With regular, long-term software updates and current midrange devices packing enough power to handle most apps and games, the only real threat to your phone’s speed is age. Even budget devices pack a punch these days. From the moment you unbox your shiny new device, you install apps and games and store plenty of junk files that will gum things up. You’ll drain and recharge the battery and test the phone to its performance and temperature limits with demanding applications. It’s a vicious cycle.
Eventually, even the best Android phones will show signs of slowing down after a few years. There are things you can do to improve your phone’s performance. While these methods won’t make it as fast as the latest-generation flagships like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, you should notice some significant performance boosts.
Here are our top tips to put some pep back into your Android device.
1. Free up storage space
If your phone is running out of storage space, things will slow to a crawl. Google claims you’ll notice performance issues when there’s less than 10% available on-device storage. We think keeping your unused storage space around 20% is a better bet.
Here’s how to remove the clutter:
settings or search for “storage” in the Settings search bar. You’ll find it under
Battery and device care
on a Samsung phone.
Follow these steps to free up storage space
if your available storage is low.
Most manufacturers have a way to optimize storage space. For example, Samsung phones have a Device Care option that removes old files. You can also download the Files by Google app to clear app caches, duplicate images, large files, and unwanted media files.
2. Uninstall unused apps
Unused apps take up storage space and may clog the memory (RAM) if they run in the background, slowing down your phone. Uninstalling old apps often improves system smoothness and can improve battery life. There are different ways to uninstall apps, but you can usually long-press the app icon and either select Uninstall or drag the icon to the uninstall prompt that appears at the top of the screen.
3. Change system animation speed
Changing the system animation speed on your Android phone won’t natively speed it up, but it will create a perception of your device performing faster. This feeling of improved system performance is due to a reduced animation delay, causing graphics sequences to finish quicker.
This trick can almost feel like magic if the animations on your Android phone seem particularly slow or sluggish. You can turn off the system animations for better results. However, you’ll sacrifice the flashy transition effects in the process. The setting is usually hidden in the developer options, so check out our guide on speeding up the animations on your Android phone for more details.
4. Restart your phone
Restarting is the first thing to do when you’re troubleshooting an electrical device. This simple hack can do wonders for your phone’s performance, especially if some pesky background processes caused the dip. Android’s memory management system is excellent, and most phones have more than enough RAM. But if you use a budget phone with 3GB or 4GB of RAM or less, a reboot can free up resources and improve overall performance.
It’s a good idea to restart your phone at least once a week. But if you notice it becoming sluggish between reboots, increase the frequency to every other day. Just don’t expect dramatic results from this trick if you own a newer flagship or midrange phone.
5. Use Lite edition apps
Google and several other developers offer Lite or Go editions of their apps for old and low-end Android devices with limited RAM and storage. Lite edition apps are smaller, less resource-hungry alternatives to their full-blown counterparts.
Google offers Lite editions of several apps, including Google Go, Camera Go, Assistant Go, and Maps Go. You’ll also find Lite editions of other popular apps on the Play Store, including Twitter, Spotify, and Facebook.
6. Update to the latest software
If your phone feels sluggish, check for available updates you’ve yet to install. Google optimizes Android with every new release, and most manufacturers do the same for their software skins. So, upgrading to the latest version of Android can free up system resources on your device, which, in turn, could help with faster app loading times and improved system smoothness.
All major OEMs have come a long way from the initial days of Android and now tend to roll out frequent software updates for their devices. The best part is that these manufacturers try to improve system performance and smoothness based on user feedback with almost every update. Navigate to your Software update settings and check for any available OTA software.
7. Perform a factory reset
If you’ve worked through all the suggestions so far and you’re still dealing with a pokey device, it’s time to kick things up a notch. A factory reset is an excellent but extreme way to improve performance. It restores your device to its stock state and erases all your data.
If you are ready to factory reset your Android device, first create a backup of your essential data. Then, after you have reset the phone, go through the list of apps you download, ensuring you only install the ones you will use.
8. Consider installing a custom ROM
If you have a relatively old (and slow) Android phone or one that has reached the end of its manufacturer’s support, consider installing a custom ROM or kernel on it. Installing a custom ROM or kernel voids your warranty unless it’s already expired, in which case, there’s nothing to worry about.
Before proceeding, ensure your phone’s bootloader is unlockable, as you’re likely out of luck without that. On phones where the bootloader unlocking is not an issue, the method to root and install custom ROM or kernels varies depending on the variant and device manufacturer.
Custom ROMs can brick your phone, so this isn’t something you want to do unless you’re willing to buy a new phone.
LineageOS and Paranoid Android are among the most popular custom ROMs out there, though they may not be the best for your device in terms of stability. Do your research before deciding which custom ROM to install on your device. The XDA forums are generally a good place to start for this.
Speed up your phone ever so slightly
Although these tips can add a little performance boost to a sluggish phone, they won’t work miracles. If your device is old or has limited resources, consider buying a new phone.