Folding@Home lets you remotely lend your phone’s resources to Stanford University scientists to aide in their research for disease cures.

Developer: Sony Mobile Communications

Cost: Free


  • Contributes to a great cause
  • Does not use your data
  • Unobtrusive
  • Runs while you’re asleep
  • Truly free


Setup for Folding@Home is easy. Simply download the app from the Google Play Store, find the app on your device and open it. Once you’ve read the application’s introduction, you’re ready to go. You have the option to use this app anonymously, or you can create a user account to be tied with your contributions. Having a user account allows you to unlock achievements.

If you decide that you want to create a user account, from the app’s main screen, click the three little dots at the top right of the screen and choose “Sign in.”

What is it?

Folding@Home is, in essence, lending your phone’s processing power to Stanford University scientists to aide in their study of Protein Folding. What is “Protein Folding?” According to the app’s introduction, Protein Folding, or “Folding,” for short, refers to the protein activities in our bodies.

[blockquote author=”Folding@Home introduction”]Folding refers to protein activities in our bodies.[/blockquote]

The end goal of this study is to find cures for diseases such as Cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimers. Each night (or day, if you sleep during the day) that you run Folding@Home, Stanford will assign a unique “folding problem” for your phone to solve. Once this problem has been solved, the results will be sent back to Stanford University.

The beautiful thing about Folding@Home is how unobtrusive it is. In order to contribute to the study, your phone must be:

  1. Plugged in
  2. Fully charged
  3. On Wi-Fi

The idea is that Stanford will use your phone for their work while you sleep. Because your phone is plugged in, you don’t have to worry about it being dead when you wake up in the morning. Because your phone is on wi-fi, you don’t have to worry about Folding@Home using any of your data.

You’re contributing to a great cause and it’s costing you nothing. How can it get any better?


Introduction to a good cause
Introduction to a good cause


Your privacy and wallet are both safe
Your privacy and wallet are both safe

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Folding@Home was surprisingly simple to use. I installed the application, opened it, read the introduction and then I was ready to go. I chose to create a user account so that I could unlock achievements.

One of my favorite features about Folding@Home was the ability to see what my phone was being used to study. My phone was helping in the study of something called Her2 Kinase, which is a protein involved in cancer. It was really neat to be able to see a picture of this specific protein and read about what it is and how it is involved in Stanford’s study.

Folding@Home stats
Folding@Home stats

I liked that on the app’s home screen, you are able to see stats that tell you what you’re phone is being used to study, how many other people are lending their device(s) to Stanford’s studies, and your device’s total contribution time.

I love the idea of Folding@Home. I love the goal it is working towards. I love how easy the application is to use. However, no matter how much I love the idea, the application, or its goal, I could not look past how hot my phone felt when I woke up in the morning. This heat was at a level that could plausibly (in my opinion), be damaging to my phone.

I don’t want to scare anyone away from helping contribute to such a wonderful cause, but the level of heat I was feeling from my phone deeply concerned me and led me to question whether or not I wanted to continue using Folding@Home.


Without a guarantee from Sony that my phone will be covered in the event that it is damaged from using Folding@Home, I can only recommend using this app cautiously and at your own risk. You may not have the same experience with Folding@Home that I had. In fact, I would still encourage you to download Folding@Home and give it a try for one night. See how you feel the next day.

Your phone getting hot may not bother you. Your phone may not even get hot at all. Either way, give Folding@Home a shot and know that no matter how long you decide to use it, you’ve helped contribute to the cure of an awful disease that has and is afflicting millions.

That’s something to feel good about.

Folding@Home – Google Play Store

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