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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.