Avoid the Android vampire apps

Avoid the Android vampire apps

Summary: Some Android applications will drain your smartphone or tablet of battery life, storage or bandwidth like a blood-sucking fiend. Here's what's what with the worst of the worst.

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Ever wonder why your Android smartphone battery has the lifespan of a mayfly? Why your internal storage gets filled up in a week? Or, worst of all, why your cell phone plan bill just broke four figures? According to anti-virus vendor AVG's Android study, it's probably your apps.

AndroidApps

As AVG's CTO Yuval Ben-Itzhak explained, "Apps are what make a phone, but they’re also what break it: Often times they reduce more battery life, consume more storage and use up more of your mobile data plan than they should."

To work out which vampire apps are really sucking the life out of your smartphone or tablet, AVG performed a study, based on anonymous statistics gathered from over 1 million AVG mobile users, to reveal the top performance-draining apps.

Some of these apps are blameless. I mean, if you're going to watch a movie on your Nexus 7 tablet with Netflix you have to expect that you're going to use up much of your bandwidth allowance. Others, however, are real resource leeches and should be avoided.

For this study, AVG looked at apps with more than a million downloads. So, you're not going to find any obscure programs here. Their numbers were based on real usage data and not what the app developers might have you to believe. Finally, AVG did not look at core Android applications. 

Android Battery Drainers

When it comes to battery life, Samsung has a lot to answer for. While Samsung makes great hardware — such as the Galaxy S5 smartphone and the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 tablet — when it come to software the Korean company still has more work to do. No fewer than five of the top 10 battery drainers come from Samsung.

As for the others, I just recommend that you avoid them. Yes, even the wildly popular Candy Crush Saga. It may be "sweet" to play, but it's murder to your battery.

Android Storage Killers

Would it surprise you to know that all ten of the storage killers are games? I didn't think so. In particular, EA Mobile games will happily take up all the room you can give them.

No matter who makes the game, the longer you play them, the more room they'll take up. So, if your device is starting to tell you that you're running out of storage, look to uninstalling some games to gain more space.

Android Network Hogs

As I said earlier, no one should be surprised to see Netflix at the top of this list. But why is the funny photo and video program theCHIVE on the list? And what the heck is the AT&T Smart Wi-Fi utility doing here when its job is to "find and connect you to public Wi-Fi hotspots"?

When you want to stream a movie or music with Spotify, you have to expect to use a lot of your precious bandwidth; but for many of these other apps, they're just no excuses.

Maybe you have a battery that will last all day and night; maybe you have enough storage to keep every episode of Monty Python on your phone, and unlimited 4G bandwidth. But, if you're like most of us, I think you should look carefully at your apps list and put a stake through the heart of any unnecessary resource-draining apps.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Linux, Smartphones, Software, Tablets

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18 comments
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  • OS should handle that

    Proper resource management at the OS level really should handle that.
    Buster Friendly
    • the OS manages RAM

      no OS on earth, as far as I'm aware, manages battery. the OS does have lists of apps by battery and data use in settings though.
      theoilman
      • Absolutely

        The user manages their software. How rediculous would it be if you opened netflix or a full online hd game and the OS said 'nope, sorry, you may only use a browser'

        The problem with this study is that we know that these games and netflix will use a lot of power, and by and large we account for it.

        The problem lies with the data collecting apps - facebook etc. that will track data and update regularly in the background. In reality what YOU do is minimal, but what the APP does takes up quite a bit of power.

        I've noticed this on IOS too with every one of the google apps. Even just the standard google search app will jam on location services and background app tefresh, destroying battery life unless you actually close the app. Of course you can turn those settings off, but a lot of people don't know this. These apps do everything they can to collect data and serve apps and your phone suffers for it.

        We could blame them, but all they are guilty of is bad customer service, in reality it is up to us to manage our phones
        MarknWill
        • Many apps are like zombies....

          you can kill them but they come back again. The only way to stop them from running in the background is to uninstall or disable them altogether.
          Spaztic888
    • By "that", do you mean battery, RAM, bandwidth, storage, or all?

      Doesn't really matter though, because the OS' job is to provide resources requested by apps.
      So if an app is constantly request access to network and/or screen, it's the OS's job to give it what it asks for.
      Same goes for storage and RAM. No OS I know of says to a app: "You have used 20Mb of disk, and you can't have any more".

      Admin settings can control things like that, but admins are generally humans.

      What OS are you refering to that apparently refuses to give apps or programs requested resources, by default?
      anothercanuck
  • The MagicApp initially could not be turned off

    and was a terrible battery hog, but the most recent version can be turned on and off as needed. Works very well for wifi voice calls to landlines, just as well as Skype but free (though it displays a Florida phone number.) No need to suscribe to Magic Jack or provide personal id to use it.
    I2k4
  • ouch Samsung

    not too surprised- my battery life got way better after flashing CM.
    theoilman
    • I look at the battery usage on my Samsung Note 3

      And none of those top 10 battery drainers are even in my first page.
      Top of the list of apps that drains battery even when I don't use it: NY Times app.
      Had to disable app completely to stop it chewing battery and data.
      warboat
  • no surprise, these are time-wasters

    Not a surprise most of these are also time-wasters. Background streaming music is not in the category, but does consume a lot of bandwidth and storage. AT&T Smart WiFi is meant to be useful, but has a lot of problems. See the poor ratings at

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.att.android.attsmartwifi&hl=en

    and

    http://forums.att.com/t5/Android/AT-amp-T-Smart-WiFi-may-end-up-costing-you-plenty/td-p/3334101
    drpjfitz
    • time wasters

      Hmm, I reckon the number 1 battery wasting app on the planet has to be Clash of Clan ;p
      warboat
  • How about RAM Vampire Apps?

    How about a list of the Apps that hog the most RAM?
    alan_mead
    • There are many varieties of vampires associated with Android

      The two big ones:

      o CPU feeders - apps that want your CPU such as innocuous-looking apps that hide cryptocurrency (e.g., Bitcoin) mining
      o Data feeders - apps (including Google services) that want your data (doesn't Facebook have apps in Google Play?)

      Just like in the movies, when it's all over, the user and his (or her) device are husks.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • this article is useless

    It doesn't measure how much battery or data is abused by apps when you are NOT using it.
    So it tells us that apps use up battery and data when we use it. Oh Really?
    Doesn't take a genius to figure that out.
    warboat
  • One more

    2048 is a huge battery drain.
    TheMimic12
  • greenify will handle that

    If you're savvy enough, rooting and greenifying the app could solve those memory and data problems.
    blackweaver
  • Samsuck is garbage

    More proof that everything Samsuck makes is garbage.
    DarthRidiculous
  • Rooting + Rom Toolbox Pro

    Now, one of the things that's always irked me about Android is how apps will start when they feel like it, even if you haven't launched them. Whatsapp being a service? Makes sense, because it needs to receive messages. Rhapsody? Not so much.

    Rom Toolbox helps in this respect by allowing users to disable the 'receivers' that trigger applications to auto-start. it's not necessarily a cure-all, but the auto start manager does help in this respect.

    It also has the ability to 'freeze' apps so they aren't completely uninstalled, but they're not able to run at all. This too is a great help. It takes a little practice to avoid getting into hot water, but I have significantly less RAM usage, and significantly fewer obnoxious spam notifications.

    Honestly, between this functionality and Xprivacy, I can't imagine having an Android phone and *not* rooting.

    Joey
    voyager529
  • Can't move storage wasters

    And thanks to Google making EVERY effort to render the SD card useless (if you even *have* one, which Google seems intent on eliminating), it's become near impossible to move those storage-hogs *off* your internal storage. Or if you're dealing with some P.o.S. like the Nabi2, you *already* can't free up the already anemic internal storage (and the device becomes useless in less than 2 months).
    jelabarre