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Can you increase your data speeds just by downloading an app? There are many apps in the Play Store that claim they can do this, and they’ve gotten pretty good reviews. They just seem too good to be true.

Do they legitimately increase data speeds? I put them to the test.

The Control

Before we get started testing apps, we’ll need a control round. I ran 6 instances of the Speedtest app on my AT&T 4G LTE connection in Los Angeles, and averageg the results to gauge how quick my data is before installing any “Internet booster” apps. Then, one by one, I downloaded the apps and ran them, being sure to remove them completely before moving on to the next app.

Speedtest-Control

The averages of the above results come out as follows:

Download: 2.07 Mbps

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Upload: 2.33 Mbps

Ping: 84ms

So, can any of these apps really improve on these speeds? I tested each one three times and averaged the results to find out.

Faster Internet 2X

Faster-Internet-X2-1

Download: 1.79 Mbps

Upload: 2.54 Mbps

Ping: 88.67ms

While the download speed went down, the upload speed and ping actually increased by a bit. However, that’s easily within the margin of error for data speeds, and these results are negligible. My data speeds were unchanged after running Faster Internet 2X.

At only 986kB, this app is a placebo. It doesn’t do anything.

Actually, at the very bottom of the app description for this app, it says “Note – this is a placebo app.” That certainly makes them more honest than many of the developers on this list, but it’s still a tad deceitful. Who reads the entire description before downloading? That’s like reading the ToS before installing something on Windows.

Some scams are outright malicious, like phishing scams that try to steal your login info New Phishing Scam Uses Scarily Accurate Google Login Page New Phishing Scam Uses Scarily Accurate Google Login Page You get a Google Doc link. You click it, then sign in to your Google account. Seems safe enough, right? Wrong, apparently. A sophisticated phishing setup is teaching the world another online security lesson. Read More , but this is a lower level of maliciousness. You aren’t outright harmed — your data isn’t stolen, your money isn’t stolen — but the developers intentionally advertised an app that purported to do something they know it doesn’t, and they make money off the ads. Not cool.

Internet Booster

Internet-Booster-1

Download: 0.85 Mbps

Upload: 4.74 Mbps

Ping: 85ms

By some strange coincidence, my upload speeds managed to double while my download speeds were cut in half. Ping stayed about the same, but the other whackiness can simply be attributed to the general inconsistency of data speeds.

Besides, would you really download an app that doubles your upload speed and cuts your download speed in half?

This app also details in the description that it is a placebo, meant only for pranking friends.

Internet Booster (Advanced)

Internet-Booster-2

Download: 1.60 Mbps

Upload: 1.89 Mbps

Ping: 85ms

This app, from the design to the description, seems like a carbon copy of the last Internet Booster, with nothing really added to make it “Advanced.”

Still a placebo.

Internet Booster

Internet-Booster-3

Download: 0.75 Mbps

Upload: 2.47 Mbps

Ping: 93ms

If anything, my data became slower with this app, but again, that’s most likely caused by regular fluctuations in data performance.

This app says nothing about being a placebo in its description, and it uses the permission to draw over other apps to display ads to you even when you’re not in the app. That’s just scummy.

Internet Booster (Root)

Internet-Booster-4

Download: (A) 0.44 Mbps  (B) 1.49 Mbps

Upload: (A) 1.54 Mbps (B) 3.40 Mbps

Ping: (A) 91ms (B) 84ms

This app definitely tries to be more legit than the others, requesting root permission which at least makes it possible that it could be doing something under the hood. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The good news is that there are no ads.

All of the results fall within a regular margin of error here, maybe even slowing down a bit. This app has Booster A and Booster B settings, which are supposed to be different. Not sure if this was coincidence or not, but A was much slower for me than B. This app seems to be the closest one to not being a placebo so far.

Internet Booster

Internet-Booster-5

Download: 1.35 Mbps

Upload: 0.80 Mbps

Ping: 86ms

Tired of apps called Internet Booster yet? This one is yet another placebo. Not only does it not warn you that it’s a placebo, but it asks you to use the app every several days. Moving on.

Internet Connection Booster

Internet-Booster-6

Download: 1.4 Mbps

Upload: 1.61 Mbps

Ping: 87ms

Surprise, surprise. Another placebo.

Internet Speed Master

Internet-Booster-7

Download: 2.16 Mbps

Upload: 2.59 Mbps

Ping: 81ms

The developer claims this is a “known Linux tweak” and references this XDA forum thread. They also warn users that because it requires root permissions and messes with system files, it’s recommended to make a backup before using it.

My results with it, while slightly improved, don’t give me any cause to believe this will significantly improve my data speeds in the long run. They fall within a normal range.

Is There A Legitimate Way To Increase Data Speeds?

Yes, but not with these apps. There are ways for certain custom kernels to tweak the TCP congestion-avoidance algorithm to possibly give you faster data speeds. This process is fairly technical and requires users to root their devices and install a custom kernel — you won’t get it simply from downloading an app, and there’s always the possibility that it wrecks your data speeds entirely.

Also, you may have heard of Download Booster, one of the Galaxy S5’s great new features What Are The Best New Galaxy S5 Features? What Are The Best New Galaxy S5 Features? What are some of these amazing features, and even better, how can you get them on your existing phone? Read More . This feature takes advantage of 4G LTE and Wi-Fi at the same time to increase the speed at which something can download, but it can’t increase the speed of either your 4G LTE or Wi-Fi separately.

Conclusion

These apps don’t work. They’re free placebos, which aren’t really that harmful, but they don’t deliver on what they promise: increasing data speeds.

Don’t fall for these. If an app sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure to read the fine print in all the app descriptions before downloading, and check the permissions that an app needs. If the permissions are too invasive, it could be harmful (does it really need to be able to send text messages?) and with no permissions it’s not likely to do anything at all. Apps that require root can be especially malicious too, since you don’t know what they’re doing with that root permission.

And if you ever pay for one of these scams — like this $4 malware protection placebo This Android Malware Placebo Earned $40,000 This Android Malware Placebo Earned $40,000 Malware protection for $4, with no battery impact and no subscription fee – offered in app taking up less than one megabyte of space on your phone. It sounds too good to be true. It... Read More that earned $40,000 — learn how to get a refund from the Google Play Store How to Get a Refund for an Android App You Bought and Doesn't Work How to Get a Refund for an Android App You Bought and Doesn't Work Google's official policy only allows Android app refunds within 15 minutes of making a purchase. What if that time passes and you still need a refund? Read More . Otherwise, you’re best off just avoiding these and uninstalling any that might already be on your device.

  1. Nikki
    November 14, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Thank you for the info. Finally someone speaks the truth. Saved me all kinds of grief trying to get an app that works. Now I know what I need to do.... Change ISP. Thanks again. Very helpful article.

  2. ruben
    July 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    PLEASE!!!!!!!!!Can someone help me increase my upload speed of my phone.

    • Limpnoodle
      November 29, 2016 at 4:17 am

      Did you a gdamn thing he wrote?

  3. Heath
    December 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    MIGHT surprise some, didn't surprise me. It's not just these apps, but probably half of all apps are just a silly scam or placebo on the playstore. I have the one for rooted devices and found it did definitely work better on B than 8 and came to that conclusion myself. It actually does some kinda tweak to the firmware and pretty sure its not available on the playstore either. Does it truly work? Dunno, but B works better than A at least lol
    Maybe when LiFi gets to be a thing, we won't even have to waste our time wondering if these kinda apps work or not.

  4. parayil hussain
    August 9, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Continuation from parayil hussain ;on one side the device is collecting datas for using now and for future other side ram boosters are trying to clear so the device will come in a dielamma this will effect in your browsing quality actually Android devices are very powerful and efficient however they will over come this the best thing is keep your phone always cleaned uninstall apps you don't need never kill , force stop, disable system apps some of system apps can be uninstalled go to settings- storage- apps - tap on a app look up on right top written uninstall and left side top force stop tap on uninstall for fullfillnes of this procedure go to Google playstore - settings tap my apps tap on all you can see the uninstalled apps there tap on the mark into for remove . in short we cannot depend this type of apps until they give chance for an experimental verification.

  5. parayil hussain
    August 9, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Your device is fitted with a hardware to receive wireless signal from mobile towers radio stations sattallits etc two ways to improve signal one change hardware this can do by only company and they aredoing by changing model second is transmitting more powerful signal from source this need more electrical energy and support of local rules and regulations but a booster antenna can do something it is an apparatus with cables and connections it can mount on building car etc signal booster apps from playstore can do nothing to get a better data collection you will get better signal in open area or you are in a higher place from ground level height is a big matter and clean your device. ram booster apps only clean cachies .in Android device go to settings-storage- cached data clear it then tap on down loads clean files and to home page tap on file browser see for files long press on file look for delete options and on settings-storage- apps- select download manager tap on it tap clear data if you are using chrome browser go to menu tap on history clear browsing data and using maps go to map menu- settings-map history - tap on one by one for clean then go to you tube menu settings search clear history when phone is clean ram is boosted after long use phone will collect so many datas some of them are unwanted you have to clean this go to settings tap storage -apps -all- tap on every apps and clear data and switch off device and switch on WiFi networks then switch on device all apps will be updated within minutes unwanted data will be cleared rambooster appcleared.

  6. sam
    May 9, 2015 at 3:57 am

    You can only get so much water out of a hose unless uou jncrease the size of the hose.

    Links are no different to this analogy.

    too much BS out there making mkney from advertising in t heir apps and a lot of gullable people believing the BS and spreading the word :)

  7. Jim Roberts
    January 19, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I'm like millions of Android users who use Android but don't know or care about all the technical workings. Why can't an app help improve internet speed on my cell phone? In layman's terms please. I will download some of these internet booster apps myself and see if they work on my phone.

    • Paul Romeo
      June 9, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      You can only get so much water out of a hose unless uou jncrease the size of the hose.

      Internet links are no different to this analogy.

  8. dogdog
    May 19, 2014 at 8:47 am

    It is weird why people are having problem with the title. While I never use internet booster and don't believe in them, I am actually surprised that NONE of the 8 apps tested would work.

    Maybe you guys are super smart, but seriously give the author a break please. Not all MUO readers are geeks.

  9. Eduard A
    May 15, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    So .. why did you say in the title that i'd be surprised ?! That's something i'd expect form a tabloid not from MUO ..

    Please don't do that anymore .. if the subject interests me i'll read it .. if the title promises more then the article offers (i.e. i'll be tricked intro wasting time on reading something that wouldn't otherwise interest me) i'll be annoyed and get mad and will block your MUO in my .hosts file

    I do have a lot of respect for MUO, I find most of your articles very informative and I really do enjoy reading what I find interesting, but please .. keep it respectful.

  10. Dennis
    May 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The real reason for these silly apps is to serve ads. The developer gets a micro payment every time someone accidentally 'clicks' on the ad. I used to have a free game and the button for the game was incredibly close to the ad, and it seemed to move around too, so every 10 minutes or so, I would accidentally hit the ad.

  11. C.A. Poole
    May 14, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Why are these placebo "boosters" not being investigated for possible fraud and/or theft (for the ones that are NOT "free"). Where is the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Federal Communications Commission when you need them? Excuse me while I uninstall my "booster."

  12. Robert L
    May 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    What *** was the surprise?

  13. Robert B
    May 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    A very interesting article. However are you serious about the 4G download speeds that you posted first, before you installed and tested any of the apps? If these are your typical download speeds via ATT for 4G service you are getting ripped big time. I live near Tampa FL and use Sprint with a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I consistently get download speeds of around 25Mbps and upload speeds around 5 to 6 Mbps. Tampa is also one of the markets for Sprint that has the new Sprint Spark 4G. If I upgrade my phone to an S5 I am told my download speeds will be between 50 to 75 Mbps. I am glad I do not live in LA and use ATT, my 3G speeds are faster than your 4G speeds.

    • Tinkicker
      May 14, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Is there any reason you didn't end that with, "Ha ha Justin you're a loser and I'm a winner!"? That's really all that's left for you to say.
      God.
      Once again (as in many instances) I applaud the staff of MakeUseOf for being able to refrain from responding in kind.

    • Robert B
      May 14, 2014 at 1:33 am

      That was not my intention you SOT! or I would have ended my post just as you suggest! My intention was to inform, not to make fun of anyone. Too many companies out there shaft their customers and perhaps when it is time to renew his contract he might want to look at other alternatives. Sorry I offended you, have a good day and go and Kick some tin some where else Mr Tinkiker.

  14. Ann S
    May 13, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Justin, thanks for taking the time to be the new Ralph Nader of apps for us! Your diligence is appreciated!

  15. David K
    May 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Too good to be true, it usually is. Thanks for the clarification

  16. Clive R
    May 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    The only surprise is that you though some people might be surprised LOL
    If something sounds too good to be true it nearly always is!

  17. Frank Knaesel
    May 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Dear Justin, the method you are using to check these internet boosters is not supposed to be valid, I'll explain why. You internet connection, being it WiFi, 3G, or any other technology have their transmission conditions not controlled by yourself. It depends on several factors that you can't control, such as the number of users using the same cell/base station/access point and the traffic pattern of each user and applications being run by these users. To experiment it appropriately, you should have your own source of traffic, without interferences of other users or traffic, in a controlled environment. You cannot guarantee these applications don't work because you cannot evaluate the network condition. It is very likely that one result differs a lot from each other, because in a different moment, many other users were using the network in many different ways such as downloading, streaming, web browsing. Even using e.g. your very own WiFi, as their frequencies and channels are not regulated and private, they can be shared by other users, so you cannot guarantee results with confidence. Hope you understood what I'm saying.

    • ctbhosting
      May 14, 2014 at 9:26 am

      I think thats what the man was testing.... Real World Usage.... not a lab experiment

      By your statement, the only tests that should be performed are by ATT, Verizon, Sprint, etc directly themselves in controlled lab conditions which is useless by a real world usage standard which is what the public is actually going to experience.

      Myself I appreciate the effort to keep people from filling up their phone from useless and potential malicious garbage.

      My thoughts and thumbs up :)

    • Alan
      May 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

      how bloody rude and incorrect

    • Alan
      May 15, 2014 at 6:23 am

      comment was aimed at Frank Knaesel not ctbhosting

  18. Chris
    May 13, 2014 at 7:51 am

    2Mbps for an LTE connection?!?! And I thought our country had the slowest LTE speeds in the world.

  19. Anon
    May 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    "You’d Be Surprised"
    -----------------------------
    Really? I'm supposed to be "surprised" that none of these apps work? What a useless article....

    • Justin D
      May 13, 2014 at 4:27 am

      Except that thousands of people download these apps and fall prey to the placebo effect. It may be obvious to you, but many people could find this information useful so that they know these apps won't actually increase their data speeds.

    • Anon
      May 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Ok, fair enough, you are right that thousands of people are fooled by these types of apps, but for me it's hard to believe that anyone could be stupid enough to fall for it. Hopefully the readers of makeuseof are a bit smarter than that.

  20. Ryan S
    May 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I'm currently stuck with Sprint in San Antonio and my phone signal is deplorable. They have been promising new towers to be set up to improve reception. I'm still waiting. Do you think apps claiming to improve mobile phone reception fall in the same category you discussed? Like ones that can update PRL.

    • Justin D
      May 13, 2014 at 4:28 am

      I haven't heard of anything that can reliably improve phone reception, unfortunately. That's more of a hardware thing (the towers in your area, etc.) than something an app can control.

  21. George
    May 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Download: 2.07 Mbps
    Upload: 2.33 Mbps ??????
    There is something definitely wrong with your connection if the average download speed is smaller than the upload speed.

    • Justin D
      May 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      yeah, can't say that my carrier's LTE is very reliable in this area, but those numbers are pretty normal for me.

    • deibiddo
      May 13, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Depends what country you're in. It's not at all unusual in South America.

    • epiquestions
      May 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      LTE speeds only 2Mbps? I got an HDSPA+ connection @ 12mbps dload speed (or 1.5MB/s )

    • Alan
      May 15, 2014 at 6:19 am

      no matter which country you are in this can happen quite frequently

  22. Koshy G
    May 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I was not surprised.

    • Justin D
      May 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Good! the more people who don't fall for these placebos, the better ;)

  23. Tommy Crosby
    May 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Indeed, any apps that claims to "boost all network speeds" are probably only placebos. The only thing you can do is using proxies from known resources like Opera, Onavo and Chrome that will load the site for you and compress it (mainly images) resulting in lower download size for a page which could then load faster. But speed isn't really the real goal here and more to reduce your bandwidth usage.
    Of course, security and privacy is a major problem here and it comes to you to trust or not the middle man that you will use.

    • Justin D
      May 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the information! :)

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