I have nothing (much) to hide, but the idea of someone invading my privacy by looking at my activity history (such as my browser history) makes my skin crawl. I am sure many other people feel the same way. Thus, we have looked for the best Android privacy cleaners*, reviewed them, and have listed them here for all to see.
*Take note we define “privacy cleaning” as app cache cleaning and history cleaning. In our humble opinion, you can’t protect your privacy by only cleaning history or only cleaning app cache.
Table of Contents
App Name: 1Tap Cleaner Free
Developer: Sam Lu
Download Size: 204 KB
Version Reviewed: v1.31
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
- Cleans app cache and history records (browsing history, search history, clipboard, etc.).
- Allows users to selectively clear cache/history or clear all cache/history.
- Beautiful interface.
- Has the ability to automatically clear all cache/history records every three days or every one week.
- Cannot clear call log.
- Cannot delete SMS/MMS.
- Does not delete Google Maps search history.
- Can clear cache of all apps or individual apps at a time, but cannot clear cache of multiple apps at a time.
1Tap Cleaner Free is a handy tool that helps users clean up their privacy traces. With 1Tap Cleaner Free users can clear app caches and history records.
For app cache cleaning, 1Tap Cleaner Free scans all the apps installed on your phone and shows you what apps have existing cache. From there, you can either individually click on each app and clear its cache or you can clear the cache of all apps with one click; unfortunately there is no way to clear the cache of multiple apps at a time (i.e. you cannot selectively pick apps from the list and clear them, you must either do one at a time or all of them at once). To make it easier to find a specific app, there a search feature built in users can use to find specific apps.
For history cleaning, 1Tap Cleaner Free is able to clear 69 different types of histories; it scans to see how many of these histories exist on your phone. Although I do not know what all 69 supported histories are, on my phone 1Tap Cleaner Free is able to clear browser history (default Android browser – I don’t know if it supports other browsers), clipboard, Google Earth search history, Gmail search history, Android Market search history, GTalk search history, Google Search history, and YouTube history. For the latter two – Google Search and YouTube – 1Tap Cleaner Free is not able to directly clear their histories, so it takes you to the history cleaning menu for each app in question for you to manually do it. This must be a technical limitation because I find other privacy cleaners are behaving the same way.
Once the history scan is complete, the results are shown. Users then have the ability to clear all history with one click, clear the history of apps individually, or selectively pick which histories to clear. (Just one quick note about history cleaning. One time after doing history cleaning, 1Tap Cleaner Free did not properly clear one Android Market search history record. I had to go back and clear the history again. I am not sure why this happened but it must of been a one-time glitch because all times after that 1Tap Cleaner Free fully cleaned the Android Market search history.)
That said, there are three features I find 1Tap Cleaner Free is missing: The ability to clear Google Maps search history, clear the call log, and delete SMS/MMS (sent, received, and drafts). I am not sure why Google Maps search history cleaning is not supported (maybe an oversight by the developer) but the developer of 1Tap Cleaner Free probably did not add in the latter two features because it is very easy for users to manually clear the call log and delete SMS/MMS. However, even if it is easy to clear call log and delete SMS/MMS, I feel these two things are essential to user privacy and should be part of this otherwise great app. Similarly, Google Maps history cleaning should be supported.
Overall, I find 1Tap Cleaner Free to be a very good privacy cleaner app. Sure it isn’t perfect and can still be improved (in particular adding the three features mentioned about) but it is easy to use, fast, effective, and has a beautiful interface. For cleaning privacy traces, this app is first place in my book.
App Name: History Eraser
Developer: INFOLIFE LLC
Download Size: 131 KB
Version Reviewed: v2.5.5
Requires: Android 1.5 and up
Like 1Tap Cleaner Free, History Eraser is an app that allows users to clear app cache and history records. For the most part I found History Eraser and 1Tap Cleaner Free both clean the same privacy traces. The biggest differences I found were 1Tap Cleaner Free cleans Gtalk and Google Earth search history while History Eraser does not and History Eraser clears call log, deletes SMS/MMS, and cleans Google Map Search History whereas 1Tap Cleaner does not. Furthermore, 1Tap Cleaner can automatically clear app cache and history records every three days or one week whereas History Eraser can automatically clear app cache and history records every time the phone screen is turned off.
In terms of trade offs (Gtalk and Google Earth search history vs. call log, SMS/MMS, and Google Map search history), it would appear History Eraser bests 1Tap Cleaner Free. So, then, why is 1Tap Cleaner Free named Best Free Privacy Cleaner while History Eraser is Runner Up? There are two main reasons why I feel 1Tap Cleaner Free is better.
First and foremost, History Eraser has an ugly, uninteresting interface verses 1Tap Cleaner Free’s work-of-art. I understand that a privacy cleaners do not necessarily need to look beautiful (after all, users won’t spend much time looking at them so it shouldn’t matter much how they look) but when there is an option of a beautiful app vs an ugly app, I will always prefer the beautiful app. After all, I did pay an arm and a leg for my phone and I want to make use of its beautiful screen as much as possible.
The second reason I picked 1Tap Cleaner Free over History Eraser is History Cleaner does not allow users to selectively pick apps cache to clear. With History Cleaner you either clear all apps’ cache, or none at all. I really dislike this.
In the end, even as second place, History Eraser is a good privacy cleaning app and if someone decides to use it over 1Tap Cleaner Free I don’t blame them one bit.
(FYI, History Eraser is ad-supported just like 1Tap Cleaner Free.)
App Name: HistoryEraser
Download Size: 138 KB
Version Reviewed: v2.3.0
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
Not to be confused with the previously mentioned History Eraser, HistoryEraser is one of the first – if not the first – history cleaning apps on Android. HistoryEraser allows users to to clean call log, browsing history (default Android browser only), Google Search shortcuts, and Android Market/Google Maps/Google Earth/YouTube/Gmail search histories. The only reason HistoryEraser is given an Honorable Mention and not ranked higher is because it only clears history records; and as mentioned at the beginning of this article, we feel clearing app cache is essential to privacy cleaning.
One thing to note about HistoryEraser, however, is that it is ads free and does not ask for the internet access system permission. For the truly paranoid, this could be the one reason why HistoryEraser is preferred over the previously mentioned two apps. (Remember DroidWall or Permissions Denied can help deny 1Tap Cleaner Free and History Eraser internet access, so if internet access is your only criteria when picking a privacy cleaner you are not only limited to HistoryEraser.)