Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Gemini App Manager won't defrost what it froze, tame your apps with App Quarantine, SystemCleanup, Autostarts, or ROM Toolbox

Gemini has an evil twin

Gemini App Manager can do many things. Its main attraction is its autostart manager. Unlike many other apps that only let you stop apps from launching at boot, Gemini lets you kill all autostart triggers. Gemini also used to let you freeze bloatware for free, something that apps like Titanium only do if you pay.

But then Gemini had trouble with its advertiser. Since then, Gemini is free of ads (good), but the app is crippled now (bad).

Instead of switching to a new advertiser (plenty to choose from), the maker of Gemini decided to remove features from the free version to persuade people to get the paid version instead. The free version of the new updated Gemini doesn't have "expert mode" anymore. For most practical purposes, this means that you have to tap the screen one more time to get into things like autostart settings. Not a big deal.

But the free version doesn't freeze apps anymore. And it won't defrost them either.

And that's where many Gemini users got in trouble. Imagine: you use an app like Gemini to freeze all those built-in apps that you don't want to use, expecting that you can "unfreeze" them when needed. And then you update Gemini, only to find out that all those apps you froze for free will stay frozen forever, unless you pay the maker of the app that froze 'em. For obvious reasons many Gemini users were not amused, and the app got its fair share of 1* ratings in the Google Play Store. Some cried bait and switch, others screamed ransomware.

Break the ice

Suppose you froze some apps, updated Gemini, and found that you can't defrost your apps anymore. And you forgot to backup the old version of Gemini, so you can't restore the version that worked. Now what?

You could uninstall your frozen apps, then reinstall to get 'em working again. But that doesn't always work. If you froze the bloatware from your carrier or phone manufacturer then the uninstall/reinstall route is closed for you.

Buy the paid version of Gemini to free your frozen apps? Why should you reward an app that let you down so badly? And anyway, you get more bang for the euro if you buy the full version of Titanium instead.

Or you could look for other apps that can freeze and defrost for free. And when you're busy grabbing freebees from the Play Store you might as well get a new free autostart manager too. There are plenty of apps to choose from.

Apps to tame your apps

App Quarantine can freeze your apps. And defrost them, even if they were frozen with another app. And it does it all for free. SystemCleanup freezes and defrosts for free too. It has an autostart manager built in, but many autorun triggers are missing so you're better off using Autostarts or ROM Toolbox for that.

Autostarts is a paid download from the Google Play Store, but since it's an open source app released under the GPL Autostarts is 100% free in F-Droid.

Gemini is not the only app that got ruined by an update. So always back up your apps before updating, because for some inexplicable reason the Play Store doesn't have a rollback feature.

App Quarantine (freeze and defrost for free, no ads whatsoever)
SystemCleanup (can kill and freeze unwanted apps)
Autostarts (F-Droid)
ROM Toolbox (autostart manager and much, much, much more)
AutoStart Manager (the autorun manager from ROM Toolbox as a stand-alone app)

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