The iOS app updates people hate most

Business apps are all about productivity -- unless they don't work, as is the case with these top-loathed recent updates

"I wish there were words to express how much I absolutely HATE this app." – iTunes App Store reviewer.

iOS app buyers are expressive, especially when they're angry. We looked at the top 100 iPhone and iPad apps in the Business category, free or paid, that were last updated in September or October 2013 to find the ones users hate -- where the total of one/two star ratings surpassed four/five star ratings. Caveats: We used AppStore information from Nov. 1-6, there are relatively few users for many recent updates, and rating profiles could change as more people try out an app. But for now, here are the bad, the ugly, and the craptastic.

Virtual-browser for Firefox with Flash & Java Player and Add-ons - Secure VPN Edition for iPhone

What it does: Connects you to a cloud-hosted virtual service running the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Many are underwhelmed. "I want my money back on this one," says Haslman1.

Good luck with that.

"Don't waste your money," says Expert Judge. "Hopelessly slow browsing, so jerky it is virtually unusable. You have to buy the 'Premium' edition within minutes of using the 'Trial' version at a truly price-gouging cost."

Kyle Mcg wondered, "How can u even sell this? Horribly slow even on my iPad 4. It takes 2 seconds just to open up a menu."

"So angry that I spend almost $5 on this piece of crap!" fulminated Silverstar38.

Documents to go

What it does: Allows users to view, edit, and create Microsoft Office files on iOS device.

"I am in the newest update of this app," says Keen Deen. "IT STILL CRASHES EVERY TIME I TRY TO TYPE IN CHINESE AND IT STILL DOESN’T WORK PROPERLY WITH A BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD."

"I haven’t found any way of creating a PowerPoint on my iPad or iPhone," AyalaC says.

"The highlighting function does unexpected things so I keep saving my file between changes," says Rather2.

Darealpat misses the "extremely useful" scroll bar in the prior version: "It’s gone, and finger swiping to scroll through 35-50 pages isn't fun."

PocketCloud Remote Desktop Pro

What it does: Like a pack of similar apps, PocketCloud lets iPad and iPhone remotely connect to your Mac or Windows computer with its files, photos, applications.

"After the last update, the screen refreshes extremely slow ... the mouse clicks need to be held down to register, and the app just randomly hangs when controlling a computer," complains jwmartin5.

Kadme Starstrider warns, "If it's working do not update! They break it with updates."

NotAHappyOwner was happy with the prior version on iOS 7. "Then Wyse updated the app with 'fixes' for iOS 7 and it's now all but unusable."

"I've left message on their forum and Emailed Wyse support directly, but they do not even reply." Nni3200's stark headline: "Disaster."

Mail+ for Outlook

What it does: Lets you read/write Outlook emails and manage your calendar in any iOS device, without a web browser.

Lots of early users are holding onto that browser. "When it finally refreshes it doesn't allow emails to open ... I could really use this app if it WORKED," says Dleeds24.

Another downloaded it to a new iPhone 5S. "It just comes up, flashes and blinks the screen briefly and crashes into background mode," says Prince1099. "What incompetence displayed here."

Ghjkl56 asserted the app is "a ripoff of epic proportions. Apple should be ashamed of themselves for peddling this. Worst app I have paid for in two years."

Avocado Scanner Deluxe

What it does: Scans documents from your iPhone and iPad.

One reviewer gave it five stars and thanked the vendor. A voice crying in the wilderness. Based on four other reviews, the new version does indeed scan documents. But it doesn't actually save them.

The other two agreed. One delivered the kiss of death: "can't seem to rely on it from one day to the next." Perhaps worst of all: it still embraces the dreaded skeumorphism of the pre-iOS7 era.

Mail for Outlook

What it does: Lets you view, send, write emails via Outlook Web Access. "Works perfectly with iOS 7."

Not quite. Of nine reviewers of the current version, eight give it 1 star; the remaining one gives it 2 stars. "Waste of money," snarls Courtcoll. "Does not work."

Kayemilewski was even harsher: "Crap. Doesn't work to any extent wasted 3 [dollars] on this app and the one on my computer."

Benmurphynyc said it did work ... kind of: "Connects but inbox disappears." Oh.

iRecorder Pro

What it does: It's a recording app for iPhone and iPad -- "Customers LOVE iRecorder, you will TOO!"

Not much love here. "Recordings have lots of dead air that needs to be cut out," says Ability to TRIM.

Jostertreeu posted that the app "used to work but with the new OS ... this suks now."

Incensed agreed: "It worked fine with iOS 6, and now it's crashing when I end recording and I am losing entire hours worth of lectures."

Logo Maker and Graphics

What it does: The "easy and fun way to create graphics, logos, video overlays, watermarks, Facebook and blog images!"

Easy and fun, if it works: eight of 11 users said it doesn't. "I bought this app for $3.99 and hasn't opened once," said HelloKittySue. "Crashes very single time." It's a litany: "doesn't open."

As one user summed it up: "no running." None of them were laughing.

Citrix Receiver

What it does: Requires Citrix server software, so you can access enterprise files, applications, and desktops.

The new version "appears to break with any but the very latest versions of Citrix servers," warns Silvermac59.

Others reported it no longer works with iOS 7. "Still not working!! I've uninstalled and reinstalled the app many times, always with the same result," said JDGunn.

One user implored: "Please be prompt and update this app as it should be. Thanks.”

PayPal Here for iPad

What it does: Plug the free card reader into your iDevice and accept credit cards anywhere.

Desperation rules these users. Business_owner tried a hard reboot on his iPad: "No change ... I rely on this app for my business!"

Eyeheartmozart, who updated to get the printing fixes, found it’s “still not printing the modifiers. Please fix this is crucial for me ..."

Others objected to, for the first time, being asked to enter their Social Security number. "I'm not giving you my SSN," one said. "Forget it."

Jon Sciolino calling it a "prime example of corporate greed."

Forbes Magazine

What it does: "Your doorway into the ultimate Forbes experience. ... Download the app now to start profiting from -- and adding your voice to -- stories about the entrepreneurs and executives who are changing the world."

Unless you can't actually read the stories. Don't expect much help from customer support: "I have emailed 6 times and I get the same automated form letter giving the FAQ," says one user, who was cut off from their subscription after restoring iPad settings.

Another accused Forbes of "chicanery" for later charging for a digital subscription for the iPad app.

Square Register

What it does: Another plug-in free card reader and app to accept credit cards and "run your business anywhere."

Unless you're relying on the new version, according to over half of the reviewers. "Not ready for Primtime," declares Liam H. "Buggy. Crashes frequently. Simple swipes take practice and luck ..." Others can't select or attach photos.

"Terrible since iOS 7," says another. "Glitchy ... horrible," says StacyM5858. "It takes about 30 swipes to actually read any cards."

AirWatch MDM Agent

What it does: An agent that runs on your iDevice and talks to the AirWatch device management server run by the IT group.

A majority of latest-version users give it just one star. "Thought you had a battery installed?" asks WhatBattery.

"Nope, you don't. Because AirWatch drains it." ... Htreports that "messages from airwatch wanting to install an update cause the alarm not to function correctly ..."

Harvard Business Review

What it does: Allows you to access your magazine subscription but also gives "free access to live feeds from HBR's popular blog network ... And ... you can browse our bookstore ..."

If HBR were a business, they'd go bankrupt on this app. "Awful application," says Russell_W, because it "crashes frequently, uses 500MB per edition ..." "The app is pretty much useless," says Blessed for Sure.

"Most of the time it's waiting for something -- minutes, not seconds -- or just frozen," says another. "Absolute disaster."

Salesforce Touch

What it does: "Instantly access your Salesforce applications like sales, service, and custom apps; update deals and customer information in real-time."

The only problem: Users can't log in. One says the app "won't even open on iPhone 5s."

Another gave up: "Back to using the website which at least has no Flash so is fully functional from an iPad."

Even one who found the app works noted that it "has no advantage over going to the web site on my iPad."

Good for Enterprise

What it does: Lets employees access corporate email, calendar, Intranets, documents,  enterprise app catalog; gives IT groups device and application management features.

So far, not a winner. "Won't work with the [iOS] 7 upgrade," says one.

"I wish there were words to express how much I absolutely HATE this app," says mikesalz.

One user said the app apparently was still draining his battery even though he couldn't run it. "This app is very slow when simply trying to check email," says Jeff Cavender, adding the new version causes his iPhone to last "about 1-2 hours with minimal use."

"Total corporate crap," railed rail00. "Absolutely awful interface ..."

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.