Spring cleaning for your phone – delete those zombie apps

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a lot of apps on your phone that you never use. Streaming channels you don’t watch, fitness apps you’ve fallen out with, games that now bore you. A quarter of all apps downloaded are used just once and never again. Far more are used a few times and forgotten.

These zombie apps are, well, if not an apocalypse, at least a big problem for your phone. They hog storage and memory, clutter up your screen and open the door to serious security threats. They should be deleted. And, since this is the season of spring cleaning, now is a good time to do it. Here’s why.

The security risk

Zombie apps can pose a serious threat to your digital security. If an app is not regularly updated—either because you never use it or because it’s no longer maintained by its developers—it may contain unpatched vulnerabilities that open your phone up to hackers.

Good apps can also be hijacked by bad actors and turned into malware. In 2021, the developers of a barcode-scanning app sold it to new owners, who promptly injected malware into the app. The malware would open the web browser on the phones of users and display junk pages with ads. This made money for the app’s new owners but it was a major annoyance for the millions of Android users who had installed the app.

Google pulled the app from the Play Store to prevent future downloads but Google doesn’t notify users when an app gets banned, so anyone who already had the app kept on getting ads they didn’t want to see.

The only way to protect yourself from security risks like these is to go through all your apps and uninstall those that you don’t use or don’t trust.

The clutter factor

The average person uses around nine apps a day and around 30 per month. That means the typical smartphone user needs just over one screen’s worth of apps to do what they do in a typical month.

But if your phone is clogged with dozens of apps you don’t use, you might be wasting valuable time whenever you open your phone, scrolling and searching for the app you want—especially if you’re one of those people (like us) who doesn’t keep their screen very well organized.

Uninstall apps you don’t use and you’ll find the apps you do use a lot quicker.

The storage suck

Some apps gobble up a lot of space on your phone the moment you install them. Call of Duty: Mobile takes a whopping 15GB. Other apps start small, then hog more memory as you use them. Photo and video editing apps do this because they save a version of all the original photos and videos that you edit. The more you edit, the more space the app takes.

If you use an app often, it’s OK to give it space. But you should clean out all the apps you never use—the games you’re tired of, the zany photo filters that were fun for 20 minutes—to free up space for the apps you do use.

To check the storage used by your apps on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Storage. On your Android, go to Settings > Apps.

How to uninstall zombie apps

This is the easy part. If you have an iPhone, touch and hold the app you want to delete. When the menu appears, tap Delete App, then Delete. Uninstalling apps on an Android phone works the same way. Find the app, touch and hold it, and when the menu pops up, tap Uninstall.

How to get the ultimate app

One phone comes with an app you won’t find anywhere else—a phone from CREDO Mobile. And what’s the app? It’s the ultimate: it actually makes the world a better place.

Every time you use your CREDO Mobile phone, you generate donations for nonprofit groups fighting to make our planet more fair, sustainable, just and equal. Groups like the National LGBTQ Task Force, Green America, Planned Parenthood and Social Security Works.

These donations cost you nothing extra. But they mean everything to the nonprofits that rely on us. So join CREDO Mobile and get the good feeling that comes with knowing you support the progressive causes you care about, just by using our service.

You’ll also get everything you want from a phone company, like great rates, special deals on the latest devices and the nation’s top-rated, most reliable network.

Switching is easy. You can bring your current number and your current phone. To learn more, go to https://www.credomobile.com/byod/.