Like many computers and devices, after a while you may find that performance isn’t as good as it once was. It may even get to the point that it becomes frustrating. It is a common misconception that degrading internal hardware is the reason devices get slower, and whilst this can be the case in some scenarios, most hardware components perform at exactly the same level that they did when they were brand new.
So why do devices get slow? The answer depends, but for the vast majority of cases, it is a matter of the software on your device becoming slowly heavier over time through adding new apps, or through app updates. The tips below should help restore a bit more performance from your device:
1. Before starting, make sure to backup your device. You can view our guide on backing up your device here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UlIyvk5aS6FHl2gVZf4hUyv2CFeT_O-jaQjDUJYFiD8/edit
2. Go to Settings -> Apps. Review the list of apps on your device and uninstall or disable anything that is no longer needed. If you’re unsure what an app does, go to the Play Store and search for it – there should be a description there on what it does.
3. If you are using any “antivirus” or “security” apps, consider uninstalling them. They rarely provide any sort of real world protection but will sit in the background and consume system resources. We don’t recommend them as long as you are not sideloading APK files to your device (if you don’t know what that means, then you probably don’t need an antivirus app on your phone).
4. If there are any system or app updates available, run the updates until there are no more updates available. These have been known to improve system performance in the past.
5. If you have many homescreen pages (more than 3) or you have a lot of icons, consider cleaning up the homescreen and reducing the number of icons to the ones you use most frequently, and leave the rest in your app drawer. You may also want to consider switching to a more lighweight launcher such as Lawnchair.
6. Go to settings -> Storage and see if the device’s internal storage is full or close to full. Internal storage that is beyond 90% full may experience performance issues. If this is the case, consider cleaning up this data, or moving it to a MicroSD card if possible (eg. Spotify will let you store your offline music on on SD Card) If you are using Google Photos, open the app, open the left hand side side menu, and then tap on “Free up space” and follow the prompts. If after doing this you still have a full internal storage, try downloading this app and using the “analyse storage” option to find
7. Consider switching apps out for ones that are lighter, or changing settings so that apps are not running in the background as much (eg. disabling Chat Heads on Facebook Messenger). An example of apps that consume a lot of system resources, but have lighter alternatives, would be the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps. Both of these have a “lite” version that consume fewer system resources, but may have a slightly reduced feature set. Here are a list of apps and common replacements that I recommend.
Facebook -> Facebook Lite
Facebook Messenger – > Messenger Lite
Google -> Google Go
Google Assistant -> Google Assistant Go
Google Maps -> Google Maps Go
Gmail -> Gmail Go
After the above steps, your device should be feeling snappier, but there is a chance it might not help at all. Here are a couple of alternative scenarios that might still be affecting performance:
1. The performance issues aren’t much to do with the device itself, but perhaps your internet connection. If you find that apps themselves open quickly, but webpages and online content take a long time to load, then you may have a problem with your internet connection. To check this, go to https://fast.com and let it run a test. If you get less than 5mbps download and 1mbps upload, this could lead to significant delays in loading some content, and you may need to review your home sco
2. The performance issues are simply an issue with a current version of a specific app you are using frequently, but other apps seem OK. This can happen from time to time – software is complicated and unexpected performance issues can happen. Consider uninstalling the app and installing the app again from the Play Store and see if performance improves. Keep in mind to backup your data if necessary (eg. Whatsapp requires you to backup your data manually, otherwise you will lose your chats).
3. Whilst your device had plenty of system resources to run the software that it was supposed to run back when it was released, apps and software have become heavier over the years. If you are running a very old Android phone (eg. 5+ years) or low-end device, there is a good chance that it simply doesn’t have enough RAM or Central Processing Unit (CPU) power to keep up with what you want to do, then you may just want to consider an upgrade. That said, any device with an 6 core CPU and 3GB of RAM should still feel pretty snappy in 2020 – go to Settings -> About phone to find out the model of your device, and then Settings -> Storage to find out which storage option you have. Once you have noted down this information, go to gsmarena.com to search for your device to find out what processor and RAM it has.
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