5 Common Android Myths and Misconceptions You Need to Stop Believing

Ben Stegner 31-10-2017

Have you ever discovered that something you believed was just a myth? Myths are particularly dangerous because they can erroneously shape our thoughts on something to a negative perspective.


Android is, unfortunately, the victim of many myths that have persisted for years. Let’s break down the most common ones and see what’s simply not true.

Myth 1: Android Is a Wild West of Malware

One of the most common lies detractors shout about Android is that it has malware waiting at every corner. “Our iPhones are impenetrable,” they say, “but Android can get viruses easily!” While it’s true that Android has more potential for picking up an infection (though iOS isn’t immune Apple-Targeted Malware Increases - Here's What to Look Out For in 2016 Apple hardware is no longer a safe haven from hackers, malware, ransomware, and other cyber-threats. The first half of 2016 proves that without the right precautions, your devices can become risks.... Read More ), the average user of either platform won’t ever see malware.

Google takes a more hands-off approach with the Play Store than Apple does with the App Store, so it’s easier to get an app listed. But Android still has several security measures in place to ensure apps are free of malware Are App Stores Really Safe? How Smartphone Malware Is Filtered Out Unless you've rooted or jailbroken, you probably don't have malware on your phone. Smartphone viruses are real, but app stores do a good job of filtering them out. How do they do this? Read More .

First is the newly revamped Google Play Protect How Google Play Protect Is Making Your Android Device More Secure You may have seen "Google Play Protect" popping up, but what exactly is it? And how does it help you? Read More . This service scans both apps on the Play Store and your device to ensure they’re free of infections. If it detects a problem, Play Protect will alert you to take action.

Further, apps on the Play Store are 99 percent safe. While there have been apps that contained malicious code or simply rip their users off Scam Apps in the Play Store You Need to Avoid For every amazing app you can find on Android, there's a cheap knockoff waiting to waste your time and steal your money. Read More , this is rare. Having some basic sense when downloading, like not downloading sketchy apps and checking reviews before you install, will keep you safe from infection. Taking care to not grant unnecessary permissions What Are Android Permissions and Why Should You Care? Do you ever install Android apps without a second thought? Here's all you need to know on Android app permissions, how they've changed, and how it affects you. Read More is important too.


Most Android malware occurs when users download apps from third-party sources and/or root their phones. Mobile malware is easier to sneak into an Android app downloaded from a random website than it is on the Play Store. And rooting your device opens you up to new threats 4 Security Reasons Why You Should Never Root Your Android Rooting Android -- like jailbreaking iPhone -- brings with it some great function benefits. But there's a down side: what risks do you face by rooting your Android device? Read More if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Bottom Line: Android does have more potential for security risks than iOS, especially when installing apps outside the Play Store. But the average user is protected by Google’s controls and won’t come across malware through normal use.

Myth 2: Specs Tell You Everything About a Phone

In Android’s infancy, phone specs Buying A New Smartphone? How To Understand The Hardware Specs There was once a time when buying a cell phone was like buying a CD player. Over time, however, phones have become miniature computers – and the specifications are nearly as complex as a PC's. Read More were far more important than they are now. When Android wasn’t well-optimized, every new phone promised just a bit more power to help with stability. Those days are far behind us, though. Now, specs like processor speed Jargon Buster: The Guide to Understanding Mobile Processors In this guide, we'll cut through the jargon to explain what you need to know about smartphone processors. Read More , RAM, and camera megapixels give a good idea of how a phone will perform, but they’re far from the most important aspect.

What’s most important about a phone is how it feels to you and whether it meets your specific needs.


Do you think anyone using an iPhone cares about how much RAM is in their device? No, they care about smooth performance and Apple’s approach to design. The same is true of Android, except you have tons more choices The 4 Best Rugged Phones for Outdoor Adventures Phones break. They slip, they fall, they get water splashed on them. These ubiquitous gadgets are essential to our daily lives, but they aren't built to last. Well, most aren't built to last. Read More .

You can buy a cheap phone if you just need the basics 5 Ways Cheap Android Smartphones Beat the Flagships Who says you need the latest and greatest (and most expensive) smartphone out there? The cheaper alternatives are actually really good. Let us show you. Read More or an expensive phone if you have money to spare. Maybe you need a waterproof phone, or want one with a new USB-C port, or prefer your fingerprint scanner on the front of your device. Specs have nothing to do with these details that make each phone unique.

Bottom Line: While specs give a basic idea of phone performance, they’re not everything. Extra features and how the device feels are much more important in setting it apart.


Myth 3: Every Android Device Is Equal

You’ll often hear from people who had a bad experience with one phone manufacturer’s Android device, then swore off the entire operating system. This shows an ignorance about Android’s distribution.

We’ve talked before about how hardware manufacturers customize Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More . This is why an HTC phone looks and acts differently from an LG device, which in turn is totally different from the latest Samsung phone. Many elements, from icons to names of items in the Settings menu, differ greatly on various devices.

Contrast this to iOS, which is more or less the same on every device aside from minor differences like 3D Touch Everything You Can Do With 3D Touch on Your iPhone 3D touch is really just a fancy name for a pressure-sensitive screen, but adds a whole array of extra input options to iOS. Read More . If you didn’t like iOS on an iPhone 5, chances are you still won’t like it now. But just because you didn’t like Samsung’s flavor of Android doesn’t mean that you won’t love stock Android What Is Stock Android? 5 Reasons to Use It on Your Next Phone What is stock Android and what does it offer? Here are the benefits of stock Android to help you decide if it's right for you. Read More .


Further fragmenting the OS are delayed software updates for devices not running stock Android In Today’s Android World, Up-to-Date Software Is Only for the Privileged If you own an Android phone, there's a good chance you rarely get Android security updates. And you can blame it on the Google Pixel. Read More . Mobile carriers can delay these by several months or more. Unfortunately, these differences make it almost impossible to talk about Android as a singular entity.

android myths fragmentation chart

Bottom Line: Between hardware manufacturer differences and software update delays, no two Android phones are the same.

Myth 4: Android Task Killers Are Vital

One of the biggest misconceptions that still plagues Android users is that they must use a task killer. These apps were wildly popular in Android’s early years but we now know better. Task killers aren’t just useless, they’re bad news Why RAM Boosters and Task Killers Are Bad for Your Android At first glance, RAM boosters and task killers sound incredibly useful, but a closer look shows that they could actually be harming your phone instead. Read More .

Android does a fine job of managing processes on its own. Killing them constantly using a task killer app only wastes resources when they stop and start again. If you identify a misbehaving app Find out Which Apps Are Killing Your Android Battery If you're getting poor battery life on your device, you likely have an app abusing your battery in the background. Find out how to identify those apps and solve your battery problems. Read More using a lot of battery, you can uninstall or disable it How to Uninstall Unwanted Apps on Android Want to remove Android apps that won't uninstall normally? Here are the options to uninstall apps for rooted and non-rooted devices. Read More to fix the issue.

In the same vein, lots of Android (and iPhone) users regularly open the “recent apps” menu and swipe away every app to “close” them. This, like using a task killer, is a waste of time How to Make Android Faster: What Works and What Doesn't If your Android device doesn't feel as fast as it once was, try these tweaks to get it running faster (plus common "tips" to avoid). Read More .

The recent apps menu is a shortcut for easy navigation. While you can swipe away an app to remove it from the menu and close it, doing so obsessively is counter-productive. Clearing all apps from this menu every time you lock your device is akin to closing and re-opening your desktop browser every time you want to go to a new website.

Bottom Line: Android manages memory fine without you using a task killer, so you should never use one. Don’t swipe away recent apps all the time. Android will close background processes when it needs to, and you can use that menu for quick switches.

Myth 5: Android Is Too Complicated for the Average User

Like the security myth, Android’s haters love to paint it as a complicated mess that only computer experts can use. Just like the misconceptions about Linux’s ease of use 5 Reasons Linux Is Now a Great Option for Anyone Linux is a great desktop operating system -- ideal for everyone, regardless of prior computer knowledge. If you know how to use a smartphone or tablet, then you can use Linux. Read More , this argument isn’t true of Android either.

New versions of Android include a guided setup process to walk you through getting your device online and adding your accounts. From there, doing what most normal users want to do with their phones (e.g. calling, texting, browsing social media, taking pictures) is easy.

Installing a new app is as simple as searching for it on the Play Store. The camera app is point-and-shoot. Open the Phone, Messages, and Contacts apps to do what you would do on any other phone .

The Settings menu, while perhaps a bit overwhelming at first, is no more confusing than that of iOS. For people used to another mobile operating system or inexperienced with technology in general, Android may be confusing. But it’s not a special case. Someone who’s never used a smartphone before wouldn’t magically know how to use iOS right away, either.

For more help, you can read through our Android beginner’s guide The Android Beginner's Guide: How to Set Up Your First Smartphone If you're just getting started with your first Android smartphone, this in-depth guide has everything you need to know. Read More to get up to speed. If you still have trouble, you can install a simplified launcher The 6 Best Simple Android Launchers for Parents and Grandparents Are your parents or grandparents confused by their new Android phone? A simple Android launcher can make things easier! Read More to make it even more straightforward.

Only Android power users need to dive into advanced tactics like rooting their phones The Complete Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone or Tablet So, you want to root your Android device? Here's everything you need to know. Read More and installing a custom ROM How to Install a Custom ROM on Your Android Device Ready to revitalize your Android phone or tablet? Installing a custom ROM is the best way to do that -- powering it up with even better performance and features. Read More . Average users don’t ever have to concern themselves with this.

Bottom Line: Android is no more confusing for basic use than iOS. Installing and launching apps is straightforward and the interface of most current apps is consistent. It only poses an issue for someone completely unfamiliar with technology or ingrained in another operating system, which is a problem with any platform.

Android Myths, Busted

We’ve covered five big myths that people still believe about Android. Whether these originate from the platform’s early years or just come from ignorant detractors, they’re simply not true. While nobody would argue that Android is free of problems, perpetuating lies isn’t useful for anyone.

Let’s quickly review the five truths we’ve uncovered after busting these myths:

  1. Android malware is only a problem when you go outside Google’s protective measures.
  2. Specs are a poor determinant of an Android phone’s performance and feel.
  3. Android experiences differ wildly between devices.
  4. Task killers and obsessively swiping away recent apps harm Android’s performance.
  5. Android is no more complicated for normal use than any other platform.

For more mythbusting, check out these big smartphone myths that also aren’t true 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True We're going to tackle 10 of the most prevalent smartphone myths today and see if we can't do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today's smartphones. Read More .

What Android myths do you still hear people repeat? Did you think any of these were true? Share your knowledge with us, and tell us what you learned, down in the comments!

Image Credit: flytosky11/Depositphotos

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