Knowledge Base

How to Make Your Smartphone Look And Run Like New For Longer


There are few things to me as exciting as getting a new phone. The wait for it to arrive, the excitement of ripping the box open, and that sweet new phone smell. Apps seem to burst open when you use it for the first time, as you skip around the house telling people all the great things it can do.


Am I the only one who skips? Let me know in the comments.


After a while, it seems to slow down to a crawl and it doesn’t seem as fast as it should. Here is what I will be covering in this post:


- How to significantly speed up your smartphone

- How to keep your phone looking new for longer

- A quick way to squeeze out more battery life and performance (it takes about two seconds)

- The one thing tech companies tell us to do, but you shouldn’t if you want your phone to last

- The ‘geeky’ way of giving your smartphone new life



1) Bin unwanted files




Smartphones get ‘bloated’ with time. Just because your smartphone has gigabytes of storage doesn’t mean you should store un-used files. Deleting unwanted files and apps helps to increase performance.


Apps such as WhatsApp store media files and other data on your smartphone. Facebook is particularly guilty of this. Open the media folder on your smartphone and delete all the cute cat pictures and gifs you laughed at once, but never looked at again.


Secondly, look through your apps and delete the ones which you don’t use. One of the best things I did for the performance of my smartphone was to delete the Facebook app and use the mobile version ( instead. Doing this has also saved time because I check it less.



2) Restart your smartphone


This is a ‘quick fix’ for getting a performance boost. We are encouraged to charge our smartphones before they hit 0%, so for some people, their phone hasn’t been turned off in a while. Much like yourself, your phone needs to rest. I find that restarting my phone once a week makes a significant difference to how it performs.


3) Think before your update your smartphone


I know what you are thinking: “This guy must be crazy”. But hear me out. Whenever a tech company creates a new smartphone, they tend to push out a new update in order to release new features for older models. The problem is that the updated operating system tends to use more processing power, battery life etc. Interestingly, their latest smartphone tends to handle the update fine, but older smartphone users might experience sluggishness.


Moreover, mobile OS updates aren’t always perfect. I like to wait for a few weeks to see which issues they create and when the next update will come. You can easily find this out by typing your smartphone model and the version number of an update.


If you felt like your smartphone got slower after an update, you might be right.



4) Turn off sync/background app refresh


Sync (Android) and Background app refresh can be useful, but if you have a lot of apps, it can slow down your smartphone.


For instance, I have many apps on my smartphone which all like to update in the background. I used to have sync on, but it rapidly drained my battery life and caused my smartphone to slow down.


You can turn off sync on Android by dragging down from the top and tapping sync. If you have an iPhone go to settings > general > background app refresh.


5) Get a case




I used to be a member of the ‘naked smartphone brigade’ but it just isn’t worth it. Having a case ensures that you can get more for it on the resale market. Moreover, it makes your smartphone look better for longer.


The latest smartphones tend to be slim and smooth, perfect for dropping onto concrete. It is worth investing £10-£20 into a case and a tempered glass screen protector from Amazon.


I like to buy a new smartphone every two years, and then sell my previous smartphone to offset the cost. Therefore, it is important that my smartphone is in very good condition.



6) Install a custom Android ROM




Warning: this might make your phone unusable.


I had an old Alcatel smartphone at home, so I decided to install a custom Android Rom on it. The beauty of Android is that there is a big community of people who like to experiment with the platform. This results in lightweight Android ROMS with amazing performance.


I strongly suggest that you use an old or cheap smartphone for your first venture into the world of Android ROMS. That way if you get a step wrong, it isn’t a big deal.


If you would like me to do a post on Android ROMS in the future, please let me know in the comments section.



Final thoughts


I hope you found this post interesting and it helps you to have a smartphone which looks and runs like new.


By the way, I was shortlisted for the giffgaff Run by you awards, and I am incredibly humbled that some of you voted for me. No matter the outcome, I feel like a winner for getting considered among an awesome bunch of nominees. I am now extra motivated to continue making content for all of you lovely giffgaff members.

What are you waiting for?

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I really love gifs you have used for illustrations.


@chinsndips Thanks, they are really fun to find Smiley Happy


Hi Abdul, another very interesting post - thanks! 


I would certainly be interested in seeing a post about custom ROMs.

Hi @abdulf Very good bits of advice! Quite interested in a custom Rom blog as I like to tinker with my old handsets!

Useful advice. Apple slowing down older phones on purpose doesn't help either!

WhatsApp storing useless media files is super annoying.


You should write the Custom ROM blog. I wrote one a few years ago on Cyanogen and it was super popular


Turning your phone off and one usually sorts out most performance issues. You just need to remember to turn your Bluetooth and other settings back on manually


I really enjoyed reading your post! Love the use of the gifs! haha Smiley Very Happy  


"lightweight Android ROMS" - is link broken?



I would add "factory reset the phone".


If it has got very laggy, a factory reset and then selectively re-downloading the apps you need is a good idea.


You do, however, need to be confident you know all your passwords.


In this modern online world there is something to be said for a piece of paper with your passwords on it in a sealed envelope in a secure place.