Your Android phone will never perform how it did on the first day you unboxed it. You will install apps, games, and store plenty of junk files that negatively impact its performance. Thankfully, you can follow a few tips to speed up your Android device. While these methods won't exactly make it as fast as one of the latest Android phones, they will bring about a considerable improvement in system performance and smoothness and make it perform as the day you first got it.
It's important to note that the performance improvement won't lead your device to score higher in benchmarks or suddenly make resource-intensive games run smoothly. The tips help to enhance your phone's overall smoothness and improve its day-to-day usability. If you're struggling to play PUBG or Genshin Impact, that situation is unlikely to change even after following the tips below.
Some of this advice is pretty simple, only requiring the removal of unwanted apps, games, and files. If these basic solutions don't help, you will have to take things up a level. Consider doing a factory reset or installing a custom ROM on your Android phone.
1. Free up storage space
You must ensure that you never fill the storage on your phone to its total capacity, as doing so can significantly affect performance and considerably slow it down. It will lead to basic tasks like opening or installing apps, playing videos, etc., taking longer than usual, and the phone randomly stuttering under load.
Head to Settings > Storage on your Android device and check the amount of free storage space. Samsung device owners can navigate to Settings > Device care > Storage to get a breakdown of their internal storage usage. Alternatively, you can search for "storage" in the Settings menu of your Android device to find the appropriate option. Avoid using more than 80% of the storage capacity, as your phone and the OS itself need around 5-8GB free for proper functioning. You can remove junk files, uninstall apps that you don't need, and delete all photos and videos backed up to the cloud to free up space.
Some phones come with a built-in junk cleaner, freeing up a few GBs of storage space with just a couple of taps. Samsung users can go to Settings > Device care and run the optimization service to free up space quickly. Xiaomi phones have a Cleaner app that does the same thing. You can also use the Files by Google app to quickly clear app cache, duplicate images, large files, and unwanted media files. For more tips, you can follow our guide to free up storage space on your Android phone. And if you are a heavy WhatsApp user, you can delete unwanted WhatsApp media to reclaim your precious storage.
2. Uninstall unused apps
Uninstalling old and unused apps on your Android device won't directly impact its performance, but it will free up storage space, which, as we've already covered, can go a long way. Plus, if you have a lot of apps that keep running in the background, uninstalling them will free up precious resources and help improve system smoothness. Samsung phones will automatically highlight apps that drain excessive battery in the background, which you can then uninstall or force stop.
It's always a good idea to periodically revisit the apps and games installed on your device and uninstall the ones that you no longer use.
3. Change system animation speed
Changing the system animation speed on your Android phone won't natively speed it up, but it will create a perception of your device performing far faster. Increasing the animation scale will allow graphics to finish quicker, which will give a feeling of improved system performance. In reality, though, your Android phone will perform just like it has been all this time.
This trick is an excellent choice if you feel the animations on your Android phone are particularly slow or sluggish. You can even turn off the system animations for good if you prefer speed to flashy effects. Check out our guide on how to speed up the animations on your Android phone for more details.
4. Restart your phone
Back in the day, when Android's memory management was much worse and phones shipped with a limited amount of RAM, experts recommended restarting your smartphone daily to ensure it delivers the best performance. While this is no longer true, I still recommend restarting your device once every few days, at least. This tip frees up resources occupied by unwanted apps running in the background, thereby improving overall system smoothness, especially on low-end or budget Android devices that don't ship with oodles of RAM. It also helps clear unwanted resources taken by an app with a memory leak. The improvement won't be as apparent on newer Android phones unless many apps and services are running rampant in the background.
5. Use Lite edition apps
Google and several other developers offer Lite or Go edition of their apps meant for old and low-end Android devices with limited RAM allotment. Lite edition apps are not as resource-hungry as their full-blown counterparts and deliver essentially the same experience, though they will miss out on some features.
Google offers Lite editions of several apps, including Google Go, Camera Go, Assistant Go, and Maps Go. You will also find Lite editions of other popular apps on the Play Store, including Twitter, Spotify, Skype, and Facebook. These services miss out on some features found in their full versions, but should still be good enough for daily use. Another advantage of Lite/Go edition apps is that they occupy less storage space, which can also be an issue on your old Android device with limited internal storage.
As a more extreme measure, you may consider using Progressive Web Apps (PWA) of Twitter, Starbucks, MakeMyTrip, etc., and other services. However, PWAs have their own limitations as they don't work offline, and the experience they offer is nowhere near that of native apps.
6. Update to the latest software
You should always make sure that your phone is running the latest software build or security patch available for it. Google has constantly optimized Android with every new release to deliver better performance and smoothness. Upgrading to a newer version of Android can free up system resources on your device, which, in turn, could help with faster app loading times and improved system smoothness.
All major Android manufacturers have come a long way from the initial days of Android and now tend to roll out frequent software updates for their phones. The best part is that these manufacturers try to further improve system performance and smoothness based on user feedback with almost every update. Samsung, in particular, has been doing an excellent job in rolling out monthly security patches and new OS updates on a timely basis to all its devices.
7. Factory reset
If this first handful of tips has not made a big enough difference in improving the speed and smoothness of your Android phone, you can factory reset your device. Of course, most consider this a last-ditch effort.
This action will essentially restore your device to its stock state and erase all your data, so you'll have to start from scratch: set it up again, download apps from the Play Store, log into your favorite apps and services, and more. That's a lot of work, and the results may not be that impressive if you have a particularly old device. In such cases, you should consider upgrading — even if it's a budget or mid-range device, it'll likely perform better than your existing phone.
If you are ready to factory reset your Android device, make sure to create a backup of all your essential data. Once you are done resetting your phone, make sure to go through the list of apps you download — you don't want to install the apps that you never got around to using in the first place.
8. Consider installing a custom ROM
If you have a relatively old (and slow) Android phone — or one that has reached the end of its manufacturer's support — you might want to consider installing a custom ROM or kernel on it. While the Android modding community is not as active as it was a decade ago, custom ROMs or kernels are still available for fairly popular devices.
Installing a custom ROM or kernel will void the warranty of your device, but if it's already expired, it's nothing to worry about. Make sure that its bootloader is unlockable — without that, you're likely out of luck. For example, it's not possible to unlock the bootloader of most Samsung phones sold in the US in recent years. On phones where the bootloader unlocking is not an issue, the method to root and install custom ROM or kernels varies depending on the variant and device manufacturer. So, take your time to understand the entire process before diving into the world of custom ROMs.
Custom ROMs are typically optimized for performance and are offered bloatware-free, so that should free up storage space on your phone. They are also a great way to try out a new version of Android if the device manufacturer has stopped supporting it. A custom ROM can easily breathe new life into your phone, speeding it up considerably. However, if the device is ancient, a newer Android version may cause performance issues due to high system requirements and outdated hardware.
LineageOS and Paranoid Android are among the most popular custom ROMs out there, though they may not necessarily be the best ones for your device in terms of stability. Make sure to do your research before deciding on which custom ROM to install on your device. The XDA forums are generally a good place to start for this.
By following the above tips, you'll be able to get your Android phone up to speed pretty quickly. Ideally, you should use these rules as a checklist every once in a while, just to ensure your Android phone is performing at its peak. Remember that these are just tips, and they cannot make up for the lack of actual hardware resources. If you have a particularly old or low-end Android phone, it might be time to buy a new one.
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Had a nice chuckle now when I read it, yah unfortunately tip #6 will be a tough one for most SA users, I must maybe modify to:
6. Update your knowledge base about the latest software available else so that you can appreciate the updates when it eventually comes available.