Avoid the Android vampire apps

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.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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.


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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