The secret life of the app

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Modern smartphones have significantly more memory than desktops ten years ago. Are you running out of space? You don’t need to remove anything, just replace the old 64 GB memory card with a new one, 128 GB. After all, they are not that expensive.

For most people, these inexpensive storage devices are a good solution, but they also have their downsides: They offer so much space that we are less and less interested in how many files and programs we have accumulated. According to our study, on average, Android users have 66 applications installed on their smartphones and tablets . Moreover, we usually install about ten new applications every month, but remove only ten of them, so we are regularly richer by two.

The trouble is, you don’t have control over what these apps do. According to data obtained from the Kaspersky Security Network service, 96 out of 100 Android applications start to run without user interaction. And 83 out of 100 apps have access to the device owner’s sensitive data such as contacts, messages, call history, stored files, etc.

We conducted an experiment to see how the world’s most popular apps behave . We downloaded 66 programs that are the most popular among Android platform users and installed them on a few clean devices. It found that 54 of them started each day and downloaded 22MB of data – without any user interaction.

The Android operating system offers the ability to customize the data that an application can access , i.e. an application granting system. However, people mostly ignore this handy tool: only 40% of users always adjust permissions for each application separately.

Another issue that arises in connection with a large number of unnecessary applications are vulnerabilities. In general, people are not very scrupulous about updating programs on their devices: only 65% ​​of them update them on their smartphones as soon as a new version is released, and 24% only do so when there is no way out. The more apps you have, the less chance you have of them all being up-to-date on time – despite Google’s best efforts, updating is still a time-consuming task with a few clicks.

In addition to the users, the app developers are also partly to blame. According to our study, 88 out of 300 Android applications are never updated, leaving users exposed to cybercriminal threats.

The conclusion is that you need to stop accumulating so many applications. And our advice will help you:

  • Don’t install a ton of apps. Before you download something from the Google Play Store, think about whether you really need it.
  • Remove applications that you no longer use. Make a habit of cleaning up the list of installed applications, for example once a month.
  • Remember about application updates – install them as soon as possible. Newer versions often contain solutions to security problems. Google Play has a handy feature to update downloaded applications, so we recommend it.
  • Change application permission settings. Keep an eye on what sensitive data your installed applications have access to. See the guide related to Android permissions .
  • It also doesn’t hurt to install a security application  – an antivirus for Android, which will check whether any of these dozens of applications is not harmful.