Junk File Cleaning Apps Are Hurting Your Phone

Have you ever used an app like Clean Master, or CCleaner before? I know I have at least once or twice when it looked like my phone was overheating, or getting sluggish. If you’re in the same boat I’m in, or in even deeper water; I’ve got some bad news for you. Apps like the two I mentioned above actually hurt your phone more than they help it.

Clean Master may free up a lot of space you didn’t think you had, and your device might run better than ever for a few days, but in the long run, you’re hurting your phone.

Why does something that claims it should help, actually hurt?

Are these apps malicious?

While some of them might be, the reason why these apps hurt actually has to do with the Android OS itself.

What Do Apps Like Clean Master Actually Do?

Clean Master, and apps like it, hope to optimize your phone by clearing out what gets labeled as junk, optimize performance, and kill certain tasks. All of these sound pretty great, and if you’ve used one of these apps before; you’ve seen how powerful they can be.

clean master file clean

If you use an app like Clean Master just once or twice, your phone is fine, but if you use an app like this every day to optimize your phone; you’re definitely in trouble.

Why Do Junk File Cleaning Apps Hurt Your Phone?

I’m not an Android developer, and I won’t pretend to be one, but I have read what a very influential Android developer had to say on the subject. Keep in mind this is a blog post from 2010, but I feel what it has to say still holds water today. Android has changed a lot in these past few years, but the core has remained the same.

The entire post is a pretty good read and covers everything you need to know about how Android apps behave when you close them. At its heart, this post means one thing for the average Android user: Android is always adapting on its own. Android learns from your daily usage and adapts to run better each day that you use your device.

android adapt file clean

This means any disruptions to this adaption process are harmful. When you kill tasks to optimize performance, you’re actually sending all of the wrong messages to your OS. The reason why this only happens on Android, and not on iOS, or Windows, is because Android is Linux based.

Linux is user-friendly (well, it is once you know what you’re doing), and extremely adaptable based on performance and past use. If we’re talking about iOS or Windows, it’s a whole different story. Junk File cleaners don’t mess with any iOS or Windows adaptability services because they don’t have any.

linux logo file clean

Let’s say you have a shelf lined with books of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Every day you pick some of the books off of the shelf, put them on your desk, and then just leave them out after you’re done using them.

books 1 file clean

Every few minutes, a little green robot takes the books and puts most of them back where they belong, but leaves the ones he saw you using the most out on the desk. This is the system you too have, and it isn’t perfect at first, but each time the little green robot gets better and better at leaving the books you want and taking the books you don’t.

green robot file clean

Now let’s introduce a blue robot into the mix. At the push of a button, the blue robot puts every book back where it should be whenever you want. At first, this sound great. You don’t have to get up from your desk and put books back yourself, or wait for the green robot to do his job in a few minutes!

As time passes, the little green robot stops showing up at all, because why would he? You’ve got the blue robot now, so he doesn’t need to take care of anything. So what happens now when you don’t push the button? All of the books stay sitting on your desk until you either put them away yourself, or push the blue button.

books on desk file clean

So this means that every time your desk is getting cluttered and slowing you down, you need to take care of it yourself. It’s a system that gets the job done, but it isn’t nearly as seamless as what you once had with your green robot friend.

How Do I Speed up My Phone and Free up Space Without These Apps?

It’s all well and good to say these apps are harmful, but what are you supposed to do now that you’re not using them? Android can take care of things itself, but a little push every now and then can’t hurt, right? There are ways to give Android a push without resorting to harmful apps.

1. Clear Your Cache

One of the things that Junk File cleaners do is clear your cache. Thankfully, you can do this on your own without the blue robot’s help. It’ll take a few minutes to do on your own, but it’s worth doing yourself.

cache file clean

If you still want to use a Junk File cleaner for this, use that feature and nothing else. A cache cleaner won’t hurt your phone the way a task killer can, so using a feature like that is fine as long as you aren’t using it every day.

2. Get Rid of Useless Miscellaneous Data

Besides clearing your cache, there are other files sitting on your phone that you can get rid of. If you go into your Storage Settings, underneath Cached data is a section named Misc. or Miscellaneous.

misc file clean

You’ll find a lot of leftover files here that you don’t need any more if the amount of space it takes up is big enough. Mine barely takes up 45MB, but that’s because I’ve already cleaned it out recently by going through and getting rid of big files.

Please note: If there’s anything in this section that you think you should keep, keep it. Don’t delete anything unless you’re sure you don’t need it anymore.

3. Give Your Phone Some Rest Once in Awhile

Sometimes, all your phone really needs is a long nap. I’m not talking about putting it into sleep mode; you should actually just shut it down for a few minutes, completely. After letting your phone sit for ten, maybe fifteen minutes, turn it back on and use it as normal.

You won’t see an immediate or significant performance increase, but it’s healthy to give your phone a break when you can afford it.

Are Junk File Cleaning Apps Worth the Potential Trouble?

The short answer to this is a definite no. When used sparingly, apps like Clean Master or Just Cleaner will help out your phone, but you can do everything that those apps do by yourself. If you’re looking to get some extra juice out of a dying phone, by all means, go ahead and use them. But if you want to boost your everyday phone performance, stay far away.

Take the time learn what files your phone needs, and what files it doesn’t. Learn how to properly wipe your cache partition, and remember to let your phone take breaks every now and then. These three tips are all you need to keep your phone running smoothly and efficiently without worry.


Most Android developers are against junk file cleaning apps, and even though I’m not a developer; I have the same stance on them. Junk file cleaners won’t hurt your phone’s performance immediately, but will do damage over time, and that’s enough to get to condemn them.

You can free space on your Android device on your own just as easily as a file cleaner can, and when you’re the one behind the wheel, you don’t have to worry about the car breaking down.

Do you use junk file cleaners, or do you clean out your phone yourself? We’re always interested to hear from people with different opinions, so please leave a comment below!

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  1. Yes I do and have several of them that I use daily. OK, youve convinced me. How do I resurrect the green robot now, or is he dead forever?

  2. I use 360 Battery Plus and 360 Security for the past 10 months are these wrong to use I am new to all this new technology went from a flip phone to an LG 4 phone thanks for your input love your website and the emails you sent me

    1. Hi Christine,
      The article perfectly explains everything you need to know. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for commenting and for reading. =-)

  3. I use “1 tap boost”, “1 Tap Hibernate”, “DU Speed Booster”, “360 Security”, “360 Booster”, & “Power Clean”. Usually only the first two unless I am having problems.

    I prefer 1 tap boost because of the little UFO that vacuums up the crap and does it so fast.

  4. Is Judy a new employee? She seems to be resorting to basic platitudes while having no clue about the subject matter.

    1. Hi Djohnny,
      No, I am not a new employee and I also start with basic fixes because you always need to rule out the basic fixes and then move on to other possible fixes.Thanks for commenting.

  5. The situation could be frustrating and can go a long way to slowing down your system’s speed. What do you do at this time? There is need to delete those unnecessary files.

    1. Hi Marija,
      I agree, those unnecessary files only cause trouble and doing some cleaning always helps. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  6. Same happening to me. I use tons of cleaning apps, but I just noticed that they do not work at all. Instead, they slow my tablet down. Also frequent crashes happening 10 times a day whenever I use my tablet.

    1. This is a great point, Vem. Sometimes these apps can be space and memory hogs themselves, especially if they run in the background all the time, trying to remove extraneous files and shut down unnecessary programs. As you’ve experienced, it can be even worse if you’re using multiple apps like this because they’re trying to shut each other down and restart when another app successfully closes them. If you absolutely must use an app like this, I recommend finding one favorite to stick with and deleting all others.

  7. I carefully read the article. I just deleted power clean from my android because I noticed that it was using battery power more than any other app. The article answered my question. I will clean my phone manually when necessary and also let it learn my new habits. Thank you for your insight.

  8. How long should it take for the “Junk Cleaner App” to clean up my files? It’s been running over 3 hours.

    1. Hi Kat! A cleaner app should only take a few minutes at most. As the post says, it’s generally best to avoid these kind of apps anyway.

  9. I’ve been using Clean master for about 1 year as it is a inbuilt app in my phone . Is the green robot dead forever ? How to make it work again ? Help please !

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