Have you been finding your Android device running slow lately? Is it cluttered with apps you don’t use, wasting energy running in the background of your device?
The Cleaner helps you get rid of the worst offenders and keep your device running efficiently. Take a few seconds to watch The Cleaner’s entertaining animated mascot girl show you the features of the app (she doesn’t appear much in the app itself though, unfortunately).
Which Devices Can Use The Cleaner
The Cleaner can be used on any device running Android 2.3 and up, so most relatively-modern devices should be good to go. It’s also a relatively small app, currently a small amount more than 3 megabytes. I’m running a OnePlus One, but I always tip my hat to developers who go the extra mile to make it usable on lower-end phones and tablets.
It wouldn’t be right for a cleaning app to be cluttered or cumbersome. The Cleaner hits the mark on visual minimalism, but I think it could stand to improve the user workflow to be a bit more smooth and elegant. I’m all about raising the bar in Android design, so the following criticisms may come across harsh though.
The Cleaner has four tabs to choose from, each representing a different area of your phone that The Cleaner will clean: Memory, Storage, Apps, and Conversations. After tapping on a tab, you’ll see an Analyze button. After you tap it, it will ‘analyse’ and then do some ‘thinking’ and then do some cleaning or present you with some choices before it proceeds.
If I had to improve upon The Cleaner’s interface, I’d suggest eliminating the different tabs. There’s no reason for it to have four separate tabs for the same user workflow: tap the big Analyse button and wait, then make some decisions and proceed with cleaning. It could have been collapsed into one screen with 4 buttons for the different kinds of cleaning it can do. It would save unnecessary screens that are only slightly different, and then the app wouldn’t have to use the confusing icons for each tab.
The icons aren’t terrible, but they weren’t intuitive about what they were until after I already knew what they meant to represent. The different colour accents in each category look alright, but arbitrary.
I’m also not sure why all the social sharing buttons are tucked under Settings – it’s not a terrible place for them to be, but they make up more than fifty percent of the Settings page and they’re not really settings. Shoehorning social media into settings seems to be a crutch a lot of app designers use. It’s not a huge offense, by any means, but I’d like to see app designers treat their settings pages with as much care as they put in to the main interface, not as an afterthought.
These are but minor areas for improvement. The Cleaner is beautiful, compared to most of the garbage in the Google Play Store.
There are four areas of your device The Cleaner can help you tidy up: Memory, Storage, Apps, and Conversations.
When I tapped the Analyze button under Memory for the first time, The Cleaner did some thinking, crunched some numbers (Free, Used, Total, and Recoverable) and then presented a number of megabytes that it considered recoverable, on a pretty donut-ring-chart. There’s no way to read what the final numbers in each category are, sadly.
I’m not too sure what the difference between the red section, the dark grey section, and the pale grey section of the donut-ring is, but I think the red represents the memory that will recover, and the dark grey is the memory it will remain, and the pale gray is the memory that is free.
I had a look through the apps and services it suggested closing, chose a few I didn’t need to use, and hit the big red Clean button. It then informed me I was using 13% RAM, but I have no idea what that came down from.
Cleaning Storage was much the same as Cleaning memory – the main difference was that it identifies downloads and app caches you may not need, instead of apps to close. When I used it, it didn’t find any downloads that needed cleaning (I don’t think that I had any I would have gotten rid of anyway), just app caches. I cleared them out, and it worked great.
Here’s where The Cleaner gets interesting. It counts up your apps and when you last used them, and then gives you a wide variety of options for sorting your apps so you can see the ones you should uninstall. You can sort your apps by ones you haven’t used in more than three days, by when you installed them, by storage usage, and even by the kinds of permissions they request.
I declined to uninstall any of my apps for my test, but it was interesting to see them sorted by permission in particular. Some of the apps on my device use permissions I forgot they used, that I’d rather they re-design to not need. Why does Soundhound, a music-identification app need my location? I don’t know and I can’t imagine why, so I’ll have to think about getting rid of it.
I highly recommend you give the App analyser a try – you might learn something about your usage patterns, get rid of apps that don’t work for you, and free up space to try out new ones we recommend around here at MakeUseOf.
Cleaning Conversations lets you purge phone and SMS records from your phone to protect your privacy. I’m not too sure why a person would need that unless you wanted to conceal some information from a jealous partner, perhaps. But over weeks or months of use, your dialing and SMS records may start to get full, and it might be harder to search through to find the records that are important. I probably won’t use this one often, but those of you who are fans of Inbox Zero philosophy might find a lot of peace from cleaning out Conversations.
The important settings you need are under Notifications.
How often do you want the Cleaner to auto-scan memory? The default is set to every day, with options to scan as frequently as every two hours, to as infrequently as weekly or never.
How often do you want the Cleaner to suggest idle apps to uninstall? The default is set to every week, with the option to switch to monthly or never.
It’s entirely up to you how often you want to interact with the Cleaner. I think the options provided give you enough choice, without being overwhelmingly specific.
Advertising, Themes, and In-App Purchases
Advertising appears occasionally after a use of the Cleaner. It’s not every time, and you can remove it with in-app purchases if you wish. You’ll also be prompted within your first few uses of The Cleaner to tell it if you’re satisfied or not. If you’re satisfied, it prompts for you to share it on social media or rate it, but if you aren’t satisfied, it prompts you to contact the developer. It’s irritating, but common and tolerable for freemium software.
For a one-time purchase of $2.00, you can rid your experience of using advertising and get all themes available while using The Cleaner, if different colours will bring you happiness. They’re vibrant, and quite attractive, so if you see one you like, you have the option of purchasing your favourite theme separately for $1.50. The Winter theme works fine for me, but I’m bland like that.
A clean phone is a happy phone. (Cheesy but true.) That said, if you’re diligent about closing apps and deleting files, caches, and conversations on your own, you probably don’t need The Cleaner. Plus, there’s some reason to believe that Cleaner apps aren’t very useful, due to the way Android handles RAM. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
I’m not sure if the process of cleaning my phone feels good due to the placebo effect or not, but The Cleaner does succeed at freeing up RAM, and getting rid of clutter on my device. Also, I believe that it’s important to set aside some time to get rid of junk on your phone, so even if you don’t use it for the Memory function, you’ll find the Cleaner puts you in the right mindset for getting rid of files and conversations and caches you don’t need any longer.
So my verdict is, because The Cleaner is small, relatively non-intrusive, and can handle auto-scanning, it’s handy to have around if you don’t already have a process for cleaning your device established. I also consider it worthwhile if you download a lot of apps – you probably don’t use all the ones you ever tried, and there’s probably nicer, newer options out there now.
Like all things in life, use The Cleaner for as long as it seems to make sense. If it stops making your experience better, get rid of it.
Will You Use The Cleaner?
Do you ever look at your Android device’s app drawer and wonder, “What did I need all these apps for?” Do you find it easier to go through and get rid of them one-by-one, or do you find apps like The Cleaner save you a lot of time and headache? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Download: The Cleaner [Android, free with in-app purchases]