Clean Master: history of one of the most controversial Android apps

Clean Master: history of one of the most controversial Android apps

It has been installed more than 500 million times since Google Play, has more than 43 million user opinions, and an average score of 4.7 out of 5 . Even so, it is one of the applications with the worst reputation among the community of Android users, and I am afraid that most of those who are reading these lines would prefer to lose 1 GB of RAM on your mobile phone rather than having to use Clean Master .

But how an application with such a bad reputation has managed to rub shoulders with the top of the store? Or even more curious, how did it come pre-installed on Samsung phones? Today we review the history of Clean Master that since late 2012 has been one of the most famous tools that have existed in Google Play.

Clean Master: the ultimate cleaning tool with more shadows than lights

It has been more than five years since the launch of Clean Master for Android . From the beginning, the app promised to free up space and memory of our Android devices , through different cleaning methods with which to empty the cache, eliminate residual files, unused application packages or search histories.

It took only a few months until the app, developed by the Chinese company KSMobile or Kingsoft Security – later created by the Cheetah Mobile division -, became extremely famous, becoming installed on millions of Android smartphones around the world, reaching in 2014 the . The problems came later.

As Android was becoming an increasingly popular mobile platform, and object of study by thousands of more advanced and expert users, it was discovered that the applications of the Clean Mater style are not only useless , but can reach, even , to harm the operation of the devices.

Hiroshi Lockheimer himself, the main leader of Android and Chrome OS, said several years ago that closing applications on Android is meaningless , and it is better to let the system do its job. At a stroke, this statement threw down the main feature of Clean Master or any cleaning app of the style, because despite promising to do wonders in our terminals, its operation is reduced to eliminate the cache of the apps , and close those open in the background to free RAM memory – without specifying, of course, that restarting closed apps from scratch will consume more resources than keeping them on hold – and all this by requesting the user a huge amount of permissions that, in most cases , would not be necessary to carry out the main task of the tool.

This is just one of the ways that Cheetah Mobile has been able to bring economic performance to its most successful application . But not the only one, far from it, and this is where the main problem of Clean Master and the rest of the company’s applications appear: alarmist, intensive and deceptive advertising.

Clean Master and his problem with advertising

The most criticized aspect of Clean Master and the complete catalog of Cheetah Mobile applications is the inclusion of exaggeratedly intensive advertising and, in some cases, deceptive to users . No, your phone probably has not increased its temperature to 90 degrees by magic, nor has it run out of memory in the 10 minutes that have passed since you last opened Clean Master. However, that is what will make you believe the application at all times to give you reasons why you need to have it installed on your mobile, although the reality is another totally different.

It is totally lawful for a company to want to obtain profitability from its applications with millions of installations , especially when its download is completely free. The problem is that they are their own users who must pay an even higher price: having to endure a constant bombardment of invasive ads that sometimes escape the borders of the application and happen to appear on the blocking screen, the notifications and other parts of the interface that have little or nothing to do with the operation of Clean Master.

And it is not that they are ads adapted to the tastes or interests of the user, precisely. A part of the advertising generated by Clean Master tries to blend between the functions of the application itself, to encourage the user to download even more applications of the style such as antivirus or other cleaners, interestingly, also developed by Cheetah Mobile. On the other hand, it has been discovered that on more than one occasion the app introduces advertisements so that the user is forced to click on them even accidentally.

We do not know what future holds for one of the most controversial applications in the history of the Google operating system . What is clear is that while there are users willing to install the application, be fooled by their recommendations and support the dozens of annoying ads that appear through Clean Master every day, this “optimizer” – I am the only one who hates that word? – will continue to provide benefits to Cheetah Mobile, benefits that will add to the already high value of 1,150 million dollars of this questionable ethics company, and that will be used to acquire new applications and services that, despite being created with the best intention, they will end up following the same steps as Clean Master.

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