The Play Store on Android is filled with apps that are notorious for invasive permissions. Many apps keep running in the background even when not in use, draining your device’s battery.
The culprits are some of the biggest and most popular services. Facebook is definitely slowing down your phone. Snapchat, Amazon Shopping, and others constantly work in the background even if you’ve shut them, silently guzzling battery.
The solution is to turn websites into apps, using Hermit. Here’s how to get started.
Turn a Website Into a Lite App for Android
Hermit is essentially a browser, much like Chrome or Firefox. Its job is to take any website you point it to and turn the website into an app that resides on your home screen.
When you want to create a new lite app, Hermit will show you its entire inventory of popular apps, which include categories like social (Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), news (BBC, CNN, NYT, etc.), entertainment (IMDB, Vimeo, Hotstar, etc.), and several more.
You’ll almost certainly get what you want there. If you don’t find it, just type in the URL of a site and Hermit will turn it into a standalone app on your home screen.
Of course, the site might not always be functional enough for you to use it as a replacement for an app. For example, the Instagram website doesn’t let you upload images. So if you don’t post photos and only browse Instagram feeds, making a lite app of the website is sensible.
But if you regularly post images to Instagram, then forget about this.
On the other hand, making a lite app for Facebook or BBC would be much better than using their official apps, since their mobile websites are perfectly functional. Native Android apps will often use too much battery.
Hermit also works well as a replacement for old apps no longer being supported. These can often stop working without warning, and can over time develop security problems.
Why Use Hermit Over Chrome to Save a Website as an App
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, even Google Chrome lets me make apps out of sites, so what do I need this Hermit for?” Well, while there’s a lot of great things you can do with Chrome, there are a few important factors that make Hermit better.
The biggest difference is that Hermit Lite Apps function as self-contained apps. When you create a shortcut to a website with Chrome, it functions as a browser tab.
What this means is that when you tap a Chrome bookmark icon, it will open a Chrome tab with that website; heck, if you already have the site open, it’ll still start another new tab for it. It’s annoying.
With Hermit, when you tap a Lite App’s icon, it will start that Lite App as its own browser. If the app is already open, it won’t be reloaded, it will just be shown to you immediately.
The entire approach is that Hermit’s Lite Apps are “individual” apps, while Chrome’s lite apps are part of Chrome itself.
What this means is that Hermit apps can be customized individually, with different settings for different apps, while Chrome-based lite apps will all follow the same rules that your Chrome browser has.
Customize Your Lite App
Hermit has both universal and individual settings. So in the main Hermit app, you can choose to apply a few settings like blocking certain content for any app you create. But apart from that, each lite app you make can be customized with its own set of rules.
So for example, you can set a maps app to be able to see your location, but you can prevent a social media app from being able to track you in the same way. Here’s a list of some of the other things you can customize:
- Open app as full-screen
- Open app in frameless mode
- Pull from top to refresh
- Add a “Scroll to Top” button
- Block intrusive ads
- Load images automatically or stop images from loading
- Open links in the Lite app or in your default third-party browser
- Toggle “Do Not Track” to stop sites tracking your movements
- Always open as Desktop site
- Enable Data Saver mode to save mobile data on Android
- Allow or deny location permissions
- Allow or deny access to photos, videos, and files
- Allow or deny access to camera and microphone
- Set a custom theme
- Set a custom icon
With such a wide choice in settings, you will be able to better customize just how you want some site to appear, without applying those rules to other sites. For example, if you want a fast Facebook experience, switch on Data Saver, block ads, and disallow images.
Hermit has many creative uses. If a website constantly takes you to their Google Play Store app page but you want to access that site on your device itself, you can make an app for that with Hermit. You can use the Desktop Mode for that app if the app also redirects you to another web page.
Hermit Premium and Android Support
The Hermit app works best with Android 5 Lollipop and newer versions, so you shouldn’t face any compatibility issues.
On Android KitKat, Hermit Lite Apps are all bunched up into one window in the multi-tasking Recent Apps screen, instead of appearing as individual native apps.
Also, the free version of Hermit prevents users from accessing certain features. If you want to access all the app features, you will have to pay $ 5.99. It’s a one time fee, not a subscription.
The free version gives you access to most features that you need to create a lite app. So it makes sense that you first create your app, use it, and if required, then opt for the premium package to get access to all of the features of Hermit.
If you aren’t sure what apps to create first with Hermit, start with Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll see a huge improvement in your phone’s performance and battery life.
Download: Hermit for Android (Free, premium version available)
Create Apps From Websites
If you uninstall apps like Facebook and go with a lite third-party app instead, you should see a real boost in battery life. With Hermit too, you can remove some dying apps and see more improvements in performance.
There are alternatives as well as native lite versions of many popular Android apps that you can try out. It’s worth considering them if Hermit doesn’t work the way you expected.