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6 min read 11 comments

5 features you must disable on any new smartphone

So you’ve received a new smartphone and before you can even blink, you’ve prepared it with all your favorite apps and services, but are you sure you’ve configured the device correctly? Let’s take a look in greater detail.

The items in this article aren’t meant to be treated as commands that each user must follow. Everyone can choose to disable these features or not, depending on their habits and preferences. That’s also the beauty of Android: you get to make choices.

Optimization and fluidity

We all want an ultra-fast smartphone that loads applications quickly and offers maximum  battery life. Some of you will have an advantage over others (if you have a powerful smartphone), while others will have more difficulties. In both cases, it’s recommended that you follow a few simple guidelines to avoid as many problems as possible.

1. Automatic brightness and other features that affect battery life

Manufacturers offer an automatic brightness system. The smartphone detects the ambient light level and adapts its display so that it remains comfortable to read. This is a laudable idea, but the resolution is disappointing most of the time since the luminosity threshold is usually higher than you need. Brightness means energy, and the consumption will increase, which means your battery will ultimately be paying for it. In short, turn off the automatic brightness and calibrate it yourself. You’ll get more battery life out of it.

The screen is the element that most affects your smartphone’s autonomy, so you have nothing to lose by taking a look at your screen options to see if something needs to be changed. This of course depends on your use and habits, but in most cases it’s useless to keep the screen on for more than a minute.

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It is sometimes necessary to do a little searching to configure your device well. / © AndroidPIT

2. Useless and cumbersome bloatware

Your smartphone most likely contains at least one app that doesn’t interest you. Whether it’s a service from Google (for example Duo), an app pre-installed by your operator, an app from the manufacturer, or a sponsored app. In short, the number of these apps varies according to the manufacturer, but what is certain is that these apps not only take up space, but may also run in the background. In many cases, these apps can be deleted (and you’re better off deleting them).

Let’s say it once and for all: as a rule Google apps can’t be deleted (at least not without hacking). Some apps pre-installed by manufacturers can’t be uninstalled either. So what to do? You can simply disable them: not only will they take up less space in the system, but they also will no longer bother you. To do this, go to the Settings, find the list of apps and search to find the one you’re looking for.

3. Animations and transitions

If your smartphone isn’t very powerful, you should do everything you can to make it run a bit more smoothly. There’s one little trick that can help you on a daily basis: disabling transitions and animations. To be more specific, these are the effects you see when you switch from one screen or app to another: they can be pretty, but they’re unnecessary. If you disable them, transitions will be faster.

All you have to do is simply enable developer options. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find the Developer options menu and ‘Window animation scale’, ‘Transition animation scale’, and ‘Animation duration scale’. Once you’ve done this, you’ll just have to reduce it (for example to 0.5) or deactivate it.

User experience

The experience you have with your smartphone depends on many elements, some of which can be quite subjective. Some things can be really painful on a daily basis, so perhaps some of the following points will be familiar to you.

4. Vibrations and sounds

These vibrations and sounds are intended to mimic the response of a physical button, but in practice they’re usually quite irritating. Even worse, they’ll impact your device’s autonomy. In short, you should ask yourself if this feature really is of value to you. If this isn’t the case, you should deactivate these features.

To disable these sounds and vibrations:

  • Go to Settings > Sound & notifications
  • Once you’re in this menu, you can disable everything: Dial pad sounds, Screen locking sounds, Charging sounds, Touch sounds, Vibrate on touch, etc.

Please note: if the smartphone is being used by an older person who doesn’t have a great tense of touch, it’s recommended that you leave the vibration on so that they can better feel the screen.

Privacy and confidentiality

If these words are important to you, you know that they’ve been in the headlines in recent weeks. The Cambridge Analytica case has catapulted Facebook to the forefront (due to criticism of its business model and the exposure of some of its practices), and other big names in technology have quickly followed up by providing more precise user conditions.

5. Personalization for advertisements

Of course, Google uses your private data to get to know you better, which allows it to target you with ads. By accepting Google on your phone, you accept the rules of the game: it will get information about you through its various services and apps. You can’t do much about this (unless you boycott Google), but you can decide whether apps can use your ad ID or not. If you decide to disable this option, Google won’t be able to offer you targeted ads (but they’ll continue to send you ads anyway).

To do this, simply go to Settings and search in the Google menu. You’ll then find ‘Ads’, and there you’ll be able to set which apps may use your ad ID to create profiles and run custom ads. Of course, if you want to see targeted ads it’s better to leave this option enabled, but you won’t prevent Google from getting information about you.

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An effective business model… but not without its fair share of drawbacks. / © AndroidPIT

Do you disable these features when you get a new smartphone? Let us know what you think in the comments!


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  • Man, vibration and sounds as feedback should be disabled by default. It is annoying...

  • techie 6 months ago Link to comment

    If I don't use it's either uninstalled or disabled. The older versions of Android didn't allow disabling apps. Does it save battery? Yes it does. It as well it frees up memory being used, plus reduces background data, that is being wasted.

  • I don't buy high-end phone so I always disable animations and transitions on my phone.

  • Usually even with auto brightness you can lower the base level. Also disabling an app doesn't clear space in the system partition and only a very small portion on the data partition if the app never had been used

  • how much energy do you save by doing all this configurations on to your smartphone? how many added time do I get from my battery in a single day for this?

  • Little known fact (at least to the author of the above article): On Samsung phones if you have automatic brightness on and direct sunlight hits the screen (Or any very bright light) the screen brightness will jump about 35% higher than is possible to set manually. You can easily read the screen with the sun shining directly on it. If you turn automatic brightness off this won't happen.

  • Sorin 6 months ago Link to comment

    At first glance, for those who first put their hands on a smartphone, everything will be very difficult and incomprehensible. If it is easy for a home appliance to understand how it works, often with just one button for on-off, smartphones are a bit more complicated.
    Those who have a bit of experience (!), But I met people who were afraid to use these phones. I explained them in very simple steps they had to do, then I noticed I am glad to use it.
    Welcome to the new and great Universe!

  • Amazing...Thank you for sharing this information

  • Much of this relates to preinstallations and Google apps, which different users will have big differences in using. I've kept an old Android J tablet with 8gb storage around as a spare, and regained a lot of space by removing (among other things) the main Google search app, Google Maps, GMail and Google translate and simply using Chrome browser's Google search box and bookmarking Google's excellent web pages for the same services, as needed. This also saves the nuisance of downloading the constant updates to those apps, all implemented up in the cloud. (As far as I've seen, Google's new lightweight Go "apps" seem little more than homescreen bookmarks to Chrome web pages shown in System WebView.) As a general replacement for resource and storage hungry Play Store apps with their constant update nagging, it's worth checking for browser page equivalents that might do just as well.

    • Thanx for this info, sir. I thought the device would stop working if i killed all the Google junk. The constant updating is a pain in a lobe somewhere. Tried turning auto update off, but the phone bugs you 'bout the updates needed and that's it's turned off and can't install 'em. My trusted and beloved old school Galaxy s4 and I do well together, but we don't care for the constant adjustments and reconfigures and other things better expressed using bad English. Thanx again. L

  • Nice article. The number 5 has always been my major concerned. Those dial pad touch tone, screen Lock tone and the tap sounds can be so annoying especially when you don't want the person next to you know you are busy chatting when Program is going on in a church/social gathering. As for the touch vibration, it makes the typing more sweet and stressed free...

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