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Tech tips

7 annoying Android problems and how to fix them

You love your Android smartphone, right? There’s a lot to like. The operating system is fast, flexible and usually safe. It’s also highly customizable when compared to iOS.

The latest Android OS includes more customization options, better privacy and security features and more compatibility with other devices. And guess what? You can download it right now if you have this phone. Tap or click here for more on what’s new and how to get Android 13.

Of course, no device is perfect, and Android has a few downright annoying features. We have solutions to fix these annoyances. Note: Several manufacturers make Android smartphones. So the steps you use to fix these problems may vary from the ones below.

1. Stop those annoying notifications in their tracks

As much as we daydream about shutting off our smartphones for a week, we quickly realize that our continual connection with the rest of the world is simply how we live these days.

Your phone alerts you for everything from a comment on your social media post to an incoming email. You don’t need to be informed of every new event — especially not at four in the morning.

That’s where the Do Not Disturb feature comes in. Turn it on to immediately mute all incoming calls and alerts, or schedule it to activate at a certain time or day of the week. If you’re worried about emergencies, you can allow certain contacts and apps to break through by adding them to your list of exceptions.

You can schedule your smartphone to be silent at certain times of the day, like 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Don’t worry — you can also make exceptions so your family and friends can get through.

Set up Do Not Disturb on your Android phone

  • Go to Settings > Sound & Vibration > Do Not Disturb.
  • Tap Turn on now.
  • Below the Turn on now button, you’ll find exceptions for Do Not Disturb. Tap on each option and select the alerts that you want to come through even when Do Not Disturb is on.
  • Tap Schedules to set up a time for Do Not Disturb to be active.

Set up Do Not Disturb on your Samsung phone

  • Go to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb.
  • Toggle on Do Not Disturb.
  • Tap Add schedule to set up a time for Do Not Disturb to be active.
  • Look under the exceptions for Do Not Disturb. Tap on each option and select the alerts that you want to come through even when Do Not Disturb is on.

2. Auto Brightness

You spent a lot of money on your phone and you deserve to be upset if something goes wrong. A common scare is a dark screen. Is the battery dying? Is the display having issues? What’s wrong with the phone?

Relax. You likely have your screen set to automatically dim or brighten based on the surrounding light level (for example, when you go from a dark room to a brightly-lit one). Some phones call this Auto Brightness, while others use the term Adaptive Brightness.

Using Adaptive Brightness on your Android phone

  • Go to Settings > Display > Advanced.
  • Toggle Adaptive Brightness on or off.

Using Auto Brightness on your Samsung phone

  • Go to Settings > Display.
  • Tap Auto Brightness and switch the toggle on or off.

You can also find brightness in most pull-down menus. Swipe your finger down from the top of the screen to open your menu and look for Brightness.

Check this out: Take better Android phone photos with these phone lens attachments

3. Bloatware

Android phones come preloaded with apps that you don’t want or need. These extraneous programs slow down your phone and storage space and battery life.

But we have some good news! There are a few ways to get rid of the bloat:

Remove apps from your Android phone

  • Open the Google Play Store app.
  • At the top right, tap the Profile icon.
  • Tap Manage apps & devices > Manage.
  • Tap the name of the app you want to delete.
  • Tap Uninstall.

Some apps can’t be deleted. In this case, you can disable them by long-pressing on the app and tapping the Disable option.

On some Android phones, you can hide apps by tapping and holding the app and dragging it to the bottom of the screen to the Remove from home screen box. This doesn’t remove or disable the app; it just moves it out of view.

Here’s how to hide apps on your Samsung phone:

Hide apps from your Samsung phone

  • Open your App drawer.
  • Tap the three dots in the top right.
  • Open Home Screen Settings (or just Settings).
  • Select the Hide apps option.
  • Choose the app(s) you want to hide.
  • Confirm via the Apply or Done button.

RELATED: Phone cleaning guide: Get more years out of your iPhone or Android

4. Customize your pull-down menu

Once you discover Android’s pull-down menu, there’s no going back. Tapping one button makes it easy to adjust your screen’s brightness, sound level and more. These are known as Quick Settings.

But did you know you can select which settings are in your pull-down menu? That’s easy, too.

Rearrange your Quick Settings on your Android phone

  • From the top of your screen, swipe down twice.
  • At the bottom left, tap Edit.
  • Touch and hold the setting, then drag it to where you want it.
  • To add a setting, drag it up from Hold and drag to add tiles.
  • To remove a setting, drag it down to Drag here to remove.

Rearrange your Quick Settings on your Android phone

  • From the top of your screen, swipe down twice.
  • Tap the three-dot menu at the top-right of the screen.
  • Tap Edit buttons or Button order, depending on your phone model.
  • To move a button, touch and hold it, then drag it where you want it.
  • To remove a button, touch and hold it, then drag it to the grayed-out section at the top of the screen.
  • Tap Done when you’re finished.

5. Hot phone

Androids can get really warm, almost to the point of hot, which is a cause for serious concern. Here are some ways to cool down your phone:

  • Unplug it from the charger.
  • Remove the case if you have one.
  • Shut down all apps.
  • Turn on airplane mode for a few minutes to disable background features (such as Bluetooth).
  • If your phone is still hot, turn it off and put it in a cool, shady place. Do not put it in the fridge or freezer.

Did you know that an overheating device could be a sign of malware? Tap or click here for seven signs your phone or computer is infected with a virus or keylogger.

6. Frozen phone

Phones typically slow down as internal storage begins to fill up. Sometimes phones will even freeze up and force you to restart. If your screen freezes, try removing apps or photos you no longer want or don’t use. If you have an abundance of apps and photos but wish to keep them, consider moving them to the cloud or storing them on an SD card.

RELATED: Cloud storage a mess? How to organize your files so you can find what you need

Another way to keep your device from freezing is to close any open apps after you’ve used them. Your phone’s browser stores tiny files that help sites load faster and collect lots of data. This is known as cache, and you can clear it out.

Here’s how to delete the cache from the Chrome browser on an Android phone:

  • Open Chrome.
  • At the top right, tap the three-dot icon.
  • Tap History, then Clear browsing data.
  • At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
  • Check the boxes next to “Cookies and site data” and “Cached images and files.”
  • Tap Clear data.

Here’s how to clear cache from your apps:

  • Open the Settings app, then tap Storage.
  • Tap Apps to see a list of your installed apps.
  • Find the application you want to clear the cache of and tap it.
  • Tap Clear Cache to delete the app’s cache.

Speaking of apps, be careful and pay attention to what you download. The Google Play Store is rife with fake apps created to steal your identity, empty your bank accounts and more. Tap or click here to check your phone for dozens of malicious apps.

7. Say goodbye to Bixby

If you have a Samsung phone, you also have access to Bixby. This virtual assistant is not as popular as Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. If you’re not using Bixby, you can easily disable it and even reassign the side key to another function.

  • Go to Settings > Advanced features
  • Switch off Bixby Routines.
  • Tap the Side key.
  • You can now change the function of the side button.

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