Friday, February 5, 2016

The world's most-used Android app may surprise you

You'd expect to see apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp on top of the most used lists for Android, but this isn't the case. According to app analytics tracking firm Drawbridge, the most used app of Q4 2015 was Clean Master by Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese mobile internet company. Clean Master is an app management platform that promises to "improve your device's performance by cleaning junk files, optimizing device memory, providing complete protections against viruses and managing the apps you installed."

The company targets their app directly at the low level of tech know-how of the average consumer. Plain and simple, most users just want their device to perform fast! Without understanding what the application really does, they see a promising illusion of a 'speedier and cleaner' device. It's hard to blame consumers when the appeal is so great and the marketing and design is done exceptionally well.

Apps like Clean Master may have once been useful but Android has progressed far enough that they are now obsolete, unnecessary, and can be harmful. The Android operating system has it's own native handler for assigning RAM to apps and making sure that all of it is being used in the most optimal way. In fact, Android purposely tries to keep apps loaded into RAM for better performance. Remember, RAM is fast, so on mobile devices every bit of speed is crucial for a good user experience. Therefore, keeping apps in RAM is actually a good thing!

Not only does Android handle RAM assignment, but it also keeps track of background apps, automatically closing or hibernating them so that there isn't a noticeable performance hit for leaving apps loaded in RAM.
App killers, memory boosters, performance enhancers and the like, all claim that freeing up your memory will speed up your device. With current versions of Android, this simply isn't true and actually does quite the opposite. Task killer apps kill other apps which use resources to process. When the operating system restarts those tasks, or other apps to fill the memory again, this takes even more resources. The task killer app kills again and the process repeats itself continuously. Essentially, these apps reduce performance and decrease battery life by restarting apps again and again. It's important to understand that dormant apps on your device don't consume any additional resources (for example, CPU time and battery life) in the first place. Additionally, apps like Clean Master barrage your device with unnecessary notifications, like how a certain app is stealing x-amount of RAM and how another app is violating privacy (without any proof), which often hurt productivity and can be quite distracting and annoying for the user.

Beware of apps that claim to instantly 'breathe new life' into your device. Android's RAM and cache management systems are rock solid. Because these task killer apps clear out even the essential processes of the operating system, restarting them is a big drain on system resources. Whatever speed increase the user feels is purely imaginary which makes this probably the best example of a placebo effect in the Android world. Be sure to check out the Lifehacker article to learn more about task killer apps and alternative ways to increase the performance of your device. For expert advice on technology and Google related assistance, be sure to contact our InterlockIT support team!

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