With over 2.5 billion activated copies of Android in the world, there’s a good chance that you have at least one device in your home running on Google’s operating system. From phones to tablets and even satnavs, there’s an endless list of products running Android software on the market.
Technological advances may have massively increased the speed of mobile devices since Android was launched in 2008, but modern apps are constantly pushing the boundaries of what the hardware can do. This leaves many users feeling like they have no choice but to upgrade their phones to keep up with the pace. Thankfully, Austin Alexander Burridge of Rosemount, Illinois, a freelance coder, and technological wizard has compiled his favorite ways to speed up a sluggish Android device without totally replacing the hardware.
Make Sure You’re on the Right Version of Android
Google tends to release a new version of its Android software every year, with 9.0 “Pie” being the latest release (each Android version is named after a candy or dessert). Phone manufacturers then create a software overlay from that new release, which is their customized version of Android. You’ll generally get the best features and speed increases by installing the latest Android overlay to your phone, but this isn’t always true.
Phone manufacturers have a habit of pushing newer versions of Android onto older phones, which can leave handsets struggling to do basic tasks. If you’ve ever installed an update that made your phone feel slower than it was before, this was likely the cause. The good news is that you can roll-back your phone to an older version of Android at any time. However, it can be a fairly complicated process if you’re not tech-savvy and you’ll need to back up your data to the cloud first. If a new Android update has really slowed your phone down and you don’t know how to install older Android versions, it may be worth paying a professional to do it for you. Most phone repair shops will install a different version of Android onto your phone for a small fee.
Most mobile devices come with at least some bloatware, which is unnecessary apps installed by the handset manufacturer or the network carrier. Take the time to go through the app section of your settings page and uninstall every pre-installed app you don’t use. Unfortunately, some of the pre-installed bloatware apps on your phone may be impossible to remove, but the majority of them can generally be deleted like a regular app.
While you’ve got the app page open, it’s worth deleting any apps you no longer use, even if you installed them yourself. Most people have dozens of unwanted apps on their phone without realizing that each one slows down the device’s performance. Not only do unwanted apps take up valuable memory space, but most of them will launch in the background, at least occasionally, to check for updates. Whenever an app is open in the background of your phone, your device isn’t performing at its full potential.
Clear Your Cache
Each time your Android device is used, it stores little packets of information in a dedicated file called the cache. This cache memory generally speeds up the functionality of your device by remembering useful information, such as which apps are running in the background. However, there’s a limit to how big Android will allow the cache file to get, and when it’s almost full, or your total storage is running low, having a full cache becomes a hindrance. By clearing your cache data, Android will get rid of all the useless files, allowing the space to be used for more productive tasks.
On most versions of Android, you can find the setting to clear the cache under the storage section of the settings page. Your personal data, user settings, and photographs won’t be affected by clearing the cache.
Get Rid of Widgets
Widgets are handy little information boxes that can be pinned to your device’s home and lock screens. Widgets allow you to read the weather forecast, control your music, or view your email without launching a full app. Some popular PlayStore apps even have their own widgets, allowing you to use certain app functions right from your home screen. While widgets are great for functionality, they do come with a significant cost in terms of your phone’s speed. They are graphically heavy, require extra processing power, and they take up space in your phone’s memory and cache.
The best course of action is to ditch any widgets you don’t regularly use. You might lose some functionality by getting rid of the widgets, but you’ll gain that speed back in the long run via increased phone performance. On most versions of Android, widgets can be removed in the same way as a regular app icon. Hold your finger on the widget for a second, then slide the icon into the trash bin once it appears.
By following these simple steps, you can get even an old mobile device to run like it’s new out of the box. Each one of these tips is part of an ongoing process, so make sure to regularly complete these steps to maximize your phone’s speed performance.
About Austin Alexander Burridge:
Based in the midwest state of Illinois in the quaint town of Rosemount, Austin Alexander Burridge enjoys perfecting his skills as a freelance coder and reviewing the latest and greatest technology from around the world. As a self-taught coder in constant pursuit of digital knowledge, Austin has built a reputation as a resourceful and innovate problem-solver.