6 Android Cleaner Apps That Really Clean Up Your Device (No Placebos!)
Most people only think about cleaning up their phone when something starts to go wrong. Android devices are smart enough that regular maintenance isn’t necessary, but it’s still a good idea to perform a digital tune-up every once in a while. Don’t underestimate the impact of staying digitally organized and having free space when you need it.
The trick is finding phone cleaner apps that actually live up to their promises. At best, a bad cleaner app wastes storage space; at worst, it could infect you with malware and spam you with ads. Not all Android cleaner apps are useless, however.
Here are the best cleaner apps for Android phones and tablets you should try.
1. Files by Google
Google’s official Android file manager has easy tools that make it the first Android junk cleaner anyone should try. Fire up the app and switch to the Clean tab at the bottom to access these options.
Here you’ll see several areas that the app identifies as wasting space. These include Junk files, Duplicates, Backed up photos, and Unused apps. Select an option to look at what’s taking up the most space, check what you want to remove, and confirm to have the app take care of the rest.
While you can also use the Browse tab to explore your phone’s storage manually, letting the app weed out the biggest space hogs with these automated checks is more efficient.
As we’ll see, a lot of the following apps have handy cleaning features but also cram in RAM optimizers and other nonsense you don’t need. Google Files is a good answer to these; it’s one of the best ways to clean Android with a simple, free app that isn’t bloated with unnecessary extras.
Download: Files by Google (Free)
2. Droid Optimizer
Droid Optimizer is one of the best-known Android cleaner tools, with over a million downloads on the Google Play Store. It’s simple to use, especially for newbies, with an introduction screen that walks you through permissions and features.
It offers a “ranking system” designed to motivate you to keep your device in tip-top shape. If you don’t mind having your own device shame you into better habits, Droid Optimizer is one of the best Android cleaner apps for you.
One tap is all you need to begin a phone cleanup. You’ll see your stats at the top of the screen; free space and RAM show next to your “rank” score, where you receive points for your cleanup actions.
If you’d prefer to set and forget, Droid Optimizer allows you to set up regular, automated cleaning. This auto-cleanup will clean your cache, stop background apps, and delete any unnecessary files. It also comes with a “good night scheduler” to conserve energy, automatically disabling features like Wi-Fi when no connections are active.
Droid Optimizer can also mass-delete apps—useful if you’re looking to quickly make some space.
It’s not the most attractive app, but it works. If you’re looking for a good Android phone cleaner and don’t want to do much of the work yourself, Droid Optimizer should be on your shortlist.
Download: Droid Optimizer (Free, in-app purchases available)
The same well-known desktop app for reclaiming disk space is also available on Android. We’ve discussed why CCleaner isn’t an essential app for Windows anymore, as it’s gone downhill somewhat since Avast acquired the service. And while the Android app isn’t perfect either, it’s better than a lot of the other spammy cleaner apps for Android.
Indeed, CCleaner on Android is a multifunctional app that does its best to analyze and clean up stray files taking up your precious space. The main function is the cleaner feature that can wipe cache data from apps, purge empty folders, and delete various histories.
It also has an App Manager, which offers a simple interface that lets you pick multiple apps for uninstallation. Lastly, the System Info page monitors your phone’s resources (CPU, RAM, device details) so you can see what’s going on at a quick glance.
No root is necessary and it’s free, although you can upgrade to the Pro subscription for a few extras. It may be a bit light on features, but it does the job if all you need is a quick way to reclaim your phone’s storage space.
Download: CCleaner (Free, subscription available)
Cleaning your phone of unnecessary files is only one part of the maintenance task. What about monitoring your battery health, your CPU temperature, and those pesky mobile ads? The appropriately named All-In-One Toolbox is here to do it all.
It’s capable of cleaning temporary files on your Android device, wiping your cache, and deleting empty folders and orphaned files. It just takes one tap to analyze your device, then another tap to delete, and you’re done. It’s a similar process with other areas of the app too.
The Boost function cleans your system cache and closes background apps, again with two taps. You can set this automatically with the Boost+ function if you’d prefer, but doing so requires an in-app purchase. If you’re running out of juice, the Battery Saver section is another background task killer (see below for a warning on this), but it also provides your current battery statistics.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a mass app deleter, advanced file cleaning tools, and Wi-Fi analysis. As its name promises, All-In-One Toolbox tries to do it all. Like Droid Optimizer, there’s also a ranking system to encourage regular use.
Download: All-in-One Toolbox (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. SD Maid
SD Maid claims to be “at your service” as the digital cleaner for your Android phone. It keeps the experience simple; opening up the app gives you several quick actions you can use to “tidy up” your device.
The first, CorpseFinder, searches for and erases any orphaned files or folders left over from deleting an app. SystemCleaner is another search-and-delete tool, this time looking for common files and folders that SD Maid believes it can safely delete.
If you like the sound of this, AppCleaner performs the same action for your apps. To use this feature, however, you’ll need to upgrade SD Maid Pro. There’s also a Databases area to help optimize any app databases in use. In our test, it cleared 40MB from Spotify this way.
There are also tools for storage analysis (to help you find and delete big files) and mass app removal if you’re considering a bigger phone tune-up.
6. Norton Clean
Aside from CCleaner (owned by Avast), none of these cleaner apps come from top-tier security firms. The search for the best cleaning app for Android thus can’t conclude without mentioning Norton Clean, offered by the famous Norton Antivirus from Symantec.
Norton claims to “remove the clutter” from your Android device. Much like the other entries, it’ll search for and wipe your cache, remove any junk files, and help you quickly remove any unused apps you have installed. The Manage Apps section lists all your apps, letting you sort them by last use, installation date, or how much storage it uses.
The app takes a simple approach. Compared to the other entries, Norton Clean has one of the cleanest, brightest, and most modern-looking user interfaces. Everything you need is one or two taps away, meaning you don’t have to be an Android pro to figure it out.
This one is also light on features—it’s only a file cleaner and app deleter, with prominent ads for other Norton apps. If you’re worried about space, however, Norton Clean is an easy enough way to help you reclaim it. And it doesn’t have any in-app purchases or subscriptions to worry about.
Download: Norton Clean (Free)
A Warning on Android Task Killers
A lot of cleaner apps for Android offer RAM boosting and task killing as a feature—even some on this list, like CCleaner. However, these are counterproductive, as task killers actually harm your device performance.
On Android, full RAM usage is not necessarily a problem. In fact, Android purposely keeps its RAM usage high to maximize performance. The Android OS is smart enough to know how to juggle open apps for optimal performance. Interfering with that process can cause Android to work harder than it needs to, which ultimately slows down your device—especially if you’re closing background system apps.
Most modern Android apps shouldn’t impact your battery performance that much either. If they do, Android should alert you to the problem (assuming you have a modern device). You might need to look at how to extend your Android battery life if that’s the case. You can do that by limiting background usage using Android itself, not with a task killer or apps with task-killing features.
These apps are useful for removing old files and wiping cache data, but you should be wary about letting them control apps or services running on your device. The Android landscape has moved past these “all in one” optimization solutions. Devices are faster and Android is better at managing system resources.
To learn more, see what actually makes Android run faster and why you shouldn’t constantly close Android apps on your phone.
Use Android Phone Cleaners With Care
Regular maintenance isn’t vital for most Android users, but it can help to keep your device running smoothly in some cases.
That’s the truth: your device will keep running even if you don’t spend time clearing out junk. Most modern Android devices have plenty of RAM and device storage to cope with anything you have installed or saved. You shouldn’t need to spend your days clearing app cache, either.
That said, if you notice there’s a problem with your Android device, an Android cleaner could perk it up a little. If that doesn’t work, you might need to try manual cleaning next.
Ran out of Android storage space? Here’s how to free up storage on Android by uninstalling big apps, removing content, and more.
About The Author
(1788 Articles Published)
Ben is the Editor in Chief at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. He’s been covering tech tutorials, video game recommendations, and more as a professional writer for over seven years.
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January 14, 2022 at 07:37AM