ZapDroid: Managing Infrequently Used Applications on Smartphones

Indrajeet Singh, Srikanth V. Krishnamurthy, Harsha V. Madhyastha, Iulian Neamtiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


User surveys have shown that a typical user has over a 100 apps on his/her smartphone [1] , but stops using many of them. We conduct a user study to identify such unused apps, which we call zombies, and show via experiments that zombie apps consume significant resources on a user's smartphone and access his/her private information. We then design and build ZapDroid, which enables users to detect and silo zombie apps in an effective way to prevent their undesired activities. If and when the user wishes to resume using such an app, ZapDroid restores the app quickly and effectively. Our evaluations show that: (i) ZapDroid saves twice the energy from unwanted zombie app behaviors as compared to apps from the Play Store that kill background unwanted processes, and (ii) it effectively prevents zombie apps from using undesired permissions. In addition, ZapDroid is energy-efficient, consuming <4 percent of the battery per day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7513379
Pages (from-to)1475-1489
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Android
  • privacy
  • security
  • systems


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