Device carriers and manufacturers have never quite understood users – we don’t like or need bloatware. Yet, Verizon decided all Android users needed AppFlash on their devices. It quietly appeared on existing devices in 2017 and later became preinstalled. All users want to know one thing: what is AppFlash, and is it really useful?
What Is AppFlash?
According to Verizon, AppFlash is a content discovery service. It’s designed to be an all-in-one app for finding everything you need to make life easier. From recommending apps and restaurants to movies and getting rides, all you have to do is ask. On the surface, it doesn’t really sound that bad. After all, Google works similarly when you’re signed in, and sometimes, even when you’re not signed in.
One good feature is that the app is designed to automatically stream any content you need without having to download another app to do so if you need a specific app to view or stream content on AppFlash.
It comes preinstalled on Verizon’s Android devices. However, it won’t look like a traditional app. Instead, it works as a type of left homescreen. If it’s enabled, all you have to do is swipe left from your homescreen to view it. And yes, it takes the entire screen.
While the feature was first introduced in 2017, it wasn’t well received. Since so many users started looking for “what is appflash” along with how to remove it, Verizon stopped installing it on most devices. Verizon lists which devices are still supported, which helps you to know if you’re affected by this app or not. These only include certain Moto, ASUS, and LG devices.
Is It Safe?
The answer is yes and no. Much like any app that provides personalized recommendations on your phone, AppFlash collects user data as you use your device. This includes your location data, even when you’re not using the app. It’s not really any better or worse than other popular apps that track your app usage, location, and preferences.
According to Verizon, “In newer versions of the app, when you choose to enable location, it will be collected even when the app is not in use.” If this leaves you feeling less than safe, you’re not alone. However, many apps that ask for location permission do the same thing, especially search engine and social media apps.
The app is actually available to download from the Google Play Store, if your device is compatible. Most Android 10 and later devices aren’t compatible. As you can see, users aren’t exactly thrilled with it, giving it just 3.6 stars.
How to Enable and Disable AppFlash
You can enable or disable it yourself at any time via your device’s settings. The exact steps may vary slightly based on your Android device and system.
Go to “Settings -> Display.”
Tap “Home screen.”
Choose “Left Home screen.”
Tap AppFlash to enable it. If you want to disable it, select another left home screen option or select None. Tap OK to save your changes.
If you installed AppFlash yourself, you’ll have the option to uninstall it like any other Android app. If it’s preinstalled, it may not even be listed in your available apps. If it is, the only option is to disable it.
Alternatively, you might see an AppFlash slider instead of a Left Home Screen option. If so, turn the AppFlash slider to Off.
Dealing with AppFlash Crashes
Whether you like AppFlash or not, a common issue is crashing. Since the app pulls data from many other apps on your device to customize your experience, you might see an error message saying “AppFlash has crashed” on any number of installed apps. You don’t have to just put up with it though.
If AppFlash was installed without your permission, you can’t uninstall it without rooting your device. If you did install it, uninstalling it will prevent the crashing issue.
Most often, though, the issue is tied to Google Chrome and Android System WebView. Updating both of these apps fixes the crashing problem for most users. You can also try updating the app that’s giving you the error message.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you get AppFlash for new devices?
Currently, no. AppFlash isn’t compatible with newer devices and some of the more prominent manufacturers, such as Samsung and Google.
2. Are there any alternatives to AppFlash?
By itself, AppFlash wasn’t a terrible idea. However, forcing it on users via an update or as part of the standard bloatware when buying a new device, instantly made users dislike it. If you like the idea of a content discovery service, there are several alternative apps you may want to consider:
- Google – search and personalized discovery tool. (Typically preinstalled on Android devices, but you can disable it if you want.)
- Briefing – customize the left home screen to show what’s most important to you.
- News360 – while more of a news app, it customizes what you see based on how you use it.
3. Is it better to skip apps like this?
Most apps like AppFlash give you a search box and allow you to follow topics you’re interested in. Based on how you use your device, results are more personalized. Simply signing in to your favorite search engine or browser gives you similar results. Any news, RSS feed reader, or content aggregation app brings you stories on the topics you love.
The more an app personalizes your experience based on use (especially when it sees what you do in other apps), the less private it is. The key is to mix convenience and privacy to get the experience you’re most comfortable with.