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

Dolphin Web Browser

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What it does: Dolphin browser is an ad free web browser
Offenses:
  • Privacy Concern

On paper, Dolphin Browser is an amazing apps, it supports HTML5 and flash, has integrated ad blocking, has tabs and a bunch of other features including private browsing. However, it saves all the sites you browsed on a file on your phone. Not to mention the amount of things this browser tracks, everything you do in this app is tracked and sold to someone.

Alternatives: Brave, Lightning, Firefox Focus, Opera

 

DU Battery Saver – Battery Charger & Battery Life

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What it does: DU Battery saver claims to extend your phones battery life

Offenses:

  • Snake Oil
  • Intrusive Ads
There are many ways to extend your phone’s battery life, but this app isn’t one of them, in fact in most cases it actually decreases it. The app is plagued with ads and bombards phones with notifications and locks screen ads. It also claims it can speed up the charge rate of your phone, which is completely false, charge rate is dictated by phone hardware, the type of charger you’re using and in some cases cable quality.
Alternatives: Greenify, Amplify

ES File Explorer

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 What it does: ES File Explorer is a file manager.

Offenses

  • Intrusive Ads

If you asked any android buff 5 years ago what file explorer they’d recommend they would tell you to download ES File Explorer in a heartbeat, unfortunately the devs have since pumped the app full of bloatware and it asks you to download shady apps a few of which have questionable content. ES also started displaying ads on the locks creen without user consent.

Alternatives: MiXplorer, Solid Explorer, FX File Explorer