Let’s face facts. Some apps are just pointless. They make little noises, do little tricks, and show fun colors. However, at the end of the day, they don’t do anything useful. They lose their charm quickly like those little doo-dads you buy from that one store at the mall. Or they pretend to do something useful but it’s really just hindering your life. Here are the most useless apps for Android.
Some honorable mentions that didn’t make the list are OEM backup apps, antivirus apps, and a few other types. Generally speaking, these kinds of apps have a function, but they’re superfluous to some better option. For instance, OEM backup apps pale in comparison to the built-in backing up that Google does. Instead of antivirus apps, you could just not do things that put your phone at risk. Stuff like that. Let’s get started!
Coloring Book apps with subscriptions
Price: Free / Subscription costs vary.
Coloring book apps are starting to make a splash in the Android ecosystem. Unfortunately, some of them have some problems. Many of them, including the popular Color by Disney, want you to pay a subscription service in order to use their coloring book app. Here’s how they generally work. You get a little bit of content for free (which usually isn’t very good) and then you have to pay every month to get the good stuff. Some of them charge as much as you’d pay for Netflix or Hulu. Subscriptions on some types of apps are perfectly okay, but coloring books aren’t one of them. It’s a little strange coloring something digitally and thinking that you pay every month for it. It’s silly, honestly. We don’t recommend these.
Fartr is an app that grades your flatulence. It actually works rather well. You hit a button in the app, rip one, and the app measures the sound and gives you a score out of 100. Additionally, the app produces a snowflake-like visualization of your fart based on its pitch, volume, and length. You can even share your results with others. This app is hilariously well done for how useless of a function it provides. We wonder if the developers will do one for belching as well. If they do, they should call it Burpr.
Many Google apps
Google has some of the most useful apps on Android. They include Gmail, Google Maps, Youtube, Google Translate, Google Home, Google Play Games, Android Auto, and many others. However, there is a dark half to Google that usually ends up useless. We’re talking about Allo (RIP), Hangouts, Google+ (RIP), Inbox by Gmail (RIP), and the swath of failed Google projects we’ve seen before. The apps weren’t useless when they existed. However, due to their short life spans, spending time getting to know these apps ends up being an exercise in futility.
Human to Animal Translators
We talked about random apps that don’t do real things. However, we felt like apps that did that to animals deserved its own slot. There are a variety of human-to-animal translators, dog whistles, animal sound effects, fake laser pointers, and whatever else people can think of. Obviously, they don’t work which means these are just really fancy noisemakers that your animals probably hate anyway. You can get squeaky toys at the pet store that make the same obnoxious noises, but at least you have the comfort of knowing your animal will eventually destroy them. We won’t tell you not to get these useless apps, but we really should. Please note, these don’t include apps that make animal noises for the purposes of education for kids.
Phone cleaner and cooler apps
It’s basically common knowledge that phone cleaners, memory boosters, and phone cooler apps are functionally snake oil. Thankfully, most of these apps come as big packages so they’re fairy easy to avoid. So, here’s another reminder for you folks in the audience. Android manages how your tasks work and automatically shut them down over time. It’s called Adaptive Battery. Apps can’t do that. Basically the same thing applies to memory boosting and CPU cooling. These apps should probably be banned from Google Play. They simply don’t work.
S.M.T.H., or Send Me To Heaven, is one of the most useless and potentially dangerous mobile games we’ve ever seen. The point is to throw your phone as high into the air as you can. Now, the game actually does work and you can measure your phone throwing strength. Actually, the game is pretty fun, we highly recommend it. Android Authority is not responsible for when you inevitably break your phone, though. Don’t ask us for replacements.
Useless Button is one of many apps in this category. Some developers have a sense of humor and make applications that do nothing at all. Useless Button is a fairly standard example of this. You open the app, it has a red button, and pressing it does nothing. Enjoy. We’ve seen variants of this with blank screens when you open the app and some with decently designed buttons. However, my favorite isn’t on the Play Store anymore. It was an app that opened and then immediately self terminated. Beautiful. These useless apps are everywhere and they’re easy to find with a simple search.
Does anyone remember Yo? If not, here’s a reminder. Yo is a messaging app where all you can say is Yo. It is left up to the person receiving the message to figure out what you actually meant. The developer had some fun ideas with this one initially but none of them ever really took off. What we’re left with is an app that was last updated in 2015 that just bounces Yos back and forth forever. When Google Allo came out and everyone proclaimed that it was a useless messaging app, it became clear that all of those people forgot about Yo.
Keyword apps are apps where the developer names the app after the keyword people search for. For instance, linked at the button below is Music Player by the developer Music Player. No, I’m not kidding (although if it’s been a while since we updated this piece, the developer may have taken it down). You can find these everywhere. Applock is an especially bad category for this and game genres are the literal worst. Here is a game called “Evil Nun: Scary Horror Game Adventure”. These apps constitute a large amount of the useless, copycat, “same old, same old” bloat in the Play Store and the keyword name actually bumps legitimately good apps down the list because Google’s search algorithm is getting worse and worse. If the app doesn’t have a real name, there is a very high chance it’s not any good.
Duplicate phone apps
It’s not nearly the same problem that it used to be, but a lot of OEMs still develop and ship phones with duplicate apps. For instance, every phone has Gmail as its stock email app. However, OEMs like Samsung insist on shipping phones with a second email app (linked at the button below). Duplicate apps bloat up the app drawer while not adding any additional functionality. In some cases, it’s fine. For instance, Google doesn’t force a calculator app so an OEM calculator app is welcome because it’s the only one. Again, this isn’t nearly as big of a problem as it used to be, but it’s still annoying when it happens. There is a conversation as to whether OEMs provide the bloat or Google forcing apps on phones does, but I don’t think the Internet is ready for that conversation yet.
If we missed any of the most useless apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.