As of March 2017, Google Play Store has over 2.8 million apps in its library. There are many different kinds of apps that users can choose to install on their smartphone. Whether you want to spend playing your favorite game, browse the social media, stream a movie or just a local sports game. There is literally an app for everything. But not all of these apps are safe for you to use.
Google’s automated system is getting better at filtering unsafe apps and with features like Google Play Protect it is becoming even better. But there are some apps that can still be a threat to your privacy or just are harmful/useless for your smartphone. These apps (mostly) don’t break any rules of Google Play store or somehow able to pass those rules.
Below, I have listed some apps (or types of apps) that you should uninstall immediately to keep your data and your Android device safe.
Xender is a very popular android app that has over a hundred million installs. It allows you to share files using a WiFi connection without the need of an internet connection. While the concept of this app is really great, their business model has completely ruined it. The second you install this app you’ll get a prompt to prompt to allow the app to modify system settings which is completely unnecessary and you can’t use the app without allowing it. After that, it asks to enable a feature that checks the price of products (Why?).
Also, there are ads everywhere in this app. There is a section to download music, there is an ad on the main screen and a section full of ads. The app asking permission to modify system settings is enough to know that this app can do more than just send and receive files.
Alternate File Sharing App
Send Anywhere: I have listed this app in this year’s must have apps list. It allows you to share files using WiFi but it does not have any annoying features like Xender and does not ask for any unrelated permission.
A very old web browser which has accumulated over 100M downloads. I used to use UC Browser on my Nokia 5233, a Symbian OS based phone. It was introduced as a light weight browser which some great features like powerful file downloader and support for extensions like ad-blocker. While it still has all those good features, it is now filled with bloatware and ads.
Once a great browser, now full of bloatware and ads.
At the first launch, the app asks permission to manage phone calls which is not something a web browser needs to work. The home page of this browser is filled with ads disguised as top news. You will also occasionally receive ads as notification and the app also takes over your lock screen and fills it with bloatware (see screenshot). There are also some reports of this app sharing your personal data with third-party which it accumulates using the storage permission.
Alternate Web Browsers:
Any kind of RAM and Space Cleaner
RAM cleaners were useful in the early days of Android when the software was not able to manage resources efficiently. The recent version of Android (KitKat and above) manage resources so efficiently that you don’t need these apps now. On top of that, these apps are always running in the background using RAM and CPU which makes your phone slower than usual.
Space cleaners (mostly a bundled feature of RAM cleaners) do the same thing. They delete cache files of apps to free up internal memory. But the data that is removed is used by apps to load faster. When the data is deleted, the apps have to create a new file which means the apps loads slowly and uses more battery power.
Also, I should mention the most of these types of apps have intrusive ads giving you offers to make your phone faster or increase battery life.
The most popular android apps in this category are Clean Master (com.cleanmaster.mguard), DU SpeedBooster (com.dianxinos.dxbs) and 360 Security (com.qihoo.security).
Truecaller & similar apps
Similar Apps: Apps that go with names like True caller, Caller ID and blocker, Mobile number tracker, Showcaller etc.
I admit that Truecaller is a useful app. It lets you block spam calls and identify unknown numbers. But you should always be careful of the apps that read your contacts and Truecaller is an app that you should not trust. Truecaller’s database is created by its users. The app uploads all your contacts on their server which can be accessed by anyone which is a major privacy concern.
Also, many people have reported that they get more spam calls after installing Truecaller. Which leads us to believe that the company sells your data.
Apps similar to Truecaller have the same business model as them. So, I won’t suggest any alternate app for this. Also, you can try to remove your details from their database by visiting this page.
ES File Explorer
Like most apps, ES File Explorer was a very useful app when it was first released. But now it is filled with ads, useless features and bloatware.
The app sends you notification that contains ads, there is a RAM cleaner built into the app and it also takes over you lock screen to increase charging speed by showing you ads (I don’t know how that works).
Alternate File Explorer
Solid Explorer is the app that I use to manage files. It is the number one app in my must have apps list and has all the features that a file explorer should have. It doesn’t come with any ads or bloatware.
No, I am not talking about Facebook Messenger even though that app should be on this list because it drains the battery by constantly running in the background. Messenger (sk.forbis.messenger) is an app that disguises itself as Facebook messenger. It’s logo look almost like Facebook Messenger’s logo and the app does nothing.
It just allows you to open other messenger apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter etc. The app has over 10 million downloads mainly because people downloaded it thinking that it’s FB Messenger. Also, the app shows you a lot of ads.
This list will be updated frequently with more questionable apps that you should not install. Help me make this list better by letting me and other readers know about more of these apps in the comments section below.