Is there anything more annoying than when your phone can’t keep up with you? Studies show that Android users touch their phones more than 2,600 times a day on average, as The Brussels Times points out. When every tap or swipe causes lag or stuttering, it can make your blood boil. This problem can be especially frustrating for people with Android phones. Because there are so many different kinds of devices, from cheap ones to the most cutting-edge ones, some slow down more than others.
But before you break your Android phone in half and throw it in the ocean, there are many things you could try to speed up its performance. Android is a complicated operating system with a lot of different factors that can change how well it works. So, whether your phone is running out of space or one of its apps has gone rogue, here are 10 ways to speed up your Android phone.
Delete Photos, Videos, and Other Files
When the storage is full, even the best Android phones start to slow down. For the operating system to work at its best, it needs some room to breathe. Google suggests leaving at least 10% of your phone’s storage space empty for the best performance. If you don’t have much room, getting rid of some big files can help even more.
Before you delete any important files, you should back them up. If you want to use those files later, you should save them to your computer, a USB drive, or the cloud first. But you can skip this step if you don’t care about that random movie you took at a party five years ago.
Use the file viewer on your phone to get rid of files. Both the Files app from Google and the My Files app from Samsung have tools to help you find big files that you can delete. The trash bin on newer Android phones works a lot like the Recycle Bin on Windows or the Trash on MacOS, so you’ll need to empty it after you remove a file to make sure it’s gone for good.
Delete Unused Apps
Some apps can slow down your system, and having some extra space in your storage can help speed things up, so you shouldn’t keep apps loaded if you don’t use them often or need them for something important. Do you really need that fast food deal app you downloaded? How about that dating app that you signed up for but quickly stopped using?
Most likely, the first apps you’ll want to delete are any third-party apps that were already on your phone when you bought it. A lot of phones already have games, extra texting, social media apps, and other things on them. These are on your phone because the makers paid to have them put there, and you can get rid of most of them. Some may still be useful or important, so only get rid of the ones you know are useless, like cell games.
Next, you can get rid of apps that you never use. If you downloaded an app from the Play Store and it’s just sitting there doing nothing, it’s usually safe to delete it.
Check for Abusive Apps
There are a lot of badly coded apps in the Play Store, and a small number of apps that are scams, spam, or just waste a lot of resources. Rogue apps can mess up your system and make it hard for your Android phone to work. Apps that cause problems will use a lot of resources and stay awake in the background, using up your RAM and power. If your phone is slow and you download a lot of apps without looking to see if they are safe, it might be a good idea to rule out some apps that could be to blame.
One way to find apps that are getting out of hand is to look at your battery options. Android will tell you how much of your battery each app is using. If one app has a much higher percentage than the others, especially if it’s one you don’t use very often, that could be a sign that it’s the cause of bad performance.
Next, you can put your phone into Safe Mode, which will start Android with only the stock apps. If your phone runs better in Safe Mode all of a sudden, it’s because you loaded an app that is causing the problem. To get into Safe Mode, turn your phone off fully, then hold down the power button and the volume down button at the same time until the words “Safe Mode” appear at the bottom of the screen.
If the problem seems to be an app, but you can’t figure out which one, try uninstalling your most recently loaded apps one by one and testing your phone after each one to see if it’s faster.
Restrict Battery Use for Infrequently Used Apps
Some apps take up a lot of RAM by staying awake in the background. This can slow down Android and use more power. You can learn how to find and get rid of these apps in the section above.
However, there are some apps that you may rarely need for work, communication, or other things, so you can’t get rid of them. Also, you can’t get rid of some apps that come pre-installed. In these situations, you’ll want to make sure your phone stops apps from using too many resources by putting them to sleep. This may help your Android device run faster.
Before you go any further, you should know that apps that help you sleep can be both good and bad. Some people think their Android phone is slow when it’s actually just an app that went to sleep because Android had to start from scratch, which takes longer than if the app was already running in the background when you opened it.
To find the right mix, make sure that your power settings shut down power-hungry apps as much as possible and that you manually make exceptions for the apps you need to use most often.
On Pixel phones, you can limit apps that use a lot of resources in the background by going to Settings > Battery. There, you’ll see a card for each app that the system has found to be a problem. If so, tap the card and then tap Restrict.
You can also turn on Adaptive Battery to make this process happen automatically by going to Settings > Battery > Adaptive Battery and turning it on.
On Samsung Galaxy phones with One UI, go to Settings > Battery and device care > Battery > Background usage limits and turn on “Put unused apps to sleep.” You can also see which apps are set to Sleeping, Deep sleeping, or Never sleeping on the same page.
Clear App Caches
Every Android app makes a cache, which is a library of temporary, non-essential files that can be quickly accessed so that the app can run more quickly. For instance, Spotify will keep pictures of album covers for music you’ve listened to lately.
In general, that means that over time, the more you use an app, the faster it gets. But when caches get too big, a number of problems start to happen. First, the app itself starts to work less well. Second, the extra space that bloated app caches take up can slow down the speed of your phone as a whole. Getting rid of the biggest app caches can help Android run faster.
To delete an app’s cache, you can either long press on it from the home screen or app drawer and tap the info button (a lowercase “i” in a circle) or find it in the list of apps in Settings > Apps. No matter how you get there, you’ll end up on the app’s information page, where you’ll tap Storage and then Clear cache. Here you can find a more in-depth guide on how to delete the cache of an Android app.
Some apps tend to build up caches that are bigger than others. For example, browsers like Chrome or Edge and apps like YouTube and TikTok that focus on video streaming tend to have bigger cache sizes than other apps.
Clear Cache Partition
You can try clearing the cache section if your Android phone isn’t working well. When you boot into Recovery Mode, you can clear the cache folder, which is the part of your storage that holds temporary files that help Android run faster. Doing this once in a while keeps your phone working better because it lets it add more useful files to the cache. You should also do this after system updates.
To get into Recovery Mode, turn your phone off completely by holding down the power button (power + volume up on Pixel devices) and choosing “Power off.” Wait until the phone is fully turned off, then hold down the power button and the volume down button (some models use the volume up button instead). Release the power button when the logo of your phone’s maker appears. Hold down the volume button until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
Use the volume up and down buttons on the Recovery Mode screen to find the choice to clear the cache partition. To choose, press the start button. Depending on the maker, some versions of Android will have a confirmation screen that says “THIS CANNOT BE UNDONE!” That’s true in a scientific sense, but it’s nothing to worry about. Yes is the right choice.
The whole thing shouldn’t take more than a few seconds, and when it’s done, the Recovery Mode screen will come back. If you choose “Reboot system now,” your phone will start up again.
After a system update, apps that don’t work well together can sometimes cause Android to run slowly. Each app on Android gets better after an update, but sometimes problems still happen. But you can start the process of optimizing apps on your own by going into Recovery Mode on your phone.
When you boot into Recovery Mode, you can fix apps, which makes them work better with your current version of Android. If a broken app is making the system run slowly, this should fix the problem.
To get into Recovery Mode, turn your phone off completely by holding down the power button (power + volume up on Pixel devices) and choosing Power off. Wait until the phone is fully turned off, then hold down the power button and the volume down button (some models use the volume up button instead). Release the power button when the logo of your phone’s maker appears. Hold down the volume button until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
Once you’re in Recovery Mode, use the up and down volume buttons to find Repair Apps, and then press the power button to choose it. (Be careful, because there is also a choice to “factory reset” your phone, which will delete all of your information if you choose it by accident.) Your phone will restart, and then it will start fixing the apps. This can take some time, but when it’s done, you should get a message.
Change Animation Speeds
When it comes to Android, speed is sometimes a matter of how you see it, and movement speeds can have a big impact on how smooth your phone feels. Android makers spend a lot of time making effects for things like going to your home screen, opening apps, and rolling down the notification shade.
But for some people, the usual speed of these animations—how long it takes for an animation to go from beginning to end—is too slow. Still, some phones have trouble showing graphics. It’s just one of many Android choices that can ruin your experience.
But Android lets you change how fast animations move. By moving the animation speed scale down, system animations will run faster, which means your phone will load things faster and have less animations to process.
The first step is to turn on developer tools, which is where you can change the speed of animations. To do this, go to your settings and find the Android version number under “About this device.” Tap it quickly, and you’ll see a pop-up message at the bottom of your screen that tells you how many taps are left.
Keep tapping until you get a second alert telling you that the developer choices are now available. On most phones, you need to tap the Android version number seven times, and you may be asked to enter your PIN or password.
After that, go back to the main Settings page, tap System, and then look for Developer tools. Scroll through Developer options until you find the Window animation scale, transition animation scale, and animator duration scale choices. Each one should be set to.5x. If you don’t like the speeds, you can play around with these three choices until you find what works best for you.
Reboot Your Phone
Have you tried shutting it off and then turning it back on? Even though restarting your Android phone may seem like the most basic fix, it can be a very effective way to speed it up. That’s because Android builds up a lot of temporary files while it’s running, and the longer you go between reboots, the more files build up.
Over the course of a few weeks, this can make efficiency worse. A reboot stops all the apps you have going and clears the memory. This can make your phone run faster right away, especially if it doesn’t have a lot of RAM.
Hold down the power button on your Android phone until the power screen comes up. Hold the Power button and the Volume up button at the same time on a Pixel phone with the usual settings. Tap the “Restart” button. If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone with One UI, you’ll need to tap Restart twice to confirm. The phone will turn off and on again in a loop.
Perform a Factory Reset
A factory restart will delete all of your apps, files, photos, and videos, putting your phone back to how it was when it came out of the box. We don’t suggest trying a factory reset unless nothing else has worked, but if you’ve tried everything else and your Android phone is still slow, it might be time.
If you reset your phone and don’t want to lose your files, you can back them up to a computer with a USB cable or straight to the phone’s charging port with a USB-C thumb drive. Google, Dropbox, and other companies also offer cloud-based back-up services. Check out this guide on how to back up your Android phone to learn more.
To set your phone back to original settings, go to Settings. Go to Settings > System > Reset choices > Erase all data (factory reset) on an Android phone like a Pixel. You’ll be asked to enter your PIN or password, and once you do, the restart will begin. Find Settings > General management > Reset > Factory data reset on a Samsung Galaxy phone with One UI. You’ll be asked for your password or PIN, and once you give it, the restart will start.