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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  Five ways to speed up a sluggish Android phone
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Five ways to speed up a sluggish Android phone

No matter how powerful an Android smartphone you buy, chances are, you'll notice sluggishness creeping in sooner rather than later

The more apps, music and videos in the internal storage, the slower phones become. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/MintPremium
The more apps, music and videos in the internal storage, the slower phones become. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

For an operating system that is running on 82.8% of smartphones in the world, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), Google’s Android is fun and frustrating in equal measure. Whether you have spent 10,000 on an affordable smartphone or 45,000 on the latest top-of-the-line device, chances are you will eventually notice performance slowing down, apps taking time to open and the interface stuttering a bit. Maybe it starts to show a bit later in the more powerful phones, but there is no getting away from it.

There are many reasons, though, that slow down your phone. We run you through the usual suspects, and how to deal with them.

Make the best of the storage space

The more apps, music and videos in the internal storage, the slower phones become. This is most often observed in phones which don’t have the most powerful processors. One solution is to move media files to a memory card, which means you remove the heavier content from the critical system files. Another solution is to back up photos to a cloud storage service (such as Google Photos or Dropbox) and delete them from the phone.

There is an Android limitation which restricts moving apps to the memory card. If your phone has just 4GB or 8GB internal storage space, the only real solution is to uninstall or disable apps you don’t need.

Custom skins look good but slow down performance

Every Android phone-maker preloads phones with a unique-looking software, known as custom interface, to differentiate from the rivals and offers users more features. Samsung has TouchWiz, HTC has Sense and Xiaomi uses MIUI, for example. There are a lot of customization apps available on the Google Play Store that offer further customization. The flipside is that this additional piece of software wrapped around Android isn’t always perfectly optimized, which hurts performance and battery life. If your Android phone feels sluggish, we would advice you to download the Google Now Launcher (Free; download here: . This piece of software, made by Google itself, is much lighter on the processor and RAM. And that means, more resources for your apps to run quicker.

Clear the cache memory regularly

Every app installed on the phone creates its own set of files, also known as temporary files or cache. For example, the Facebook app will cache images from posts in your timeline to allow the entire thing to load quicker on slower Internet connections. All this takes up space, particularly on lower spec phones. We would recommend downloading CCleaner app (Free; download here:) and run it once every 15 days to clear out the files that apps have accumulated in the phone.

Antivirus solutions hog critical resources

It is a misconception that Android is more vulnerable to getting hit by a virus or malware attack. It is not true. This usually happens if the user visits an infected website or downloads apps from unverified sources. But if you do that on any operating system, the results will not be pretty.

The solution is not to download an anti-virus app on your phone, but to use the web services and apps more responsibly. Security apps consume a lot of memory by running scans in the background, and this eventually slows the device and drains the battery quicker.

Limited multi-tasking is better

If you have purchased a powerful phone and it can run 10 apps smoothly at the same time does not mean you must open 10 apps and leave them open. Every process running in the background uses up the processor, RAM and the battery. Yes, you may want to keep some frequently used apps running so that their load time is shorter the next time you tap to open them, but do not keep games and social networking apps unchained.

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Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Updated: 09 Oct 2015, 12:50 PM IST
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