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Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Do Android phones and tablets slow down over time? Many people seem to think so. We’ll look at the reasons why devices slow down and how to battle slow downs.

This problem isn’t necessarily unique to Android — try using an iPad 3 with iOS 7 and feel how slow it’s become — but it does seem to be reported by many Android users.

Operating System Updates and Heavier Apps

Your Android phone doesn’t have the same software it had a year ago. If you’ve receivedAndroid operating system updates, they may not be as nicely optimized for your device and may have slowed it down. Or, your carrier or manufacturer may have added additionalbloatware apps in an update, which run in the background and slow things down.

Even if you haven’t seen a single update, the apps running on your device are newer. Whether you’re using newer apps or updated versions of the same apps you were using a year ago, apps seem to become heavier over time. As developers gain access to faster smartphone hardware, games and other apps may be optimized for this faster hardware and perform worse on older devices. This seems to happen on every platform. As the years go by, websites become heavier, desktop applications want more RAM, and PC games become more demanding.

How to Fix It: There’s not much you can do here. If your operating system seems slow, you may want to install a custom ROM like CyanogenMod that doesn’t have the bloatware and slow manufacturer skins many devices include. If your apps seem slow, try hunting for more lightweight apps.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Background Processes

You’ve probably installed more apps as you continue to use your device. Some apps open at startup and run in the background, consuming CPU resources and taking up your device’s memory. If you’ve installed a lot of apps that run in the background, they can slow down your device. Android offers real multitasking, so apps can run in the background.

If you’re using an animated live wallpaper and have a large amount of widgets on your home screen, these will take up CPU, graphics, and memory resources. Slim your home screen down and you’ll see an improvement.

Apps running in the background can also consume resources. To check what apps are using background processes, visit the Apps screen in the Settings app and swipe over to the Running category. If you don’t use an app that’s running in the background, uninstall it. If you can’t uninstall it because it came with your device, disable it. Don’t just end the service — it will automatically restart.

How to Fix It: Disable live wallpapers, remove widgets, and uninstall or disable heavy apps you don’t use. In fact, you may want to uninstall all the apps you never use.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

A Nearly Full File System

Solid-state drives slow down as you fill them up, so writing to the file system may be very slow if it’s almost full. This will cause Android and apps to appear to be much slower. The Storage screen in the Settings app will show you how full your device’s storage is and what’s using the space.

Cache files can consume quite a bit of storage space if allowed to grow unchecked, so clearing cache files can free up disk space and make your file system perform better. To clear cached data for all installed apps at once, open the Settings app, tap Storage, scroll down, tap Cached data, and tap OK.

How to Fix It: Uninstall apps you don’t use, delete files you don’t need, and clear app caches to free up space. You can also just perform a factory reset and only install the apps you need to end up with a like-new device.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

No Solid-State Drive TRIM

The lack of proper TRIM support was the main thing that caused Google’s original Nexus 7 tablet to slow down over time. This was fixed in Android 4.3, which added proper TRIM support. On Nexus devices, updating to Android 4.3 will fix this problem.

If you have an older device that doesn’t have Android 4.3 and has slowed down over time, you can perform TRIM by rooting it and using the LagFix app. This app runs the same fstrim command Android 4.3 runs in the background. TRIM is necessary because of how solid-state drives work — solid-state drives slow down over time because flash memory cells must be cleared before they can be written to again. TRIM preemptively clears cells that contain data from deleted files, ensuring things will be as fast as possible when Android needs to write to those cells in the future.

How to Fix It: Root your device and run LagFix if you’re using an older device. This happens automatically on devices running Android 4.3 and newer versions of Android.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Performing a factory reset and installing only the apps you use will help by removing all those old apps and files in one fell swoop. A factory reset won’t fix bloatware included with your device or run TRIM on your device’s storage, but it can help — just like reinstalling Windows can help fix a slow PC.

Let’s be real here: when your phone is glitchy and working too slowly, it’s just about the worst thing possible.

Don’t freak out too much, though — if your Android device is running slow, getting it back up to speed should be a pretty quick process.

Try these fixes before you head to the shop for repairs, replace the phone with a newer model, or toss the thing out the window in a fit of rage.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

How to troubleshoot your Android if it’s running slow

Here are three ways to try and fix issues affecting your Android speed.

Clear your cache

Every time you browse the web on your phone, it stores away bits of data in your cache . Clearing out your cache can greatly increase your Android speed.

To clear your browsing or third-party app cache, read our article “How to clear the cache on your Android phone to make it run faster.”

Delete unused apps and files

Deleting apps you never use can free up storage and operational space. It’s also helpful to delete files, photos, videos, documents, and anything else you just don’t need.

You can get a good sense of what’s eating up your phone’s space and likely slowing it down by going into your Settings app, then opening “Storage” (which may be under the “Device maintenance” tab) and noting how much free space you have and what’s taking up the most room.

Restart or reset your Android device

If you have tried all the basic fixes and that Android of yours is still slow, including turning the device on and off again, it’s time to wipe it clean and restore factory settings.

1. Back up your phone first, then go to Settings.

2. Tap “General management” and select “Reset.”

3. Hit “Reset settings.”

And if that doesn’t work, try a full “Factory data reset.” After that, it’s time to turn to the pros for further help.

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Insider Inc. receives a commission when you buy through our links.

If you have been using Android smartphone for a while, then you might know that Android devices usually slows down over time. It doesn’t matter how powerful your smartphone is in terms of hardware, it will slow down after a few months or years. However, do you know the actual reason behind such a slowdown?

Well, there are quite lots of factors which lead to slow down. In this article, we are going to share 10 common reasons why your Android device slows down over time. By knowing these reasons, you can effectively take proper steps to ensure a better phone’s performance.

10 Reasons Your Phone Slows Down Over Time

Not just Android smartphones, it will also help you deal with iPhone’s slowness as well. So, let’s check out the reasons why your phone slows down over time.

1. The OS Upgrades

Just remember, when you first bought your device, it might be running Android KitKat or iOS 7 at that time. Both iOS 7 and Android KitKat were launched in the year 2013. Well, these upgrades are released with a certain set of hardware specs in thought.

If we take a look at the current year, hardware specifications have drastically updated. Many features have been added to both iOS and Android. However, these features are made with newer hardware specs in mind. So, if you are running the newer version of any operating system in an outdated phone then this can slow down your phone in no-time.

However, these upgrades are hard to ignore, so minor updates are okay, but if you are planning to jump from Android KitKat to Nougat then be ready to face the difficulties.

2. App Updates

As we already mentioned, we keep on trying new apps and games in our Android and iOS devices. The so-called ‘lightweight’ apps that you install can be transformed to ‘heavyweight’ over time. The main reason behind this is app updates. Developers are constantly pushing updates, every new update brings new features, which ends up eating lots of RAM and CPU.

The best thing you can do is to once you feel the app is bloated, replace it with another lightweight app.

3. Apps Running On The Background

Other crucial things that we neglect are background apps. Believe me or not, you have almost 80% more apps installed on your devices than when you first got it. Just go to the phone’s settings and have a brief look at all of your downloaded apps. Users might think that they have installed 10-15 apps, but are often shocked to see closer to 40-50.

The problem arises when some apps keep running in the background without activating it. There are many apps like email services, messaging apps that are always active. These apps use CPU and RAM, which impacts your phone’s performance.

So, make sure to disable or uninstall the apps which consume lots of RAM and CPU, switch to static wallpaper and say goodbye to live wallpapers.

4. Memory Degradation

Smartphones run on flash memory, the most common type of flash memory is known as NAND. Let me tell you, NAND memory gets slower as it fills up. In short, NAND Memory needs some amount of vacant blocks to operate efficiently.

Secondly, NAND memory degraded with some time of usage. NAND memory is of three types- SLC, MLC, TLC each one of them has to write cycle boundaries per memory cell. Once the limit is touched, the cells wear out and this affects the performance.

The best thing to do here is to stick with 75% of your device’s total storage capacity. For example, if you are having 16GB internal storage, don’t cross the 10GB threshold.

5. Full Storage

Well, storage systems in Android slowdowns as you fill them up, so writing to the file system may be very slow if it’s almost full. You can always check your storage by going through the settings menu. Actually, full storage leaves very little room for your operating system to run properly.

6. Bloatware

Well, Bloatware is the apps that come built-in with your Android smartphones. Smartphone manufacturers normally install some apps which we often don’t need. These bloatware does nothing and runs silently on the background. So, over time these bloatware installs updates and downloads other things which cause our phone’s storage to quickly fill up. So, bloatware is another reason why our phones slow down over time.

7. Launchers

Yes, you read that right! Since after purchasing a new smartphone, we usually head to the Google Play Store and download the good looking launchers. Well, Launchers can transform the look of your Android smartphone, but it can slow down your phone as well. Since Launcher apps for Android constantly runs on the background and it keeps checking for app updates. This thing fills up our internal storage rather quickly and this is why our phone slows down over time.

8. Using Task Killers

Well, I have seen many people choose to have a task killer on their Android smartphone. Running a task killer when your phone is operating slow is just like beating a dead horse here. These task killers actually kill all the app that are stored on Android’s memory which fills up the RAM. However, Android stores apps in your RAM so that it can be quickly switched to without Android having to load them for its slower storage.

9. Using Battery Optimizers

Well, just like task killers, there are several battery optimization apps available on the Google Play Store. These battery optimizers usually don’t work and they just clean the RAM memory. These Battery optimization apps kill app apps that are stored on Android’s memory. So, the next time when you open the app, the system again works to store those apps on the memory. These thing leads to battery drainage and overheating.

10. Higher Expectations

Sometimes, after looking at several high-end smartphones, we perceive our phone to be slower. This is normal human psychology, which constantly seeks more and more. You can’t company Galaxy S3 with Galaxy S8. So, we should learn to accept it or upgrade our device.

These are the reasons why the phone slows down after several months of usage. I hope you like the article, share it with your friends too! If you want to add something else to the article, let us know in the comment box below.

Android smartphones and tablets can become slow and sluggish over time. These easy-to-follow tips will help make your device run like new.

You may have noticed over the past few months that your once-speedy Android device has slowed down considerably. Simple tasks such as switching between apps or returning home are proving more troublesome than before, and you are now experiencing lag in all the wrong places. Things don’t have to be this way, however.

These simple tips and tricks can help speed up your device and make it perform like new:

1. Uninstall or disable unused apps

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

Your device has a limited amount of internal storage and the less free space it has the slower it will perform. If you have filled your device with photos, music, or apps, it is recommended to free up space by either uninstalling unused apps or moving files to cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Related stories:

  • How to root your Android phone
  • 5 apps to prolong your battery life
  • Multitask with YouTube’s new picture-in-picture

Uninstalling apps can be done by going to Settings, opening the Apps menu, and selecting the app you wish to uninstall. Preloaded applications from carriers or manufacturers that cannot be uninstalled, known as bloatware, can at least be disabled and hidden from the app drawer using this method.

On smartphones and tablets that include expandable storage you can also move apps to the microSD card. To do this, enter Settings, go to the Apps menu, click the app you wish to move, and select the “Move to SD card” option.

Too many widgets can affect battery life and performance. Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

2. Clear app caches
Cached data can build up over time in your applications and affect the performance of your device. Deleting individual caches can be done in the Apps menu, but a number of free programs are available through the Google Play store that can automate the process . Some of the most popular ones include App Cache Cleaner and Clean Master, both of which are available for free.

3. Limit widgets and live wallpapers
Many people would argue that widgets are one of the benefits of using an Android device. They can be helpful for finding information quickly without having to open an app, but at the same time they can eat away at battery life and slow your device.

Reducing the number of widgets, especially data-intensive ones like Facebook, will help your smartphone or tablet run more smoothly and last longer. You can remove widgets from the home screen by long-pressing the one you wish to delete and dragging it to the top of the screen.

Another cool Android feature is the option to use a live wallpaper as your background. Like widgets, however, live wallpapers can slow down your device and drain the battery. You can also change your wallpaper with a long press on the home screen.

4. Disable animations
A hidden settings option in Android will give you access to commands you may have never known existed. Go to Settings, About Phone, scroll down to Build number, and tap it seven times. You will now have access to developer options. These special settings allow you to do a variety of things, but they are meant for advanced users and shouldn’t be changed unless you know what you are doing.

One tweak that could speed up your device is disabling animations within the operating system. To do this, open Settings, go to Developer options, and scroll down to the Drawing option. Next, turn off the Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. This will disable animations that occur when you open, close, and switch between apps. Although the interface will look less polished, there should be less lag in performance.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

5. Get software updates
Manufacturers and carriers are continually pushing out new software updates to their devices. It is imperative that you be on the latest firmware as these updates usually include security and bug fixes, among other things that will improve the overall stability of your device. To check to see if there is an update available, go to Settings, select About Phone, and choose the “System updates” option.

6. Rooting, ROMing, and more
Risk takers and advanced users can also root their device , which will open the door to new features and even greater performance boosts. Rooting gives you the ability to overclock the device’s processor, install a custom ROM, and other things; however it also voids your warranty and could cause irreversible damage to the device.

Be sure to check out these five apps that can help prolong your smartphone’s battery life.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

We’ve all heard it: “have you tried turning it off and back on again?” It’s the first step when troubleshooting any tech problem—it even makes your phone perform better when nothing is wrong. But why?

It’s All About the RAM

When it comes to solving performance issues (or just making your phone feel faster), it really boils down to one thing: RAM usage. With most modern operating systems, as you use apps, they fill up the RAM. The more apps you open, the more they use up RAM. It’s just how it works.

But as you close apps—or they’re manually removed from memory—they’re not completely closed out. In fact, remnants of apps stick around, keeping RAM needlessly full, leaving less and less room for new apps. Now, the OS will still move things around to make room for new apps to be loaded into RAM, but that’s where things may start to slow down a little bit—not only does it have to load the app, but things have to be shuffled around in RAM to make room for the new applications to load.

You may have heard the phrase “free RAM is wasted RAM” before, and for the most part, it’s true. All Unix-based operating systems—like Android, for example, are pretty much fine with full RAM. Windows on the desktop works better when there’s a bit of RAM free, but you really don’t have to worry about it. RAM can basically stay full all the time without a lot of issues.

Where you start to run into slowdowns, however, is with RAM “organization.” As things are moved in and out of RAM, they get sort of scattered—pieces of code from the same software can be found all throughout RAM. The good news is that RAM read/write speeds are insanely fast, so the search and collection doesn’t take long.

Cool, So How Does Restarting Help?

It’s actually really simple: when you restart your phone, everything that’s in RAM is cleared out. All the fragments of previously running apps are purged, and all currently open apps are killed. When the phone reboots, RAM is basically “cleaned,” so you’re starting with a fresh slate.

And with that, things are snappier. Apps load and launch quicker. You can switch between running apps quicker. And it will stay this for a while—days, maybe even weeks. I don’t know anyone who restarts their phone that often, so it’s not something that has to be done. Some operating systems are better at managing memory than others, so that’s just something to note. You won’t always notice a massive performance improvement once you restart.

But this doesn’t just boost OS performance—it also fixes common app issues for the same reasons. So, if you’re having issues with one specific app, and you close/reopen it without fixing the problem, a restart may be the solution.

Why? Because even when you swipe an app away, parts of it are still left in RAM. Restarting purges those parts, so it starts clean the next time. This won’t always fix the issue, but sometimes it will. And it’s always worth a shot.

Of course, restarting isn’t a fix-all solution. If a problem persists after a reboot, there’s clearly a bigger issue at hand that will warrant further research. Similarly, if you find yourself having to restart your phone often—say, daily—in order for it to stay usable, you likely have a bigger problem to work out.

This problem isn’t unique to Android, either—try using an older iPad with a new version of iOS and feel how slow it’s become. But the solutions are slightly different for each platform, so let’s talk about why this happens on Android—and how to fix it.

Operating System Updates and Heavier Apps Require More Resources

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Your Android phone doesn’t have the same software it had a year ago (it shouldn’t, at least). If you’ve received Android operating system updates, they may not be as nicely optimized for your device and may have slowed it down. Or, your carrier or manufacturer may have added additional bloatware apps in an update, which run in the background and slow things down.

Even if you haven’t seen a single operating system update, the apps running on your device are newer. As developers gain access to faster smartphone hardware, games and other apps may be optimized for this faster hardware and perform worse on older devices.

This is true on every platform: as the years go by, websites become heavier, desktop applications want more RAM, and PC games become more demanding.

You aren’t still using Microsoft Office 97 on your computer, for example—you’re using a newer version with more features that require more resources. Android apps are the same way.

How to Fix It:

There’s not much you can do to alleviate this. If your operating system seems slow, you could install a custom ROM that doesn’t have the bloatware and slow manufacturer skins many devices include—though keep in mind that this is generally for more advanced users and is often more trouble that it’s worth. If your apps seem slow, try switching to “lite” versions of the apps you’re already using.

Background Processes Can Slow Things Down

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

You’ve probably installed more apps as you continue to use your device, some of which open at startup and run in the background. If you’ve installed a lot of apps that run in the background, they can consume CPU resources, fill up RAM, and slow down your device.

Similarly, if you’re using a live wallpaper or have a large amount of widgets on your home screen, these also take up CPU, graphics, and memory resources. Slim down your home screen and you’ll see an improvement in performance (and maybe even battery life).

How to Fix It:

Disable live wallpapers, remove widgets from your home screen, and uninstall or disable apps you don’t use. To check what apps are using background processes, visit the Running Services menu in Developer Settings (on Marshmallow and above). If you don’t use an app that’s running in the background, uninstall it. If you can’t uninstall it because it came with your device, disable it.

Full Storage Leaves Little Room for Your OS to Run

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them upWhy android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Solid-state drives slow down as you fill them up, so writing to the file system may be very slow if it’s almost full. This causes Android and apps to appear much slower. The Storage screen in the Settings menu shows you how full your device’s storage is and what’s using the space.

Cache files can consume quite a bit of storage space if allowed to grow unchecked, so clearing cache files can free up disk space and make your file system perform better—at least, until those caches inevitably fill up again.

How to Fix It:

Photos and videos that you’ve taken with your camera are going to be the largest culprit here, so back them up and delete them from your phone often. You can even do this manually by using Google Photos.

Otherwise, uninstall apps you don’t use, delete files you don’t need, and clear app caches to free up space. You can also just perform a factory reset and only install the apps you need to end up with a like-new device.

To clear cached data for all installed apps at once, open the Settings app, tap Storage, scroll down, tap Cached data, and tap OK (Note: This option is only available on Nougat and below).

On Android Oreo, things are a little more difficult. Google removed the option to see all cached data for a more granular (and arguably easier to understand) approach. While the Storage menu is still found in Settings > Storage, you’ll notice it looks dramatically different than it did in previous versions of Android. To find cached data taking up space, you have to jump into each appropriate category, like the “Music & Audio” or “Movies & TV apps” sections. You’ll find cached data for all other apps in the “Other Apps” section.

What Not to Do

Any good list of how to speed up your aging device should also include what not to do. Really, it can be summed up in one basic sentence in this situation: don’t use task killers.

I’m likely beating a dead horse here, but it’s crazy how many people still have this antiquated idea that task killers are somehow required to make an Android device perform its best by killing background tasks. This is just wrong—don’t install a task killer for any reason, regardless of how laggy your device is. Just follow the steps in this guide. Seriously. It’ll help. Trust me.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Here’s Why Android Phones Slow Down Over Time

Here’s Why Android Phones Slow Down Over Time: If you’re having an Android smartphone for a long time, you might have already experienced situations where the device becomes slower than normal. You could feel the slowness of your phone while browsing the internet while launching a game, or while transferring files etc.

However, have you ever wondered, why does this happen even those with high-performance hardware? There are actually several reasons that lead to the loss of performance, and the main reasons are directly related to the use itself.

Here in this article, we have gathered some top reasons why our Android smartphone slows down over the time. So, make sure to check it all right now and find what’s the exact reason behind the slow down.

Table of Contents

Lots Of Unused Apps

If you open up your Android’s app drawer, you will certainly find that your Android is a mess, you can’t find what you need so quickly because you install the app for every need. So, with lots of applications installed, you got lots of files and cookies which disrupt the system and your processor takes longer to find the data needed which cause the phone to operate slow. Deleting the unnecessary apps is the only option here.

Background Processes

While using your smartphone, it is quite common for you to open several applications for a variety of tasks. Surely you do this more than once, right? Although you’re not all loaded at all, many of the processes that start with apps remain loaded and take up memory on your smartphone. As you know, this generates slowness.

Open up your App settings and check how many programs are running in the background. Having this information, you will know what can be excluded from the device for a performance gain.

Too Much Cache

This point mainly affects users who often surf a lot on the Internet – whether in browsers or even in social networking apps. To streamline browsing, these applications save some information in temporary files, ensuring that they are loaded faster in a later access. The problem is that after a while this ends up accumulating too many files, weighing in the system.

Fortunately, solving this problem is actually very simple. To do this, go to “Settings” and then “Storage”. Locate the “Cached Data” option and clear the cache files to fix the problem.

Widgets & Live Wallpapers

No matter how animated wallpapers, launchers with effects make your smartphone look much better, this kind of increment can weigh heavily on memory and processing power – especially on smartphones with less RAM. So, the best option is to avoid those apps.

Resource Hogging Apps & Malware Filled Apps

Because of the constant modifications that Android undergoes, there are many times when it can go through minor corruptions – and this can cause major problems in the long run. The most well-known consequence is the slowness felt by users or in apps that run with errors.

For this reason, there are sometimes when just cleaning the storage is not enough and it becomes necessary to do a hard reset on your cell phone. In addition to restoring the operating system, you will also eliminate unnecessary traces and data that may be weighing in on the device’s memory and processor.

How To Do Hard Reset?

If you are going to do the formatting directly from the operating system, all you need to do is follow a few steps on your device. Go to the settings window and then search for “Backup and Reset”. After that, click on “Restore Factory Settings” and confirm the action. In a few moments, the process will start and soon you will have your smartphone with everything reset.

So, What do you do to keep Android running always the right way?

By Sean Riley 27 April 2017

If your Android phone has slowed down over time, you can make it run faster by following just a few quick tips. Here’s how to do it.

Your Android phone started off running smoothly and responding instantly to every tap, but over time, even the fastest phone will start to show its age. And with a device you use as much as your smartphone, every missed swipe or extra moment waiting for an app to load can feel like an eternity.

Before you decide that it’s time to start shopping for a new smartphone, give these five tips a try. In less than 5 minutes, your phone could be back up to speed.

Clear your Cached Data (30 seconds)

Your apps are constantly caching small pieces of data, which typically will speed up the performance of your phone. But if your device is running low on storage, cached data will start hurting more than it helps. Here’s how to clear it out and start fresh.

1. Navigate to Settings on your phone.You can find settings in the app drawer.

2. Tap Storage.

3. Tap Cached data.

4. Select OK.

Disable Animations (1 minute)

Animations make all of the transitions and interactions with your operating system appear more fluid — right up until your phone starts slowing down and those animations start looking like stop motion video. If the animations aren’t flowing so well anymore, turning them off completely will both look better and free up a little processing power.

1. Navigate to Settings on your phone.You can find settings in the app drawer.

2. Tap About phone.

3. Tap the Build number 7 times.You will see a message that you have enabled Developer options.

4. Return to Settings and Tap Developer options.

5. Tap Windows animation scale and select “Animation off”.

6. Repeat Step 5 with Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale.

Remove/Disable Bloatware and Unused Apps (1 minute)

Right out of the box, your Android phone probably had a number of apps pre-installed by your carrier or the phone manufacturer that have gone completely unused. It’s even more likely that over months or years, you’ve added some unused apps of your own that are still taking up precious space on your phone. If things are slowing down on your device, a lack of available storage might just be the culprit. Here’s how to free up space.

1. Navigate to Settings on your phone. You can find settings in the app drawer.

2. Tap Apps.

3. Find an app you wish to uninstall and tap on it.Each app displays the amount of storage it is using below the app name so you’ll know how much you are freeing up.

4. Tap Uninstall and select OK to confirm.

5. Repeat Step 4 as needed until all unwanted apps are removed.

Remove or Reduce Widgets (30 seconds)

Widgets are an amazing feature of the Android operating system that allow you to see and interact with apps on your homescreen without needing to actually launch the app. While they will save you time when your phone is quick and new, eventually they can drag the speed of your entire device down. It’s time to cut back or remove them entirely.

1. Navigate to the widget you wish to remove.

2. Long press on the widget. Remove and App Info will appear at the top of the screen.

3. Drag the widget to Remove and release.

Optimize Chrome Browser (30 seconds)

With about 90 percent of Android users sticking with the Chrome browser, this is going to help the vast majority of you speed up your mobile web browsing. As an added bonus, it will save you some data if you aren’t on an unlimited cellphone plan.

Data Saver mode in Chrome for Android allows Google to compress the pages you are viewing by around 30 percent and up to 50 percent for video, meaning less data usage and faster browsing.

1. Navigate to the Chrome Browser.

2. Tap the overflow menu button in the upper-right corner.

3. Tap Settings.

4. Tap Data Saver.

5. Toggle the switch in the upper-right corner.

By Robert Merkel, Monash University

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

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There are plenty of conspiracy theories seeking to explain why our phones, tablets and computers always slow down as they get older.

Internet searches for “iPhone slow” spike after the release of a new-generation model, but there’s no evidence to suggest that manufacturers deliberately degrade the performance of older devices with software updates.

Computer hardware does not typically slow down over its useful life.

Instead, there are several other reasons why smartphones, tablets and PCs start to seem less snappy.

The good news is that you can often take steps to improve your existing device’s performance.

Memory bloat

Each time they update, apps typically become larger and more full of features. Visual pizzazz is also a major attraction, and so desktop and mobile operating systems periodically receive significant redesigns.

All that extra functionality and glitz requires your device to do more computation than it did when it arrived home from the store.

Given that it doesn’t magically speed up to compensate, it has less spare capacity available to respond to you quickly.

Newer apps not only tend to do more computation, they also usually take up more space in your device’s storage.

Devices only have a limited amount of fast “Random Access Memory” (RAM) available.

One of a device’s data storage components, RAM is the rough equivalent of an office whiteboard — fast and convenient, but limited in capacity. Its contents are wiped every time you switch your device off.

When it runs out of space in RAM, your device can shift things to and from the much slower (and permanent until explicitly erased) data storage, flash memory, which takes considerable time.

In older PCs with mechanical hard disks, this used to be called “thrashing”, as users heard the hard disk’s read-write heads moving across the platters as they waited for data to be shifted in and out of the filled-up RAM.

Flash memory is silent and much faster than magnetic hard disks ever were, but it is still orders of magnitude slower than RAM.

Why android phones slow down over time and how to speed them up

Flickr: Marcin Bajer, CC BY-NC 2.0

Excessive caching

To make their apps run faster, some designers make them store copies of things in RAM that they think the user might want to see again to speed things up.

For instance, a web browser might retain a copy of what the content in each tab looks like, even if only one tab is visible at a given moment.

Known as caching, this makes things work much faster — until your system starts to run out of memory.

For caching to be effective, the amount of space devoted to it must be carefully managed by the application and the device’s operating system.

Some app developers don’t put the effort that they should into doing this well, and their applications not only slow down over time, but can drag the rest of the system down with them too.

More and more software

It’s also not uncommon for useful software to be accompanied by “crapware” — less-than-useful add-ons like browser toolbars — that use system resources and impact performance.

Additional software can slow a system down in many ways: filling up permanent storage, using up more precious RAM, and using the computer’s central processing unit “in the background” without you noticing.

All these factors can result in the system having fewer resources available to respond to you promptly.

A new or factory-reset device tends to have less of this accumulated “cruft” (unwanted data and software) installed, and therefore has more resources available to do the tasks that a user actually wants.

Another unpleasant possibility is that some of the computing capabilities of your device are being used by malware — whether viruses, worms or other varieties of malicious software.

What can you do?

You’re not going to be able to match the performance of the latest and greatest high-end smartphone, tablet, or PC with an older model, as newer devices generally have fundamentally faster components.

But with a small amount of effort, you can get the most out of your existing device.

Whether you’re using a phone, tablet, PC or Mac, the most useful zero-cost action you can take is to uninstall unnecessary apps and add-ons.

However, in some circumstances it may be easier — after carefully backing up all your data — to simply perform the equivalent of a factory reset and reinstall the operating system from scratch, adding only the apps you actually need.

Robert Merkel is a lecturer in software engineering at Monash University.

Originally published in The Conversation