You bought a shiny new phone, and a few months later realize it isn’t quite as fast as it used to be. We’ve all been there, and the issue isn’t limited to budget devices — a few high-end phones are also prone to the occasional slowdown after several months of usage.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can try to get your phone running back at full speed. We’ve also listed a few things you can do to get the most out of your phone’s battery.
Tip 1: Use Files by Google to clear cached data and clean storage
Google’s file management app is awesome. It not only analyzes your phone for unused files and apps, but also lets you easily transfer files. The app has a minimalist design with two tabs: Storage and Files. From the Storage tab, you get an overview of the amount of storage you have left on your phone, as well as tips on how to free up space. You’ll also be able to easily clear apps’ cached data from within Files.
It is particularly handy when you’re trying to find unnecessary files on your phone, which is very useful if you’re using a phone with 16GB of internal storage. It is also great if you’re looking to share files with another phone — it has the same features as Lenovo’s ShareIt without all the crud.
Tip 2: Disable (or uninstall) bloatware and unused apps
Most phones aside from the Pixels and Android One devices come with some form of bloatware. Thankfully, you can disable — or in some cases uninstall — most of the apps that come pre-installed on your phone if you’re not going to use them.
Just go to Settings > Apps to see all the apps installed on your phone. When you find an app that you don’t recognize, uninstall or disable it. You can also use Files by Google to identify unused apps on your phone, and delete them as needed.
Tip 3: Install lightweight versions of apps
If you’re using a phone with limited memory and storage, using a poorly-optimized app can cause a lot of frustrations. Facebook is the perfect example of this, as the app tends to feel sluggish even on brand-new phones. On a budget phone like the Moto G7, the experience tends to be downright frustrating.
Facebook has a lightweight version of its app that works just as well while utilizing a fraction of the resources of the full-fledged app. Facebook Lite was initially designed to run on entry-level devices in emerging markets, but the app is available globally.
Facebook Lite is optimized to work on 2G connections, and on devices with as low as 1GB of RAM. It has a tiny footprint — coming in at under 5MB — and offers a similar set of features as the regular app. You’ll still be able to scroll through your news feed, post status updates, comment on your friends’ posts, find local events, and more.
If you’re a regular Facebook user and are tired of the full-fledged app bringing your phone to a crawl, you should definitely give Facebook Lite a go. Facebook also has a lightweight version of Messenger called Messenger Lite.
Twitter similarly has a lightweight client called Twitter Lite, and Uber also has a Lite version of its service in emerging markets. If you use Skype to communicate with your friends and family, then there’s Skype Lite. This particular app is designed for India, and may not be available in all markets.
Tip 4: Optimize your phone’s battery
If you notice your phone’s battery draining faster than usual, it’s usually down to an errant app hogging up the CPU. Apps in the back also tend to use up the battery, so it’s a good bet to regularly monitor your phone’s battery usage from the settings.
Head into Settings > Battery to track down the misbehaving app, and hit Force stop to remove it from running in the background. Devices running Pie and above have an adaptive battery mode that monitors such activity automatically, but if you’re on an older version of Android, you should manually look at the battery section.
Tip 5: Turn Bluetooth off when not needed
Turning off unused radios will allow you to extend your phone’s battery life. The difference may not amount to much, but every little bit helps, and for things you’re not going to use all the time, like Bluetooth, it makes sense to switch it off when not in use.
It isn’t advisable to turn off location services though, as most apps need some sort of location information to run.
Tip 6: Don’t install a battery optimizer
This may seem counter-intuitive, but most “battery fixer” apps aren’t worth the trouble. These “utilities” do nothing more than remove the apps running in the background and clear your phone’s cache, but you often have to deal with intrusive ads and even malware.
If you’re seeing constant slowdowns and apps take a long time to load, it’s a better idea to remove apps running in the background by hitting the overview button and clearing them individually. And for clearing the cache, you can always rely on Files by Google.
If nothing works, try resetting your phone
If your phone still isn’t working as smoothly as it did before, try resetting it and starting over. Head to the phone’s settings, and go to System -> Reset -> Erase all data to reset your phone to factory settings. Log back in with your Google account and restore data from the cloud and see if the issue has been resolved.