7 of the Worst Things About Android Phones

There are plenty of reasons to love Android smartphones. Each year, exciting new features arrive with a new version of the operating system. And it seems that every month, the top Android manufacturers launch new phones packed with impressive specs, innovative new hardware, and fun new features. Despite the many things we love about Android phones, there are a few things we dislike about them. Read on to check out some of the top complaints about Android phones.

1. Most phones are slow to get updates and bug fixes

An Android model

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Fragmentation is a notoriously big problem for the Android operating system. Google’s update system for Android is broken, and many Android users need to wait months to get the latest version of Android. Many users find themselves wondering whether a phone that’s just a year or two old will ever get an Android update. The problem is that Android updates don’t just add new features and refine the way the operating system looks. Updates also carry critical fixes for major security vulnerabilities, and often integrate patches for bugs and code that will improve performance. Additionally, many new apps require a recent version of Android, which leaves users with older phones and older versions of Android without the latest software.

2. Manufacturers and carriers add bloatware and mess with the user interface

an image of Android smartphone

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The “pure Android” experience offered by one of Google’s Nexus phones is a beautiful thing. But phone manufacturers and mobile carriers all add their own changes, sometimes major ones, to the user interface. Some even layer on their own UIs, like Samsung’s TouchWiz, Motorola’s MotoBlur, and HTC’s SenseUI. And no carrier or manufacturer can resist overloading their phones with their own apps, which often duplicate the functionality of Google’s software. That not only means that the Android experience is wildly inconsistent across different Android phones, but that carriers and manufacturers have been ignoring the fact that bloatware has long been a security concern. Perhaps the worst part of all of the bloatware added by manufacturers and carriers is that you often can’t delete it. That means that apps and interfaces that you don’t even want can up storage space and slow down your phone.

3. Infected apps and third-party app stores make it easy to download malware


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It’s a misconception that Android is susceptible to malware and iOS isn’t. But with the plethora of malware-infected apps in the Google Play Store, and the wide variety of third-party app stores to choose from, it may be easier to download malware on an Android phone than an iPhone. You should avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores, via download links on websites and from in-app ads, since it’s easy to download what you think is a trusted app and instead end up with malicious software on your device. There have been malware-infected apps in the iOS App Store, but the problem of suspicious and malicious apps is much more visible on Android.

4. Good apps can be difficult to discover

Android phones

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Though there are tons of great apps for Android, there are many more terrible apps, and the Google Play Store doesn’t always make it easy to differentiate between the two. Searching for a popular app or game generally surfaces tons of copycat apps, and looking for an app that’s popular on the iPhone may or may not turn anything up for your Android phone. Many of the hot new apps that you hear about on tech blogs are released for iOS first, and then don’t make their way to Android for several months. Some don’t get released for Android at all. While most people can find an Android alternative for a great iOS app, it’s frustrating to consistently find that exciting new apps aren’t available for your phone.

5. Many phones experience performance issues


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There are plenty of great Android phones that don’t have performance issues and don’t slow down significantly if you use them for a year, two years, or more. But with many Android phones, users complain that their devices slow down, the user interface freezes, or battery life takes a nosedive. Additionally, some run into connectivity issues with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or both, experience persistent app crashes, see the Google Play Store crashing constantly, or get frustrated with an unresponsive screen. Any phone, regardless of operating system, will have its quirks and bugs. But some Android phones seem particularly prone to lagging and slowing down.

6. Phone accessories can be difficult to find

Using a smartphone

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Apple’s iPhones are standardized, which makes them easy for case makers and accessory manufacturers to create products for. But with the truly overwhelming variety of Android phones on the market, even just counting the major flagship releases from popular manufacturers, it’s difficult for accessory makers to keep up. That means that if you see a case, a charger, a car mount, a speaker system, a camera add-on, or another accessory that you’d like, chances are good that it won’t be available for the specific phone you own. In fact, the only accessories available for many Android phones are the inexpensive options, which may be budget-friendly but also leave a lot to be desired when it comes to quality and longevity.

7. Android isn’t as open as it seems

Using an Android phone

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While it’s a point of pride for Android developers and devotees that the operating system is open-source and more customizable than iOS, it isn’t really that open in practice. Not only is it impossible for users to delete most of the bloatware that comes preinstalled on their phones, but they have to root their phones (and void the warranty on the device) in order to gain full control. Android is certainly open, which is what enables carriers and manufacturers to customize your device the way that they want to. But if you want a phone that’s open and customizable out of the box, you’re going to need to do a little bit more work than just following the instructions offered by the phone’s setup wizard.