I could say, people want to leave their memories by what we can see forever. Also, people do everything to remember some precious person to them, or try to move on.”

This Dating App Lets You Bond Over Things You Hate

Unlike most other dating apps where you put your best self forward and bond over shared interests, Hater’s premise is to find you matches based on mutually hated topics. Users are given 3,000 subjects to give their opinion on including slow walkers, butt selfies and sub-par tipping. Once you are matched with someone based on location and similar dislikes, the app also offers ice breaker conversation starters for both parties to answer, making that first move a little less awkward. The app, created by Brendan Alpe — a former Goldman Sachs employee turned comedian — is currently available in Beta mode for iOS with an Android version to follow soon.

The Best Apps of the Year, According to Apple

Despite the fact that the probable app/game of the year is coming out Thursday (Super Mario Run), Apple decided to release a list of its 10 favorites a bit early. Below is a list of the 10 apps Apple loved the most this year, many of which will look familiar to you if you follow our New Apps series. Start downloading.

10. Tiny Cards

9. Hyper

8. Glasses by Warby Parker

7. Credit Karma

6. Detour

5. Meditation Studio

4. Vogue

3. Quartz


1. Prisma

New App Recommends Food Based On Your Emotions

If only there was an app that could stand in for your best friend, telling you when to eat foods to boost your mood.

Good news: there is!

Scientists at Oxford University are getting ready to roll out an app that suggests foods based on your facial expressions. This “mood mapping” enables the app to recommend foods like walnuts when it senses you’re sad, or dark chocolate when you’re stressed.

Professor Charles Spence, one of the researchers behind the app, says there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that your mood has a significant impact on your taste and smell. 

It can deaden or liven the effect of both —  a reverse of this is also believed to be true, that food can have a number of affects on your mood.

Spence is the same guy who led a study that revealed how your environment affects the taste of wine back in 2014.

He’s now working with food delivery service Just Eat to launch the app, which can detect a number of emotions, including anger, sadness, joy…and even more nuanced feelings, like disgust, fear and surprise.

The app was tested this past weekend, with an official launch planned for later this year.

How Nutrition Apps Are Misguiding Users

People trying to improve their diet today are often helpless without an app, which is unfortunate, because most nutrition apps are inadequate, according to a new analysis.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an update to its dietary guidelines in early 2016, Tania Dhawan was a third-year medical student at George Washington University working to investigate the effects of diet on heart health. Dhawan discovered that no one was investigating whether smartphone apps designed to help users maintain a balanced diet were incorporating the evidence-based guidelines.

For the analysis, presented Sunday at the conference of the American Heart Association in New Orleans, Dhawan and her collaborators looked at 32 free apps from the “featured” sections in the Android and Apple app stores. To evaluate these apps, the researchers created an index based on five components such as whether they allowed users to track foods, not just calories and whether they informed users of the daily recommended limit of a particular nutrient and warned them if they were about to go over it.

Apps like Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal ranked high on the researchers’ index. Others, such as Calorie Counter by FatSecret, Foodzy, and Calorie Counter by Everyday Health, fell short. Overall, three quarters of the apps received low scores because they didn’t recommend daily amounts of food groups like dairy or carbohydrates, and 84 percent didn’t get into subgroups like leafy greens or whole grains. She also discovered that Android has a wider selection of diet apps (probably because their “featured apps” section was bigger at the time), and the Apple versions tended to have more bugs.

Overall, the choice of diet and nutrition apps alone can be overwhelming—there are 400 apps to choose from, she says. Dhawan didn’t investigate whether the paid versions of these apps are any more helpful or specific, since most people choose the apps that are easiest to acquire.

The choice of the wrong app could put a person’s whole diet out of whack. “I think there is a potential to be misleading to the consumer,” Dhawan says.

She gives the example of a person seeking to lose weight with the help of a calorie counter that didn’t track food groups. He might think that he’s doing great because he’s not going over 1,800 calories per day. “But if you’re having a lot of fried foods, an app like that doesn’t really have the means to call you out on it,” Dhawan says. The dieter may increase his sodium level and not even know it, which could elevate his risk of heart disease.

Some patients of Dhawan’s, especially older ones, tend to follow directions very closely and probably wouldn’t notice if a nutrition app was leading them towards poor health.

If a person wants to change her diet and doesn’t know much about nutrition, Dhawan suggests that simply reading the USDA nutrition guidelines are a good place to start. Having more background knowledge can help users figure out if their free nutrition apps are really helping them maintain a balanced diet. Another good choice? Seek the advice of a doctor or nutritionist.

Dhawan and her collaborators hope to publish a full study of their analysis in early 2017.

Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight by Pledging Money to a Politician You Hate

If you’re forever setting ambitious goals and then forgetting about them, an extra kick in the butt may help you stick to your plan. That’s the idea behind TrumpYourGoals, a service that will donate your money to the politician you hate most if you fail to reach your goal.

There’s a small amount of research suggesting that attaching financial consequences to goals gives them more weight, especially if failing to reach the goal results in you donating to an “anti-charity” you disagree with. And if your friends share your political leanings, putting high stakes on your goal can amplify the benefits of making your goal public. If they’re on board, too, they can help support you in your goal—whether that’s losing weight, running a certain number of miles, or anything else you decide you absolutely must achieve.

Once you decide on your goal, anti-charity, and the amount of money you’ll pledge, TrumpYourGoals asks for your credit card number. (You can also name an accountability buddy.) They’ll charge your card if the date comes and goes, unless you reply to their reminder email to declare that you’ve met your goal. In the meantime, you can hit the gym and use your pent-up rage about this election season to push yourself even harder.

Teen Creates App To Help Kids Avoid Lunchroom Rejection

For a shy kid, there are few things worse than having no one to sit with at lunch. Sit by yourself and you might as well put a target on your back to attract the bullies. Ask to sit at an occupied table and you face rejection — or worse, if that makes the bullies circle like sharks. But thanks to a new app called Sit With Us, kids on their own at lunch can find a place to sit with just the click of a button.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton from Sherman Oaks, California, knows how difficult the school lunchroom can be. When she was in the seventh grade, she ate lunch by herself every single day. “When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops,” Hampton told NPR.

Hampton is now in her junior year at a different school, and she has plenty of friends to sit with at lunch. But the memory of those lonely lunch table days has stuck with her. “I felt that if I was thriving in a new school but didn’t do anything about the people who feel like this every single day, then I’m just as bad as the people who watched me eat alone,” said Hampton.

But rather than scold kids or guilt them into sitting with people they don’t know at lunch, Hampton decided to take a positive approach to the problem. Sit With Us lets kids discretely search for a lunch table via their phones rather than deal with an awkward walk through the lunchroom. The app also allows students to act as “ambassadors,” inviting others to join them if they wish.

Hampton emphasized the need for the app to be private so that kids don’t have to feel embarrassed about eating lunch alone. “You feel like you’re labeling yourself as an outcast when you ask to join a table with someone you don’t know,” Hampton explained. “This way, it’s very private. No one else has to know. And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.”

Sit With Us is the perfect solution for new, shy or socially-awkward students who may have difficulty navigating the politics of the school cafeteria. And it’s also good for kids like Hampton, who have lots of friends now but want to reach out to others to make sure they never have to sit alone.

Yelp Will Soon Let You Skip the Line at Restaurants

Yelp and Pittsburgh-based, Nowait, have announced a partnership that will enable Yelp users to check restaurants’ wait times and “get in line” remotely. With Nowait’s network of more than 4,000 restaurants, users can see how long they would need to wait at a restaurant that does not accept reservations and allows them to place their names on the waitlist without physically being there. When the table is ready, users will receive a text message and the customer can even text back if they are running late. Whether or not they will hold the table for you is another thing. So far a specific date hasn’t been announced, but the integration will happen in the coming months.