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Why is my Android device running slow? Here's how to speed up your phone

Authored by: Mark Wilson — 1 month ago

When you first got your shiny new Android handset you were probably blown away by how fast it was. But over time you may well have noticed that your phone is starting to run slow. Don't worry - it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with it. Here are some top tips you can use to help speed up your Android phone and get things running quickly again.

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Real-time system and app performance on Android with Trepn Profiler. / © ANDROIDPIT

Just about every phone on the market is liable to suffer from slowdown at some point in its life. Your Galaxy S5 could slow to a crawl, or your Moto X (2014) may motor less than it used to. You may notice that apps take longer to load than they used to, that there is a lag between tapping an option and an app responding, or things may just feel generally sluggish. You don’t need to put up with this. Try some of the following techniques to make your phone run faster.

AndroidPIT Trepn Profiler main menu overlay
The first thing to do is identify the problem. Qualcomm's Trepn Profiler can help. / © ANDROIDPIT

Identify the problem

The first thing you want to do is find out what is causing the problems: an app, multiple apps, the system itself? Trepn Profiler by Qualcomm will show you the real-time CPU load for individual cores, an overview of network traffic for both data and Wi-Fi, GPU loads and RAM usage (just for starters).

Trepn can also produce app-specific or system-wide profiles and contains various methods for displaying accumulated data. You can save your profiled data for offline viewing and analysis and even have performance overlays on running apps. Once you've figured out your specific issue, you can move on to the solutions below.

AndroidPIT Trepn Profiler performance graph app profiler
Real-time CPU usage for individual cores (left) and app profiling options (right). / © ANDROIDPIT
Trepn Profiler Install on Google Play

Running out of space

All those photos you've taken and all of those apps you’ve installed can take their toll. Your phone needs a little breathing room to run smoothly and if you're running low on space, things can slow down.

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Android includes various ways to free up space and help speed up your device. / © ANDROIDPIT

You can check how much space you have left by heading to the Storage section of Settings. One of the first ways to free up space is to tap Applications can see which apps you can uninstall.

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If you've been using your phone for a while, there are probably several apps you can remove. / © ANDROIDPIT

Tap the entry for an app you no longer need and then tap Uninstall. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary for any apps you feel you can live without.

There are other ways you can free up space as well. The files you have downloaded are probably still sitting in storage wasting space and can be removed. In storage, tap Downloads, select the files you want to remove and then tap the Bin button.

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Downloads and app caches occupy valuable space that could be put to better use. / © ANDROIDPIT

Many of the apps you have installed use data caches in an attempt to speed up operations. This is effective up to a point, but if you are running short of space, it can actually be counter-productive. To free up this space, hit the Cached data option and then tap OK to confirm.

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Free up as much space as possible, and you might be surprised at the difference it makes. / © ANDROIDPIT

More files ripe for deletion can be found in the Miscellaneous files section. Tick the boxes next to any types of file you'd like to remove – backups, files that have been received via Bluetooth, playlist files, and so on – and then tap the bin button. You can keep an eye on how much space you have freed up by looking at the Available space section.

You can also disable the apps that came pre-loaded on your phone but you really don’t use all that much. If you have rooted your Android, you can get rid of these apps easily. If not, you can simply go to the app properties and disable the app to prevent it from running and using up your phone’s resources.

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Widgets can be a waste of resources, so kill any you don't really need. / © ANDROIDPIT

Cut back widgets

All those widgets you have running on your home screen may be useful, but they also take up their fair share of resources.

If you have any widgets running that you don’t really need, consider disabling them. There's no harm in having some active, but you will notice an element of slow down with too many running at the same time. Just be a little selective.

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Those fancy extras offered by your launcher of choice could be slowing down your device! / © ANDROIDPIT

Animations and extras

Depending on the launcher you are using, you may find that there are various animations and special effects in place. These may look great, but they can also slow things down.

Check in your launcher's settings to see if there is a way to disable any of these unnecessary extras, and you could earn yourself a speed boost.

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Terminating unused apps and freeing up RAM will help with the speed of your device. / © ANDROIDPIT

Close apps and free up RAM

Multi-tasking several apps makes it easy to switch between different tools, but there can also be an impact on performance. You can quickly close down any apps you are no longer using by calling up the running apps list Pressing and hold the home key and then swipe away any apps you want to exit.

While you are at this screen, tap the pie chart button to the lower right of the screen and then move to the RAM section. Tap the Clear memory button and any background processes that are running unnecessarily will be closed down.

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Sometime, something as simple as a restart is all that's needed for a speed boost. / © ANDROIDPIT

Restart your device!

A quick and simple fix for a slow device is to simply restart it. This can clear out cache, stop unnecessary tasks from running, and get things running smoothly again.

Just hold down the power button, select the Restart option, and then tap OK to confirm.

Dig deeper

Don't forget you can also keep tabs on the apps using lots of battery by going to Settings > Battery. You can also monitor RAM usage in Settings > Apps (or App Manager, depending on your brand of phone) and there's even more nerdy goodies in Process Stats in Developer Options – if you don't have this setting enabled, go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build Number seven times until a notification pops up.

We've shared some other great apps for monitoring system performance on Android, apps to give your Android a performance boost and tips to increase available RAM on Android. From what we can see Trepn Profiler deserves a rightful place amongst these other A-listers.

If you're looking for more device-specific speed tips, check out these solutions:

Do you have any tips and techniques you use to speed things up? Do you have any apps you use optimize the process?

Mark cut his journalist teeth writing for print magazines at the turn of the millennium, and then embraced the web as his permanent office. He has worked with just about every mobile operating system that has existed since the early 90s, but found Android to be his spiritual home. Always on the hunt for the newest and most exciting hardware and software, Mark is keen to share his discoveries.

26 comments

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  • uwiragiye simon 1 month ago Link to comment

    hello dear members , i have an issue of being stopped on whatsapp....if i try to my number i see this message that says ...you are no longer allowed to use whatsapp service on this number +250788708948 how cat tell me how to overcome this issue.thanks alot. give me feedback please

    0
  • Carolyn Flaherty 1 month ago Link to comment

    Your Android is a powerful device, but powerful output means powerful input. In other words, the more you use your device the quicker you're going to drain the battery, and batteries drain quickly on Android devices.

    0
  • Moussa 1 month ago Link to comment

    I'm referring to you @Madars Mar .

    1
  • Moussa 1 month ago Link to comment

    I have a note 4and I never had to download a booster for it SO I don't Know what you're talking about.

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  • Leslie Anne Chatterton 2 months ago Link to comment

    I would dispute your claim that Android users have to be "worried about lags". My OnePlus One has never had that issue and it is almost a year old. IOS users have other issues... it is no more perfect than Android IMHO.

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  • Madars 2 months ago Link to comment

    ios users dont have to be worried about laggs, but android users have to download boosters becouse their phones are slow. that sucks

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  • Leslie Anne Chatterton 4 months ago Link to comment

    Coloured boxes have nothing to do with it.

    Your phone comes with "user" access; this means there are many things you cannot do. "Rooting" gives you full, unlimited administrative access to the heart of your phone. This allows you to remove "built in" apps and change the operating system (the rom) to 3rd party alternatives with more features. It also makes it very easy to ruin the phone if you don't know what you are doing. Only take this step if you are prepared to do a lot of research and proceed very slowly and carefully.

    You have been warned!

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  • Koit Kranig 4 months ago Link to comment

    Can anybody tell me what is rooting in android 4.4.2? Is it in about the phone and red screen with android 4.4..2 logo and some colored boxes flying around?

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  • James Ahn 8 months ago Link to comment

    Other tricks:

    1) Wipe your phone
    2) Install alternative apps that run FB, etc.
    3) Custom OS

    0
  • Paisan NYC 8 months ago Link to comment

    +1 on the recommendation for "App Cache Cleaner - 1Tap Clean". I've used it for a few weeks based on another AndroidPIT recommendation back then, and it sped up my phone greatly after deleting the crap cache.

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  • Hans Meiser 8 months ago Link to comment

    I guess even Win8.1 will do a better job. Gonna get a Lumia 630 today for just €99 and will report here.

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  • Amat Mulisha 8 months ago Link to comment

    No lagging on ios?

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    • Hans Meiser 8 months ago Link to comment

      Yep, no lagging - never.

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      • Dimitar Berberu 8 months ago Link to comment

        Google & you can find that ios can lag even it is designed for a few devices with limited functionality (much easier).
        Android is more generic/complex multitasking system that runs on many more devices including future Internet of Things (eg. cameras, watches...) - not as easy to implement.

        Your 'investment' will be tested when you have to mix & learn multiple interfaces.
        My investment was decided on a conclusion that I need a universally available (not just <15%), scalable (Chromium), with removable micro SD to back up & share with PC/Cameras without sw/cables. To move Android from one to any other brand is a matter of minutes by moving the SD with all content & apps & simple login. Try it on ios. Android apps can work on Chromium & other platforms.
        Horses for courses.

        You are right on windows (value for money). I expect Windows to eventually pick up on mobiles with a 'familiar' interface.
        Unfortunately Microsoft killed Nokia.

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      • Choon Keat 1 month ago Link to comment

        Why not try remove S5 and S6 SD card?

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  • Mark Rgs 8 months ago Link to comment

    Fanboy 🔝

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  • Hans Meiser 8 months ago Link to comment

    Problems iOS-Users don't have.

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    • Lexcorp 8 months ago Link to comment

      My devices:

      1.- Moto X 2013 (4.4.4)
      - Time To open an app: 0
      - Lag: 0.

      2.- iPad 2 (iOS 8)
      - Time To open an app: zzzzzzz...
      - Lag: zzzz.

      3.- iPhone 4 (iOS 7)
      - Time To open an app: zzz.
      - Lag: zz.

      iOS users have lag. A so much in some iDevices.

      5
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