No matter what version of Google's mobile OS you're running — we're up to Android Oreo on some devices — Android remains a tinkerer's dream. Because Android is open in a way that other mobile OSes aren't — we're looking at you, iOS — you can tweak and optimize the system's performance from A to Z. Whether we're talking cache cleaners, junk file hunters, CPU overclocking tools, app disablers or task automation tools, plenty of Android apps help you get more out of your phone. Here are 20 of our favorites.
Cheetah Mobile's Clean Master comes with a Junk Files tool for cleaning your phone's app and system cache as well as temp files. It also sports a memory-saving Phone Boost tool, an app manager and antivirus feature. While you can probably skip the task-killer-like features of Phone Boost, the Junk File tool is great at cleaning out widowed and temporary files, as well as cleaning out your system cache to free up phone storage. The app manager allows users to backup APKs, move apps to the SD card and uninstall apps.
All-in-One Toolbox is just that: a versatile all-in-one Android booster app. AIO Toolbox follows the model of many apps with a quick one-tap booster that cleans up cache, background apps, and memory; it also includes extras like an app manager, file manager, and CPU cooler (which kills background apps to reduce load). A handy "Easy Swipe" brings up a radial menu to quickly access utilities from your home screen or other apps. Where the app does suffer a mite bit is in organization, with tools split across a vertical feed and multiple tabs.
This tool will tell you about CPU usage, RAM and monitor other system services on your smartphone. Simple System Monitor also puts a file browser into the package. Some of the capabilities have been scaled back, given new tools in Android Nougat. Still, it's one of the most streamlined apps to you this type of vital information.
The Cleaner is exactly what it says on the tin: a cleaning and optimization app that works in a variety of tweaks into a single handy package. You'll find a memory optimizer, storage cleaner, app manager and game mode optimizer all rolled into one. The memory booster can be used to free up RAM and terminate unwanted processes, while the storage cleaner sifts through your phone for items that you can afford to delete to save some space, such as APKs, app caches, and other potentially junk files. The app manager lets you sort through your installed apps with a variety of filters and batch uninstall them, and scheduled reminders can be set to regularly clean your device. An in-app purchase removes advertising.
Google's new Datally utility is a free data management tool that allows users to selectively view and manage the data use of your installed Android apps, leading to up to 30 percent in data savings. Datally's data usage metrics let you view your total and per-app data usage over time so you can understand trends in your data usage, and a Data Saver mode allows you to control usage on a per app basis, restricting background app data use without limiting the real-time data usage of active apps. While many of Datally's features have been incorporated in various Android OS versions, the app puts them in a single app interface for ease of use and understanding.
As mobile computing becomes a bigger part of everyday life, leisure and productivity, mobile device security becomes more and more important. Norton is a trusted old name in the PC antivirus field, and it's also branched out with a freemium Android antivirus app. Norton Security and Antivirus provides reliable antivirus and anti-malware protection, and combines the package with a variety of anti-theft and 'find my phone' tools. A premium subscription unlocks extra security tools such as an App Advisor and Privacy Report that assesses the risks your apps may pose; there's also SafeWeb filtering. It's a great addition to your Android utilities, even with its system impact. Check out our in-depth look for more details.
Ashampoo's an old standby when it comes to PC utilities, and the German software company has since branched out to develop mobile utility apps as well. Droid Optimizer is an all-in-one system optimization app that can be set for quick use, or for more detailed cleanup. A 1-Touch Speed Up mode can be set to clean the memory cache and stop background apps (with an optional whitelist), while a more selective Clean Up mode lets you go point by point. An App Manager lets you bulk uninstall apps or view permissions, while a Privacy Advisor flags apps with that have been granted permissions that might be abused for your review. There's even a handy automatic scheduling mode to automate cleanup or disable Wi-Fi at night.