Xender

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What it does: Xender is a file sharing application
Offenses:
  • Intrusive ads
  • Privacy concern

Xender’s core concept is a really neat idea, it essentially makes file transfers between phones really easy. However, this concept is completely ruined by their business model. Before you even get into the app it asks you to enable a feature that price checks products, which is not what I downloaded the app for. After that it scanned every single app on my phone, which also left me very uncomfortable. The main screen is basically a huge banner ad with some info tucked away and this is one of the apps reported for lockscreen ads. If all that wasn’t enough it also has a section that is literally just ads and a Bollywood music downloading service(?). Why anyone would want all this on a file sharing app is beyond me

Alternatives: Send Anywhere,NFC, Bluetooth, Dropbox, Google Drive, most messaging apps.

 

UC Browser

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What it does: UC Browser is a web browser.
Offenses:
  • Intrusive ads
  • Questionable permissions
  • Privacy concern

As soon as I installed UC Browser it asked for permission to manage my phone calls. I don’t know why a browser needs that, but I’m not going to try and find out why. The next thing it did, and mind you, this is before I even opened a single web page, it sent a notification about some topless model. If that was not enough last year many users reported that UC was displaying ads on their lockscreen. This is truly unacceptable behavior for any application and it’s actually quite amazing how it manages to stay on the top downloaded apps and have so many users vouch for it on the reviews. Then again, this has also been the most requested app which means not all users have a high tolerance for intrusive apps.

Alternatives: Brave, Lighting Browser, Firefox Focus, Opera

 

I’d like to thank everyone that recommended I feature this app

 

CM Launcher 3D – HD Theme & Live Wallpaper

What it does: CM Launcher 3D is a launcher replacement for your homescreen

Offenses:

  • Naughty devs
  • Privacy concern
  • Questionable permissions

Cheetah Mobile is known to be a shady developer that really likes to collect user data, and this app is no different. A launcher app usually has many permissions, but it shouldn’t need to read your SMS or your contacts. To top it off, the app is full of gimmicks and unnecessary additions like a security and RAM cleaning suite. The app is a bloated mess that is sure to slow down your phone.

Alternatives: Nova Launcher, Smart Launcher

Z Camera – Photo Editor

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What it does: Z camera is an image editing app

Offenses:

  • Intrusive ads
  • Naughty Dev

Z camera, previously owned by Zero Team which was bought by GOMO is an image editing app that shows ads on your lock screen. In fact, all of the apps by Zero Team did that including their launcher but they have since been acquired by GOMO which is a proud listee on our Naughty Devs page. Definitely an app to avoid.

Alternatives: Snapseed, Adobe Photoshop Express

 

Power Clean – Optimize Cleaner

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What it does: Power cleaner is a RAM and cache cleaner
Offenses:
  • Snake Oil

We have already talked about RAM cleaners and how they do absolutely nothing for your phone on the apps guide section of our site, but that hasn’t stopped LIONMOBI from releasing a useless app which mainly serves as a vehicle to serve ads. As far as permissions go this app isn’t one of the worse ones out there, but it still deserves a mention because it’s the 74th app on the playstore top apps section.

Alternatives: SD Maid, CCleaner

 

Virus Cleaner ( Hi Security ) – Antivirus, Booster

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What it does: Virus cleaner is an antivirus, RAM cleaner and app locker
Offenses:
  • Naughty Dev
  • Snake Oil

Virus cleaner is the holy grail of snake oil apps. This is a company with no background in viruses so no one knows updated their database is. They claim to have “Double Engine Antivirus” but never explain what it is.  They claim to be powered by McAfee, which in itself is another huge red flag. The app is also a “RAM cleaner” which we already discussed in our apps guide. For some reason it also boasts “Wi-Fi” security, which is a real feature that some apps outside the Play Store offer because it breaks googles Terms of Service, however in this app its totally fake

Alternatives: AVG Antivirus, Antivirus & Security by Avast

The author would like to remind its readers that if you’re not downloading apps from shady sources outside the play store the probability of having a virus is almost non existent. Most people have no need for an antivirus on their android phone.

Messenger

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What it does: Messenger claims to join various messaging apps in a single app
Offenses:
  • Snake Oil
  • Naughty Dev

Right now Messenger is the 24th app on the Top Apps list where I live. Messenger (by FORBIS s.r.o.) gets all its downloads by pretending to be the Facebook app of the same name and fooling people that don’t look at the name of the developer. All this app does is launch other chat applications and show you copious amounts of ads while it does it’s “job”.  In fact, most of the apps made by this developer employ the same tactic but to other categories, that’s why it has earned an entry on our Naughty Devs page.

Alternatives: Snowball and Disa

If you downloaded this app you’re probably looking for Messenger by Facebook

Photo Editor – Photo Effects & Filter & Sticker

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What it does: Photo Editor is an image manipulator that allows you to add stickers and effects to your images
Offenses:
  • Privacy Concern
  • Questionable Permissions

With so many photo editors on android why is Photo Editor the most downloaded one? Who knows, but it is a privacy nightmare with awful permissions. An image editor should never ask for permissions to read your device history, sms, contacts and connection information, who knows what the devs are doing with all this information on its users.

 

Truecaller: Caller ID & Dialer

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What it does: Truecaller identifies unknown numbers and blocks spam calls.
Offenses:
  • Privacy concern

You should always be careful when you install apps that can read your contacts, and Truecaller is probably the best example of a bad app. As soon as you install it True Caller uploads your entire contact list somewhere, this is how they are able to identify numbers. If that wasn’t enough, ironically, people are reporting that they are getting more spam calls after installing Truecaller, which leads us to believe that it sells your data. If you have installed this app and want to try to remove your number from their lists I suggest you visit this page

Alternatives: No safe alternatives known to the writer

GO Weather Forecast & Widgets

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What it does: Go Weather provides weather forecasts
Offenses:
  • Naughty Devs
  • Intrusive ads
  • Questionable permissions

While it is a pretty app,  GO weather is an ad filled mess that should be kept away from your phone. Besides the ads, the app asks for too many permissions, a weather app shouldn’t need more than location wifi and may media permissions, asking for device & app history is too much. If you add to that list that it is made by GOMO then you have the perfect example of an app that you wouldn’t want to touch with a 10 meter pole.

Alternatives: Weather Timeline, AccuWeather, Yahoo Weather