How to speed up your Android phone

Ryan Leston
Yahoo! Contributor Network
How to speed up your Android phone
Don't go overboard with your widgets...

Is your Android phone feeling a bit sluggish? Are you unable to run the latest apps without giving it the kiss of life first? While Android apps become more and more sophisticated, the demands on your phone are getting higher. So how can you get the most out of your phone? Whether it's an older handset in need of some TLC or a newer model that's packed full of music, games and videos, just follow our ten simple steps to make your Android phone faster and more responsive.

1. Adjust graphics settings

Most Android phones are packed full of animations that make the whole user experience that little bit prettier. But let's face it - they're not exactly essential. Turning these off can improve performance on handsets that are struggling, so go to Settings > Developer Options and turn off both Windows Animation and Transition Animation. You might want to rethink that Live Wallpaper too.

2. Remove non-essential widgets

While it's probably quite handy to see the weeks weather with a flick of the home screen, you might want to remove that weather widget if you're not using it too often. Widgets use an awful lot of processing power and can really bog down a system that's already struggling.

3. Use an alternate Home Screen launcher

Although the Android OS is optimized for performance, many phones come pre-installed with their own custom launchers. By switching to a faster launcher, you can increase the responsiveness of your home screens, making your entire phone feel that little bit snappier. Some popular launchers include ADW Launcher and Launcher Pro.

4. Reduce the number of Home Screens

Similar to removing widgets, this step helps reduce the on-screen clutter of your home screens while also improving performance. Reducing the number of home screens means reducing the number of screens your device has to load into memory. While this is easy to accomplish in the settings of a custom Home Screen launcher, your phones pre-installed launcher may not include this option - you'll have to look through its settings to find out.

5. Install a faster browser

To be honest, Android's built in internet browser does a fairly good job of providing fast, responsive internet browsing with very little fuss. But if you want to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your device, I'd recommend switching to Google Chrome. It's one of the fastest browsers out there and provides a clean, crisp interface that's perfectly optimized for mobile devices.

6. Move apps to the SD card

Much like a PC, your mobile device will run a lot smoother with sufficient amounts of free memory. By moving apps over from the phone's internal memory to its SD card, you can free up some much-needed space while still keeping your apps close at hand.

7. Monitor apps for memory usage

While we're at it, some apps use a lot more memory than others. Obviously that's to be expected, but sometimes this can cause problems if they're using a lot more than they should. By using an app monitor such as Watchdog, you can keep an eye on your apps and get rid of those that are simply using too much memory.

8. Remove unused apps and data

Is your phone full of apps that used to be essential, but now just sit there doing nothing? Get rid of them and free up some space on your phone's internal memory. You might want to look through your gallery and music library too. Basically, remove everything you don't need and reclaim some of that precious memory.

9. Keep up to date

One of the best ways to improve the performance of your device is to keep it entirely up to date. Make sure it's always running the latest version of Android that your phone can handle and keep your apps. Sometimes, a bug fix can dramatically improve your phones performance.

10. Don't use Defragmentation apps or Task Killers

For years, we've been told that defragmenting our PCs will speed up our systems. While this is certainly true of larger computers, mobile devices use SSD drives to store data - defragmenting these is completely unnecessary and can even shorten the lifespan of your phone's memory. And Task Killers are just as pointless - Android systems can take care of their own processes and with the addition of the Task Manager in Android 4.0 there's simply no need to use them.

While everyone's phone is different, there are plenty of ways to improve your phone's performance and of course, these aren't the only ways to speed up your device. You might find that simply clearing out your messages will give a significant performance boost. But however you go about it, a little time and effort can drastically improve your phone and give you a much smoother user experience.

Have you used any of these methods to speed up your Android phone? Do you have any other tips and tricks to boost performance?

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