All of the useful apps you can download on your iPhone or Android smartphone, there are plenty more that you should avoid.
Whether they don’t work, offer information or advice that isn’t backed up by research, or can do real harm to your smartphone, these apps aren’t worth downloading even if they’re free.
Battery saving or charge your phone apps
Just about every savvy smartphone user knows that an app that claims to charge a smartphone’s battery isn’t going to work. But what about apps that purport to help you save battery life? in many cases, they’re ineffective, and can even do more harm than help.
Storage defragmenting apps
As pointed out by Android Police, defragmenting will only decrease the lifetime of your Android phone’s flash memory, and all the defragmentation apps you see in the Play Store “are going to be some sorts of scam in one way or another.” The problem with these sorts of apps isn’t just that they’re claiming to complete a task that’s pointless (and impossible to complete), but also that you’re granting the app permissions that you’ll later regret.
Disreputable antivirus apps
There are some reputable antivirus apps that may be worth the download. But there are plenty more that have bad reputations as fake antivirus apps that won’t do any favors to your phone, and may even harm it.
Third-party apps that add capabilities to a social network
If you download a third-party app to interact or to add more features with your favorite social network is that you’ll pay for an app that will later be broken by an update to the social network in question. But even worse, you can end up placing your personal information into the hands of a developer.
Apps that claim to add impossible features
Apps that claim to add X-ray capabilities, add a lie detector, translate what your pet is saying, or enable you to charge your phone by shaking it are a pretty obvious category of apps that don’t work. Apps that claim to offer you a way to make money from your phone are also a pretty great way to waste time.
Health apps without any research to back them up
Researchers and clinicians have warned that mental health apps, weight loss apps, and health apps in general are ineffective at solving users’ health problems. Despite the popularity of health and fitness apps in the iOS and Android app stores, it’s difficult to get the same level of help from an app that you’d get from a trained professional.
Smartphone-only sleep-tracking apps
Based on the number of apps in the major app stores, the smartphone-obsessed generation is just as interested in apps that can help with sleep as apps that can help improve their health. But can an app that promises to track and analyze your sleep if you place your phone under your pillow actually be effective?
Games that claim to train specific areas of the brain, apps that purport to help users maximize their potential, and games that are advertised to help improve everyday performance or delay or reduce cognitive impairment are usually unproven.
Education apps that haven’t been professionally evaluated
If you really want your child to learn something, handing over an iPad or a smartphone with a bunch of apps loaded on it may or may not be the right way to go. There are certainly educational apps that are useful and entertaining. But as to which ones are effective? You shouldn’t believe everything you read in an app’s description on the app store — especially once you know that the claims it’s making probably haven’t been checked out by a professional educator.