How to Speed Up Your Android Device
Android devices are like any mobile device, laptop, or PC in that they slow down over time. Of course, faster processors, more RAM, and speedy flash storage speeds help keep your device running quicker for longer but, whatever’s powering your smartphone or tablet, it’ll eventually become gummed up and slow down.
New versions of Android can make newer devices run faster, but generally, older devices just can’t cope and slow to a crawl. Nobody likes a clunky smartphone, so here’s our guide to speeding up your Google-powered device.
How to Speed Up Your Android Device
If your Android is lagging, there are a variety of things to check. Of course, an aging device is bound to run slower at some point. But this doesn’t necessarily mean your device is a total loss. Lagging and slow-downs can happen to newer devices too.
You can do a lot to speed your Android device back up, but it will take some investigative work to find out why it is slow. So, let’s gets started.
Check Your Devices’ Storage
First and foremost, one of the most common reasons that your Android device is slowing down is the memory is full or nearly full. This section will teach you how to check your devices’ storage and free some of that up.
Note: The instructions below may vary depending on which Android device you’re using and which version of Android you’re running.
- Swipe down from the top of your screen and tap on the Settings icon.
- Tap on the search icon and type Storage (on newer models this option is available under device care).
- Check the available storage at the top (in this example, 91% of storage is full). If your device’s memory is nearly full, take note of the items that are taking up the majority of your storage. We will need to delete as much data as possible.
Note: On newer versions you can scroll down this page to see a list of unused apps and duplicate files.
How to Free Up Storage Space
If your device’s memory is full, it’s time to start deleting content. We’ll start by removing videos/images and apps. Fortunately, this is a simple process. We will use Google Photos and the Google Play Store to quickly remove data we no longer need.
Here’s how to safely remove photos and videos without losing anything important:
- Open the Google Photos app on your Android device and tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- Tap on Free up space.
- Confirm that you want to free up space on your device.
Google Photos automatically backs up photos and images. Using this method only deletes data that is taking up space on your device but is safe and secure in the cloud.
Using a similar method, you can free up space by quickly deleting applications that you no longer use. Here’s how:
- Open Google Play and tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner (older versions may have three horizontal lines in the upper left-hand corner).
- Tap on Manage Apps & Device.
- Tap Manage.
- Tap on the Filter option. Then, select Least Used.
- Check the boxes next to the apps you want to uninstall. Then, tap the trash can icon to delete them from your device.
Removing apps using the Google Play Store is a quick and simple way to free up space on any Android device.
Close Your Browser Tabs and Apps
If your storage isn’t an issue, your RAM may be. Too many open browser tabs and apps can cause a slow-down on your device. Let’s make sure all unnecessary programs are closed.
Closing the apps on your device is quite simple, but the instructions depend on the manufacturer of your device. You will need to use the device’s multi-task function to view all open apps (usually the button on the lower left-hand side of your device). When you can see all of your open apps, swipe each one up so that it closes.
After you’ve closed all apps, head over to your web browsers and begin closing all of the tabs; again, the instructions vary depending on which browser you use. We’ll show you how to close tabs on Chrome.
- Open your web browser and tap on the square icon with a number in it (usually in the upper right-hand corner).
- Tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
- Tap on Close Tabs (this is irreversible and there is no confirmation prompt).
Remove Problem Apps and Malware
Malware and harmful apps are often the reason you’re having problems with your Android device. It could be a download or an application that you innocently downloaded, causing problems. To fix the slow-down, you’ll need to boot your phone in Safe Mode.
While it may be tempting to download helpful applications such as cleaners, these often do more harm than good. Go ahead and remove them all. Also, if you’ve experienced ads and pop-ups on your home screen, delete all of the excess utility apps until the ads go away, which will speed up your phone.
First, we’ll head over to Settings>Applications and start removing any applications you don’t recognize. Then, remove utility-type applications because these are notorious for spamming your phones, causing slow-downs. If you see third-party calculators, cleaners, launchers, and even alarm clocks, go ahead and delete them.
Next, search your App Drawer for the My Files folder. Sift through the Downloads folder, APK folder, and Compressed folder; delete any documents you don’t need or aren’t familiar with.
Clear Your Device’s Cache
Over time your device collects small pieces of data and files that it really doesn’t need. If your phone’s cache is full of unnecessary data, it can cause a slow-down. We have a detailed article about how to clear your devices’ cache you can check out. But again, the instructions vary depending on which Android version and device model you’re using.
If you have a newer model device, you can head over to the Settings and use the Device Care function to free up memory (cached data) quickly.
Check Your Devices’ Battery Health
A battery that is no longer functioning properly can cause slow-downs on your Android device. Oftentimes, you can spot this problem if your phone begins to overheat or swell. But sometimes, there are no physical indicators that the battery is the problem.
An older model Android device likely needs a new battery. Assuming you have a uni-body device, you’ll need to take your phone to a repair center to have it tested and replaced. Newer model Android devices have a battery health meter in the settings.
Unfortunately, if the battery is going bad, you’ll need to have it replaced. Check with the device manufacturer first for any warranty coverage. If your device is no longer covered by warranty, a third-party repair shop is your best bet.
Perform a Software Update
The decision to perform an update isn’t always an easy one. First, consider the age of your device and the storage capacity. If you have a Samsung Galaxy S6 with only 16GB of storage, an update to Android 10 may do more harm than good. But, a software update is designed to fix bugs and glitches, as well as protect your phone.
If you haven’t performed the latest update available on your Android device, it’s a good time to do that. Head over to the Settings on your Android device and use the search icon to type Software Update. If one is available, plug your phone into its charger and connect to WiFi. Then, complete the update.
Perform a Factory Reset
Another option, known as the ‘Nuclear’ option, is to factory reset your device. Not only will this wipe away all of your data, but it will also rid your device of any problem data that causes a slow-down. Here’s how:
- Open the Settings on your Android device and tap on the magnifying glass to type Factory Reset. The search option will take you directly to the setting we’re looking for.
- Tap on Factory Data Reset. The option you see may vary depending on your device’s manufacturer and version of Android.
- Tap on Reset.
You will need to follow the preceding steps on your screen, such as inputting passwords. Do keep in mind, once you’ve performed these steps, all of your apps, photos, contacts, and documents will disappear from your device. If you haven’t backed this information up to a cloud service, it will be gone forever.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some more of our most frequently asked questions about Android slow-downs.
Should I buy a new phone?
If you’ve performed all of the steps above and your phone is still running poorly, it’s time to weigh the benefits of upgrading your phone. First, a newer model device shouldn’t have slow-down problems, so it’s probably best to reach out for individualized support before rushing to buy another one.
Next, if you have an older device with limited storage space, things are only going to get worse. The older the hardware and software, the more problems you will have with updates, slow-downs, and even app compatibility.
Lastly, if your device has physical or liquid damage, key internal components can fail to perform correctly. Over time corrosion and exposure to the elements will cause your device to slow down, overheat, and eventually stop working altogether.
What do I do if my phone is charging slowly?
Another issue you may see over time is that your phone no longer fast charges the way it once did. The first thing to check if this is happening is your charging cable and charging block. Try switching them out with another setup to see if fast charging.
Next, check your charging port. This problem is often evidenced by a wiggling charging cable; a dirty charging port will slow down your devices’ ability to reach full battery capacity. Use a flashlight to look in the charging port for dust, lint, and other debris. Be mindful before cleaning your charging port. Many models have delicate prongs that, if broken, can cause even more issues.
Lastly, you may have failing hardware. If the charging port or Sub-PBA has gone bad, you’ll need to have it replaced by a professional.