Why do Android phones slow down over time? and How to fix it? (2017 update)

slow android phone

OK so look, we all love new smartphones, don’t we? Well, not just because it’s new but also because of its blazing fast speed.

Everything is so swift and quick.

Apps open in a flash. Games are as smooth as they can be.

Fast-Forward a few months or a year. Now your smartphone is no longer as snappy as it was.

It lags and sometimes it also freezes. App crashes have become more frequent and playing games on your smartphone is no longer a delightful experience.

Horrible, right?

All of the above situations are actually the consequences of a slow android phone.

Our smartphones tend to get slower as the time passes by. And there can be a variety of reasons behind it (if you ask why).

So in this post, you are going to learn why do Android phones slow down over time? And, along with that, I am also going to share the actual ways to speed up your device.

Let’s begin…

Why is my Android phone so slow?

Like I said, there can be a variety of reasons behind it but I am going to list only the ones which play a significant role in slowing down a device.

Your Android phone slows down because of the following reasons:

Apps running in the background

Apps running in the background is one of the biggest reason why a device becomes so sluggish.

You see, apps running in the background is perfectly normal. In fact, most of the apps hugely depend on its background process in order to function properly.

But if there are too many (useless) apps running in the background, that’s where the problem lies.

Apps to run in the background requires a bit of RAM. More apps running in the background would mean more RAM is being used for the background processes.

Due to these background processes, there is only a small portion of RAM available for the main foreground usage. And this results in slower foreground processes, making your phone’s speed slow.

In case you are wondering how to check the background processes on your Android device, here’s how you can do it:

1. Head over to your phone’s Settings.

2. Scroll down to the bottom, you’ll find Developer options. Tap on it.

slow android phone

Didn’t find Developer options in your settings? Don’t worry. It just means that it has not been enabled yet.

To enable Developer options, go to settings, scroll down to ‘About phone’ and tap on it.

Find ‘Build number’ and tap on it repeatedly for 7 times. You’ll see a small box at the bottom saying ‘Developer options has been enabled.’

slow android phone

Hit back and you’ll definitely see ‘Developer options’ at the bottom, just above ‘About phone’.

3. Once under Developer options menu, look for ‘Running Services’. Tap on it.

4. Here you’ll see all the system as well as downloaded apps which are eating up your RAM.

slow android phone

How to stop these apps from running in the background? I’ve covered it in the later sections of this post.

Lack of internal storage space

Your phone will slow down if your internal storage is full or near-full.

If your device’s internal storage has less than 100MB of free space, then it will affect your device’s performance.

Let me explain why is it so.

Your phone and most of the other phones have Solid-state drives (SSD). These drives’ write performance slows down when it is near its full capacity.

Due to poor write operations, apps and the Android system as a whole becomes slower in performing any task. Hence, a slow phone.

Operating System

How come Operating System is responsible for a sluggish Android? It is. Not the Operating System but the updates.

Every year Google introduces a new version of Android. This is passed on to various OEMs, which then push the update to your phone after making several OEM-specific tweaks.

This update might not be nicely optimized for your phone. An Operating System which is not perfectly optimized for your phone will slow down your phone.

Moreover, OEMs may add a few apps with the update. Almost all of such apps (which comes pre-installed or has been added by the OEMs through an update) are bloatware.

Bloatware apps are useless and run in the background unnecessarily which means a slow android phone.

There can be other reasons too behind a slow android phone, but I personally believe that the above-mentioned reasons play a major hand in slowing down your device.

How to speed up an Android phone?

Now that you’ve learned the reasons behind a slow android phone, it’s time that I share with you how to fix it.

How to speed up an Android phone? How to make an Android phone run faster?

Here’s how you can speed up a slow android phone:

Free up RAM

Free’ing’-up RAM is your best shot in improving the speed and performance of your device.

Let me show you can give a relief to your RAM in the most effective way.

1. Navigate to your phone’s Settings.

2. Scroll down till you find ‘Developer options’ and tap on it.

(In case you don’t see developer options, then you can enable it by following the steps which I shared a few paragraphs ago.)

3. Tap on ‘Running services’.

slow android phone

4. On the top, you’ll see how much of your RAM is being used by System, apps and How much of RAM is free.

5 .Below, you’ll notice a list of all the apps which are currently using your RAM for their processes and services.

6. Now, just tap on an app which you think is running unnecessarily in the background and hit ‘Stop’. Just a few seconds after hitting ‘Stop’ you’ll observe that the ‘Free RAM’ has increased.

slow android phone

Note: It is advised not to stop any of the system apps as it may affect your device.

Free up some space

As we discussed above, you shouldn’t keep your internal storage near its full capacity. So if it is near full capacity then its time that you make some space.

To begin with making some space, deleting cache files comes in very handy as they take a good amount of space and it just takes a few seconds to delete them.

1. Go into your phone’s settings. Find Storage & USB’ and tap on it.

2. Tap on ‘Internal storage’.

slow android phone

3. Wait for a few moments while the system calculates the allocated space.

4. Tap on ‘Cached data’. It will ask for your confirmation. Tap OK and you’re done.

slow android phone

 

Apart from getting rid of cache files, you can also move your apps from the internal storage to your microSD card (if your device happens to support one.).

You can even explore your file manager and look for files which you don’t need anymore and remove them. You can also copy files to your PC if you don’t need them immediately on your device.

Well, there are a lot of other ways by which you can create some space.

I’ve listed some of the best and effective ways to free up space on your device here. You might find it helpful.

Disable Animations

Animations certainly look good but it makes you feel that your phone is slow. And when your phone is indeed slow, animations are not a good sight as it feels like an app is going to take forever to open.

So, its a good idea to reduce animations or to completely get rid of them. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Go to the Settings menu.

2. Look for ‘Developer options’ and tap on it.

3. Scroll down until you find ‘Window animation scale’. Tap on it and set it at 0.5x if you just want to reduce the animation. In case you want to completely get rid of the animations, set it to 0.0x.

slow android phone

4. Do the same with ‘Transition animation scale’ and ‘Animator duration scale’. And you’re done.

In case you are using a custom launcher on your device, then check to see if it lets you tweak with the animations. (Nova Launcher has it.)

Uninstall unused apps and games

This one is quite obvious, isn’t it?

We all love apps, new apps, new games. We often find ourselves hunting down the Play Store to get our hands on an interesting app or a game.

Once we find an app which looks interesting, we install it out of curiosity.

But after a few days, we don’t find it interesting anymore. And it just sits there on your home screen or app drawer. Forgotten.

So, now is the time to find out such unused apps and uninstall them.

Having a lot of apps means a lot of processes are going on in the background, eating up the valuable resources of your device unnecessarily.

Uninstalling such apps has two benefits.

a. Free RAM.

and

b. More space.

The following steps will help you in finding out which apps to uninstall:

1. Navigate to the settings menu.

2. Look for ‘Apps’. Tap on it.

slow android phone

3. Tap on the three dots on the upper right corner of your screen and Select ‘Sort by size’.

4. Now, look for the app which you don’t use anymore or a game which you don’t play anymore, tap on it and hit ‘Uninstall’. Easy-peasy.

slow android phone

Remove widgets from your home screen

Widgets are very helpful. It gets things done right from your home screen, without even opening the app. For example: falcon widget

But widgets to work properly rely heavily on your CPU. They also need resources in order to function the way they should.

Having one or two widgets is acceptable but using more than three widgets will severely impact the performance of your smartphone.

Therefore, it is advised to place only a few widgets on your home screen or none, if possible.

So, go ahead and look for those widgets which are not necessary or important or less useful and remove it.

You can keep one or two widgets and you might not face any lags.

Install a custom ROM

It is more likely that your smartphone has some bloatware apps. They are useless and they can’t be uninstalled.

So, what can you do to get rid of such apps? You can install a custom ROM.

Having a custom ROM installed on your phone has a lot of benefits. It provides you some great additional features and more customization options.

Of course, you need to have a rooted phone to install a custom ROM, but it is totally worth it.

slow android phone

Some of the most popular Custom ROMs which you can consider are Lineage OS, Paranoid Android, Euphoria OS and MIUI. (Lineage OS is my personal favorite.)

If you are considering to install a Custom ROM then you’ve probably rooted your phone. 

Having a rooted phone can also help you in speeding up your phone. You can get access to apps like Greenify (more on this later) and ROEHSOFT RAM expander.

Get rid of Live Wallpaper

Having a live wallpaper is not at all encouraged if you want your phone to perform well and fast.

Much like widgets, Live Wallpapers also needs a good portion of your device’s resources.

Live Wallpaper, which is also called as Animated Wallpapers by some, puts a severe dent in your phone’s overall speed.

Get rid of it and put a still image as your wallpaper. Trust me, by doing this you are giving a huge relief to your CPU and your phone’s battery life as well.

Find the ‘culprit’

Wouldn’t it be great if you can find out exactly what is slowing down your phone?

Is it an app, a game or multiple apps?

Well, there is an excellent app which can help you in finding out. That app is called Trepn Profiler.

Trepn Profiler by Qualcomm lets you identify apps that hog your CPU.

slow android phone

The app lets you perform six different tests.

In the context of this post only the following tests are useful:

1. CPU Frequency Overlay – This test displays the speed of your first four cores as an overlay.

2. Performance Graph – It monitors the load on your CPU and GPU.

slow android phone

3. CPU Usage Monitor – This test shows you which apps are using what percentage of CPU.

slow android phone

4. CPU Load Overlay – It display the load of first four cores as an overlay.

It also lets you save the report for offline viewing.

You can download Trepn Profiler app from the Google Play Store by clicking here.

There is also another app which can prove to be very helpful.

That app is Greenify. The app automatically hibernates an app if it is running in the background unnecessarily.

slow android phone

You can get Greenify from the Google Play Store by clicking here.

Factory Reset

Factory resetting your device is the last thing that you can do if nothing seems to work.

We all know what factory reset does. It erases all the data from your phone, leaving it just the way it was when you first unboxed it.

However, it is recommended to take backup of all your files before performing a factory reset.

Here’s how you can factory reset your Android:

1. Navigate to your phone’s settings.

2. Scroll down to Backup & reset. Tap on it.

3. Tap on ‘Factory data reset’. Check the box saying ‘Enable stored content’, if you want to erase your SD Card too.

4. Tap on ‘RESET PHONE’.

slow android phone

 

There you have it guys!

This post might have solved your problem of your slow android phone. But if none of the above works, then I guess it’s time that you consider buying yourself a new phone.

Did you find this post useful? Which method did you use to get rid of your slow android phone? Do you have any other ideas to share? Feel free to have a word in the comments section below!

Don’t forget to share this useful post with your friends and family on social networks!

The following two tabs change content below.

Ankit Nawlakha

Founder at Squto
Ankit Nawlakha is a phone enthusiast who loves to dig into the ever-increasing world of mobile technology. The enthusiasm turned into a passion and thus, he founded squto.com in 2016.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Why do Android phones slow down over time? and How to fix it? (2017 update)