‘Ghost’ Android apps that work silently

Not all of the ghost apps are bloatware. Photo: Bloomberg

If you ever look at your Android phone’s app collection, you might be surprised to find the number of unknown or “ghost” apps the phone has. Not all of them are bloatware. There are some apps that Google places for specific purposes. You don’t see these apps as icons on the screen, but they perform important functionalities that you should know about.

Android Accessibility Suite: Earlier called Google TalkBack, it is meant for people with disabilities. It lets your phone read/describe things on the screen aloud, gives you vibration feedback and more. It also allows “switch access”, which lets you control your phone with an external device.

ARCore: This app was recently introduced in Android and you will see it on more phones soon. It works with Android 7.0 and above and is Google’s platform for augmented reality functionalities.

Carrier Services: Have you noticed how SMS and WhatsApp messages have similar features nowadays? That’s because of something called Rich Communication Services (RCS), a technology that allows read receipts, emojis, etc. Carrier Services lets the text messaging app on your phone use RCS features.

Device Health Services: You might have seen this app on a Pixel smartphone. It allows all those battery functions that you see inside the Settings screen, including the battery percentage bar.

eSIM Manager: While e-SIMs are only active on iPhones and Apple Watches in India, the Google Pixel 2 and 3 do have e-SIMs inside as well. The e-SIM manager is the app that will map your telcos settings onto this SIM if Google ever decides to allow its usage in India. An e-SIM is a virtual SIM built into your phone that can be mapped to any telecom operator.

Android System WebView: Do you know how Facebook, Twitter and some other apps open web pages inside themselves? This is the app that allows them to do that. Android System WebView allows a “web view” inside an app. It basically opens Chrome inside another app, without opening the Chrome app.

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