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Top 3 apps to boost Android system performance

Update: List revamped!

Any phone will eventually become slower over time and overloaded with files, which can lead to frustrating delays in opening apps, changing settings and doing virtually anything else. Thankfully, there are a few handy tools to help you declutter, remove duplicate files and generally tidy up your phone to keep it in tip-top condition. We've put together a list of three essentials you'll want to consider downloading today.

1. SD Maid

Despite this being a non-ordered list of the best three apps for keeping your device running in top condition, SD Maid is first in this list for a reason: the free version is really useful, and the paid app adds even more options for cleaning your device in just a few taps. Best of all, it does it without overloading you with other dubious functions (like 'RAM boosting') or trying to get you to install other apps by the same company.

The main overview of the app gives you access to CorpseFinder, SystemCleaner, AppCleaner and Databases. These are all individual tools that each perform a different function. If you delve into the menus you'll also find tools for finding and removing duplicate files of all types and enhanced AppControl tools. The most frequently used tools are those four found in the Overview panel though.

androidpit sdmaid
SD Maid is well worth installing if you want to clear junk files. / © AndroidPIT

CorpseFinder searches for and removes fragments of files or directories from apps you've uninstalled. SystemCleaner scans for known file types and locations that can be deleted without causing problems; advanced users can set their own rules for targeting files. AppCleaner, which requires the Pro version of the app, frees up space on your phone by deleting data from apps that it thinks can be safely deleted without losing any of your app settings. And finally, Databases attempts to speed up your phone by using an SQL VACUUM command to release empty pages without losing any data.

Duplicates isn't listed in the Overview menu but is a powerful tool in de-duping your phone of a whole bunch of different file types. It does that by checking duplicate file sizes and checksums to ensure they are indeed duplicates, rather than using file names or dates.

This is another Pro-only feature though. If you do decide to pay the $3.49 to unlock all the options, you'll also get access to a scheduler that lets you automatically run various tasks at certain times and a Statistics section showing you how much space has been saved.

SD Maid - System Cleaning Tool Install on Google Play
Opinion by Ben Woods
Using a performance boosting app is essential for my Android user experience
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2. Greenify

Greenify is a frequently cited app in lists like this, primarily for its core skill: saving your battery by stopping apps from draining you battery in the background. While Android 6.0 brought Doze mode, which offers similar functionality, it hasn't entirely eliminated this particularly useful app. Its simplicity also makes it pretty appealing.

Unlike other all-in-one type apps, Greenify focuses on just making sure your battery lasts as long as possible by controlling the behaviour of your apps. It's mostly an automatic affair once you've installed it and set it up, but you can open up the app at any time to see what's running in the background and any other potential battery drains.

androidpit greenify 1
Greenify can help your battery last longer by hibernating your background apps. / © AndroidPIT

Just select as many apps as you want to manually hibernate at once and then hit the 'Zzzz' button. Greenify is free, but if you want access to experimental features, you'll need to pay for the 'Donation' version of the app, which currently costs $2.99.

For that, you get things like an experimental boost mode, different options for receiving notifications from apps that have been put into hibernation, and more options for hibernating system apps safely.

However, all that is still experimental, and the developer warns that the features could crash, or at worst, brick, your phone. You'll also need root access for some of the more advanced features.

You get seven days to request a refund if things don't work out though, instead of the usual 15-minute refund window. For most people, the free version will be all you need.

Greenify Install on Google Play

3. File Commander

OK, file management apps do not sound like fun, and really, they're probably not. File Commander, however, is incredibly useful if you use your Android phone as your PC too. And if you're willing to spring for the paid upgrade, it'll give you even more.

If not, you'll have to put up with the ads, but there are enough pro features to make paying worthwhile, and naturally it supports files on SD cards, stored in the cloud, FTP servers and local network addresses.

As well as providing an overview of your storage (handily splitting items into common libraries like Pictures, Videos, Music, Documents, Downloads), there are options for getting an overview of what's using up the most internal storage on your phone, so you can easily delete or transfer those items. Indeed, there's also a PC Transfer option that provides you with an IP address to type into your PC browser, giving you direct access to files on your phone via your computer.

androidpit file commander
File Commander is much more than your average file manager. / © AndroidPIT

There's also the option to share your screen with up to five other users of the app, provided you're all connected to the same Wi-Fi network or close enough to use Bluetooth. You're not going to use it very often, most likely, but it could come in handy one day or for anyone that regularly collaborates on work and needs to share files.

Add in the option to encrypt and hide any of your files behind a passphrase lock, a file converter and additional options for Nougat devices, and File Commander is well worth considering downloading.

File Commander - File Manager Install on Google Play

What other apps do you use to help your system perform better? Let us know in the comments below - and don't forget why you like them.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Peter Harwood Apr 13, 2016

    Just can't believe you androidpit only three articles before this one your telling everyone to remove these useless apps because there no good and just use battery power

38 comments

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  • You forget SSD Boost (Top one App), Droid Optimizer and Purify. All require Root.

  • Hi, I'm the dev of SSD Boost,
    a work in progress project which has the goal to speed performance and extend endurance of smartphone internal flash memory.
    Before installing read reviews, then try it and let me know.

  • Generally agree with sceptics for newer devices with surplus RAM and CPU, but on my aging Android J tablet I use Greenify, and Super Cleaner (Hawk App Studio) when it clogs up. [Updated - free versions of CCleaner, SDMaid do not work on the Android M cache - Super Cleaner does, and also has a few useful features for the old J tablet. A bit cartoonish for me, but works.]

    On recommendation of another reader here I installed a feature rich dual pane file manager called X-plore. I got very tired of the ads on ES (and everything else Cheetah takes over) and wouldn't pay when a very good free ad-free file manager is available.

  • I've been using the pro version of SD Maid for years. Nothing out there comes even close. It gets rid of junk and leftover files from apps, and more. Stopping RAM and deleting cache too frequently does more harm than good, it also drains the battery faster. Google it, do your homework.

    • Deleting cache too frequently does more harm than good? Really?? I never knew that. I do it daily usually. Sometimes more than once a day. I just reset my phone though because it was really acting up. So everything is good so far. But I will Google that info you gave us. Thanks!

  • Sara 8 months ago Link to comment

    I used Purify, it is ok on my phone.

  • Jack beck 8 months ago Link to comment

    I use this one that his very useful
    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.webnapp.ramspeedcleaner1&hl=en

  • .

  • i use cleanmaster lite and i have no complaints

    • cleanmaster and similar apps slow your phone more down than speed it up. chache is actually important to launch and use apps faster and android can automaticly manage ram,

    • CleanMaster will eventually mess up your phone though; you may wanna google that.

  • Unnecessary file, folders and cache in phone are main reasons to slow down the speed any android device.

    • no it isnt. cache actually speeds it up because its like a like preload of the that than doesnt have to be calculated again

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  • CJ Brown Apr 24, 2016 Link to comment

    I tend to look at these articles as opinions which offer suggestions that can enhance your experience (on your Android smartphone) ..... so, if one finds an article which is a different opinion of another article, one does have the freedom of choice to decide what information is useful for them ....

    I found a lot of useful information in this article and I'm grateful that AndroidPit had it published. I don't think certain outbursts are going to solve much (but that's only my opinion). As for sponsorships? It's no different than the advertisements that pop up on a page when reading an article (I ignore everything unless it's relevant information to me)...


    As Rick Sanchez says to his grandson Morty " Wubba lubba dub dubs!" :)

  • Android Pit seems to be allowing its editors/writers to dig themselves into a deep pit of bad writing, bad advice and spreading general stupidity.
    Isn't there an editor-in-chief who reviews articles before they are published or is it just a free-for-all at AP??
    Just an FYI for AP; android users tend to be more tech savvy than the average user so posting contradictory articles full of non-sense won't go unnoticed and you'll eventually just become a place to avoid. stop it!!

  • Flávio Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Sponsored article? Probably. Androidpit is made by many people and they don't have a common opinion on a variety of topics , hence the contradiction of this article with numerous others.
    In my opinion such apps are useless.

  • Kevin V Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I had a good laugh about that as well! Telling us that we must remove boosters! Then you post the top 3! Make up your mind!

  • Thomas S Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Lol, exactly what I said on the other article: you publish an article telling how bad are cleaner apps and after, you write an article listing the top 3 of them? Is that a sponsored article or what?

  • Tried Android Assistant ( paid version) a while back, taught me about Android and that for me I'm better off managing my device myself... the biggest performance gain I got came from tapping uninstall..

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