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Smartphones & gadgets

Quick fixes to speed up your slow Android phone

You’re starting to notice your Android phone is lagging, but you still have some time before you’re due for an upgrade. Do you have to bite the bullet and buy a whole new phone at full price? Definitely not — there are many reasons your phone could be moving slowly, and you should rule those out first.

What are those reasons? Your friends here at have some ideas, and each of them have simple solutions that don’t involve emptying your wallet on a whole new phone.

Check out reasons your Android phone might be running slow, and find the solutions of how to fix the problem. By following our advice, you can get your phone back up to normal speed, and keep the phone you like.

The most likely suspect

When it comes to slow devices, there’s usually one major culprit: your cache. The cache is the place on your phone that apps and web browsers use to temporarily store data so they don’t have to download the same information over and over again when you use them.

It helps apps and websites load faster, but if the cache gets too full, it will eventually slow your phone down to a snail’s pace.

RELATED: How to unlock Android’s secret menu

To stop this slow down, you need to clear your cache; the one that handles your apps and the ones that handles your web browsers. The steps are slightly different for each, so pay close attention to the following instructions.

To clear caches for your individual apps:

  1. Go to Settings, then Apps & notifications.
  2. You’ll find a list of app categories. Tap on the category of your choosing — the “Other apps” category tends to have the largest list.
  3. You’ll now see a list of your apps in that category, and how much space they take up on your phone. Tap on any of them, but consider the apps taking up more space.
  4. Tap the “Clear Cache” button on the right side of this page. The cache will clear, and you’ll free up that much storage.

Android models vary, so you may have an option to delete the cached data for all of your apps at once. Google your Android model to see if you have this opportunity.

To clear the cache of your default Android web browser, Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome, and tap the three dots icon next to the address bar.
  2. Tap History, then “Clear browsing data.”
  3. Decide on the time range for your data deletion. You can delete your cache just from the last hour, or go back much further. More data will be in the cache from older dates, so if your phone is really slow, it might be worth going pretty far back.
  4. Tap the “Cached images and files” box, then tap the “Clear data” button.

Another common issue

Clearing your cache frees up space on your phone, but it may not make a dent if you have a lot of junk apps, or tons of pictures and videos. Having full storage slows down your phone.

If your Android is slowing down, you need to clear out some space. Find the big storage users under Settings, then Storage and consider deleting them from your device.

Too attached to the big apps? You might have a bunch of small ones you can part with instead. Delete these junk apps and give your phone some breathing room.

Photos and videos

Are photos and videos the real thing taking up space on your phone? Back them up to your computer regularly, and delete them from your phone once you do.

RELATED: Android tricks for fantastic photos

Another option — make sure your photos connect to a cloud service, like Google Drive or Google Photos, so you can still delete them off your phone’s storage, but continue to access them when you’re out and about.

Freeing up space will make your phone function better, so make sure you clean periodically to keep it in tip-top shape.

Speed things up now, and keep them fast later

For those who like to think ahead, you might be looking for ways to speed up your phone now and make sure it doesn’t slow down in the future. The best way to do this is to keep your OS and apps up to date. Updates keep your device secure, and allows everything to run efficiently.

One method is to remove Android crapware, which you can learn about here. It’s basically the removal of pre-installed apps you never use. You may recognize them by their other name, “bloatware.” Try getting rid of them to free up storage on your device.

Another things is sometimes apps get bugs that results in using up extra CPU on your phone, slowing your device down. Updates are often released to fix those bugs. The same thing applies to your Android OS.

To update your apps:

  1. Open Google Play store
  2. Tap Menu, then “My apps & games.”
  3. Apps that have an update available will be listed as “Update.” Tap “Update,” and the new version will download to your phone.
  4. Want your apps to update automatically? In the Menu, tap Settings, then “Auto-update apps.” Select “Over any network” to let apps update over Wi-Fi or with data, or select “Over Wi-Fi only.” We recommend using Wi-Fi only to save your phone battery, and to prevent data overages.

Did the slowdown happen recently?  

Sometimes your Android may slow down suddenly. Before panicking, and before trying some of the methods above, try simply restarting your phone. Shutting things off and on again often corrects small errors that happen in the device.

A few things could be slowing down your Android, but thankfully, there are solutions to combat the main culprits.

If you try the steps listed above but you’re still having issues, you may have a hardware issue. Before buying a new device, get it checked out to see if it can be salvaged.

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