Avast Academy Performance Speed How to Speed Up a Slow Android Phone

How to Speed Up a Slow Android Phone

Remember the blazing speed of your Android phone when you unboxed it? It responded instantly to your touch. But inevitably, phones start to lag and slow down. Follow the tips below to cure your slow Android, or let us do it for you with Avast Cleanup.

Written by Sandro Villinger
Published on September 26, 2019

How to speed up your Android device

Speeding up your phone requires several steps. To improve its performance, you should clean up apps, reduce unnecessary background activity, and identify other factors that could slow things down. First, check for and remove any viruses that might be impacting performance. Then follow these steps to speed up your Android phone.

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    Free up space and clear old apps from your phone

    A crucial part of speeding up your slow Android phone is getting rid of things you don’t need. That’s good for organization, too; why spend time looking for oft-used software among irrelevant icons? So the first step is removing apps you no longer use. 

    To do that, open the Settings app on your phone and go to the Apps section.

    Removing apps you no longer need

    Go through the list of these apps and remove the ones you think you no longer need. This takes a while, but it’s definitely worth it. The more apps you remove, the fewer background processes consume space, CPU power, and battery use. More responsiveness is just one of the benefits!

    An easier way to accomplish this is to get an app like Avast Cleanup for Android, which highlights your rarely-used apps. If you haven’t used an app on this list for more than 30 days, then chances are you won’t need it at all. So it’s time to delete it!


    If you don’t need an app on a constant basis, you can also use Avast Cleanup to hibernate it, essentially turning off the app’s background activity. And if there's an app you don't want taking up space on your home screen, hiding Android apps is easy.

    Another way to make more space is to clear out the cache on your Android device.

    Speed up the phone’s Android browser

    Are your Android apps running fine, but the web browser runs slow? Do websites take a long time to load? If internet speed is the problem, it’s time to give your mobile Chrome browser a boost. 

    Open Google Chrome on your phone and type in chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area. Hit GO. Instead of the default number visible here, type in 512. This gives Chrome up to 512 MB of RAM instead of the default 64 MB RAM. 

    If this option isn’t available, it’s likely already enabled on your phone!

    Chrome supports a feature called Data Saver. Data Saver minimizes bandwidth in order to speed up internet access by sending images from your websites to Google’s servers for compression before the images arrive on your phone. I recommend enabling this feature, unless you don’t like the thought of your traffic going through Google.

    Here’s how to turn on Data Saver: Go to Chrome, tap on the little dots in the top right corner and select Settings. Flip the switch for Data Saver.

    Data saver settings Data saver statistics

    Check for OS updates

    In general, you should apply operating system updates that the vendor offers. Doing so addresses security vulnerabilities, adds new features, and -- relevant here -- speeds things up. Sometimes, Android updates improve performance or solve issues that could lead to decreased performance. Running the latest version of Android is critical to speed and may be a quick fix to resolve issues. In other words: It can’t hurt!

    To speed up a slow Android phone, check for updates: Open the Settings app on your Android phone, then tap on Software update.

    Tap on either Check updates or on the Download updates manually item.

    Android software updates Checking for the latest Android OS version

    Turn off wasteful animations and extras

    Every bit of eye candy has a performance cost. That’s especially true when you’re trying to eke out a bit more life from an older Android device. If you want to optimize for speed, you should reduce animations or get rid of them altogether. They cost unnecessary GPU/CPU cycles and slow things down, especially on older machines. In addition, you should make sure that all hardware acceleration features are turned on.

    To do that, open the Settings app on your Android. Go to the Developer options. First, look for any option that mentions animations, such as Windows animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. Switch them all to Off.

    Secret settings to boost performance Turning off wasteful animations

    Next, look for options that mention GPU acceleration or GPU rendering, such as Force GPU rendering. Turn on that setting to ensure that everything displayed on your screen goes through the usually-faster “graphics chip” (called a Graphics Processing Unit or GPU). Note that this could reduce battery life, so judge its usefulness in that context as well.

    If performance remains slow, you can limit the number of simultaneous processes Android runs, which frees up CPU cycles and RAM resources. To do this, find the Limit background processes switch and choose a setting such as At most 3 processes.

    Can’t find the Developer options? Go to the About page of the Settings app, head over to the About section. Go to Software info and tap on the Build number section multiple times to enable the developer options.

    The Nuclear Option: Factory Reset your phone

    If you tried all those settings and nothing helped, it might be time to bring in the big guns and wipe the phone clean. Be aware that this does take some time, and frankly, it is an annoying process. However, it does guarantee you Day 1 performance! And if a factory reset doesn’t help, then you know it’s a hardware problem that requires professional repair.

    Before you wipe your phone clean, make sure you’ve got everything backed up and somehow stored.

    To wipe your phone: Go to the Settings app, then look for General Management, and hit the Reset button.

    Resetting Android to factory settings

    Tap on Factory data reset and watch all the crud disappear into nothingness! Of course you’ll have to go back and restore your data from the cloud and re-download your apps -- but this time don’t put those performance-draining hogs back on your phone!

    Why is my Android phone so slow?

    Why is it that phones slow down over time? There are multiple reasons. Fortunately, in many cases you can prevent these issues by going through some of the steps mentioned above on a regular basis.

    1. Background activity: Just as on your desktop or laptop computer, the more applications you run in the background, the slower things become. Older phones, in particular, aren’t built for high amounts of background activity. So limit the apps you install on your phone and examine their settings to prevent them from working in the background when it’s not necessary. And finally, make sure to regularly go through your apps to delete those you don’t really need.

    2. Poor settings: Some app settings can prevent your phone from achieving its performance capacity. It’s worth it to examine individual app settings.

    3. You’re running an old version: Some Android releases have bugs or bottlenecks. It’s imperative to use the latest Android release.

    4. Defective hardware: Things do break and wear out. A hardware issue may prevent your phone from reaching full speed. It could be heat-limited, a defect in the CPU or RAM, or a battery failing. If all other methods fail, including a reset, then it’s time to check the actual hardware.

    Our advice: Review the tips in this article once in a while and use a product like Avast Cleanup for Android to keep your phone running faster. In some of our internal tests, it boosted performance by 20% or more.

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    Sandro Villinger