If we are asked to choose between a free mobile app and the one for which we need to pay, our choice would obviously be to go for the free one. We are all in a habit of jumping at free offers. We welcome everything we get for free but as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. We are more prone to falling for the free app deal, but are these “free” apps really free or there are hidden costs involved. Here is counting how free apps are costing us a lot more than we can see.

Free-apps

Draining the phone’s battery

Free apps generously place ads on their user interface. According to researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology in U.S. and Queen’s University in Canada, these ads consume 15-20 % more of the phone’s battery than normal. Depending on the duration of usage of these apps, the battery consumption goes higher and there is nothing worse for an android phone than a battery going lousy. According to a research at Microsoft, more than 50% of the energy that an app consumes goes into placing targeted ads.

Slows down your phone : Poor performance

The app in use plus the running ads on it use quite a good amount of memory and processor. On an average, this goes up to 22% of more memory usage and 45-50% of more CPU usage. Any new or extra task now is expected to take 48% more processing time. You know on whom to blame this poor performance and slowing down of your phone.

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Rising data bills

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Add to that the extra data charges. The internet data consumed goes up by 80% due to these ads. If you are using an unlimited internet plan, then there is no extra strain on your pocket. But if data charges are an issue for you like when you are using mobile internet data, you can imagine your monthly internet bills doubling up!

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Expensive in-app purchases

This is true for gaming apps for kids. The apps are “apparently” free but most of their needed features are locked. To unlock these features, you need to shell out your money and it sums up to quite a lot. Kids using these apps generally fall prey to feature unlocking pop-ups, be prepared to see the money balance on your phone slashing down with every feature unlocked.

Tracking and Malware

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Many of the apps have servers connected to tracking services which means your privacy is being compromised and your information and activities on the phone are being sent to third parties. According to a research done on the apps from Play Store, 30% of those apps were found connecting to tracking services and 10% of the apps were connecting to around 500 different URLs. A small percentage of the apps were also found connecting to malware and suspicious sites.

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Conclusion

“Everything comes at a cost” and if you are not paying the price, chances are likely that you are paying even more for it without knowing it. As they say, if you don’t buy a product, you are THE product being sold! Before you decide to use that so-called “free” app, weigh your choices well.

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Abhinav Singh, a software engineer who is very much interested in social engineering. He is responsible to manage all the social media profiles of Gadgets To Use. He also has a hobby of tracking new apps and gadgets and to share them with our readers as well.