IT’S a fact of life. Your Android phone, so snappy when you first bought it, will eventually slow down with use. Apps take longer to launch and screens might take more time to redraw. There’s no need to rush out and buy a new phone just yet, though. There are a number of things you can do to get some of the old speed and performance back. These tips apply specifically to Android 5.1 or Lollipop phones.
1. Uninstall all the apps you no longer use. There are so many free apps around that it’s easy to install programs on a whim then forget about them. Do this often enough and you’ll fill up your device with apps you neither use nor need. Even if these apps aren’t running, they can slow you down simply by taking up valuable space in your phone’s storage.
To get rid of apps you no longer use, go to Settings > Apps and swipe your way to the All tab and take a long, hard look at the list of programs on your phone. Tap on the ones you no longer need and choose Uninstall.
2. Disable built-in apps you don’t use. It’s easy enough to uninstall stuff you’ve downloaded from the Google Play Store, but you can’t do that with the apps that come bundled with your phone. You can disable them, however, to make sure they don’t use up system resources.
To disable unused built-in apps, tap the ones you don’t use and choose Disable. Be careful, though, not to disable an app that affects any apps that you might use. But not to worry—you can enable any disabled apps the same way.
3. Back up your photos and videos regularly to another device and delete them from your phone. Those high-resolution photos or videos you take will take up space and can pile up before you know it. It’s a good idea to regularly back up the ones you want to keep and get them off your phone. Watch out, too, for those Viber images and video. These can eat up a lot of space and should be cleaned up from time to time.
4. Close down apps to free up memory. Android can multi-task but if you have too many apps running at the same time, this can slow you down. To close apps that you don’t need to be running, go to System > Apps and swipe to the Running tab. Tap on the apps you want to close and choose Stop.
5. Keep your home screen simple. Drop the live wallpaper in favor of a striking static image and go easy on the widgets. All of these take use up system resources. Also remove unused icons. The less clutter you have on your home screen, the better.
6. Reduce or turn off animations. Make your phone feel more responsive by reducing or turning off animations. This will feel a little like voodoo, but it works. Go to Settings > About phone and scroll down until you find Build number. Tap on this seven times and Android will give you this message: “Congratulations, you are now a developer.” After this, you will find a new item in Settings called Developer options. Tap this and change three settings: Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. Set each of these to .5x (it is set to 1x by default) or turn them off altogether. If you don’t like the results, you can always go back to 1x.
7. Restart. Restarting your phone is a quick when your phone starts to feel sluggish. A restart clears out the cache and stops unnecessary tasks. Just hold down the power button and choose Restart.
8. If all else fails, do a factory rest. If no amount of tinkering helps, consider a full device reset as a last resort. Be sure to back up all your important data before doing this, because this will wipe the phone clean and restore it to the state it was in before you weighed it down with all your apps and data. That means you will lose login data for Google and other accounts, system and app data and settings, all downloaded apps, and all your photos, music, videos and other user data on the phone, so backup and proceed with caution. To activate this nuclear option, go to Settings > Backup and reset.
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