If you don't have the cash to afford a brand new high end smartphone or don't want to take out a contract, you can still make the most out of the Android operating system with a cheaper phone. If you have an older or cheaper model you may notice that your phone doesn't perform at high speeds all the time and you'll notice that you may occasionally get freezes or pauses when trying hardware demanding tasks on your handset.
If you've got to a point where the lag is unbearable, or you're looking for ways to improve performance, there are a few techniques to try. Whilst some take a lot of technical knowledge, others are easy to follow. I've written a few techniques below to help you out, and I’ve rated each technique with a difficulty rating.
Clean up your home page
Your home screen is the first thing your phone will land on upon turning on, and you'll be constantly switching to and from this page when using your Android phone. Because of this, it's important to keep things nice and tidy. Not only does it make your life easier and help you to keep your smartphone life simple and stress-free, but it can also help to reduce unresponsiveness and slow loading.
If you have lots of widgets and icons’ cluttering up your home page, your Android phone is going to be under a lot of pressure to constantly keep this ready and available - especially in the case of widgets; this can make things incredibly slow and even drain your battery faster.
Try deleting things off of your home screen that you don't really need, and keep icons and widgets to the bare minimum. If you want to try something even more minimal, I had a look at a few different home screens last month. Some home screens such as smart launcher may help to deal with lag.
Delete power hungry apps
We haven't finished spring cleaning your smartphone yet! Stubborn apps that demand to be constantly updated in the background can be one of the easiest ways to give you and your smartphone a headache. If you've got chat apps like Facebook, Kik or Whatsapp, try deleting them and using text messaging or Facebook on your browser instead. This should greatly decrease any performance issues.
On top of this, clearing up space on your phone's internal memory will give your Android enough free space to perform smoothly. It's important to not clog up your phone with files, as in simple terms; just like us, Android phones need a bit of 'breathing space' to be able to work comfortably.
Turn off services
This is easy; just go into your settings and turn off things like Wi-Fi, mobile data or GPS when you aren't using them. Not only will this increase performance, but it will also help with battery life.
Reboot your Phone
The best way to fix anything is to simply switch it off and switch it back on again. Well, maybe not quite, but by simply turning off your Android phone and turning it on again, you're forcing all of your apps and services to turn off and this will start your phone up fresh again. This will definitely help if you haven't turned your phone off in a while.
Check to see what apps are misbehaving
Some apps just can't help but cause a little bit of mischief and this can slow down your phone a lot. If an app is badly coded or has other problems, it may end up using more processing power than usual. To pinpoint what apps are using unusual amounts of processing power, and what apps are using the most processes you can download an app like Watchdog Task Manager. – With Watchdog Task Manager you can find out what apps are using the most processing power and uninstall them if necessary. Watch out though, Watchdog Task Manager is quite a power hungry app too, so you might want to uninstall that after use!
Check for updates
By updating your phone to the latest firmware available for your handset, you may eliminate bugs and increase performance. Usually you can search for updates and automatically download them through the settings menu.
Be careful though, some updates may make your phone even laggier, and you may need to find updates online and download them manually to get the best performance. This technique isn't too hard, but it does require quite a bit of research to make sure that the update available will actually boost performance. Make sure to read up online before updating and use the internet to learn how to find out about manual updates and how to download them.
Root your phone
You may hear this term a lot around the giffgaff forums or other places around the web, and it's because rooting your Android phone can open a whole world of possibilities not available to the average user. While some phones are easy to root, others are not, and it can sometimes be difficult to understand user created guides online. The Android rooting community also has very little manufacturer support which means there is a chance you could break your phone when trying to root it.
Luckily though, there are plenty of tips online to make sure you do things right, and if you aren't afraid to learn a bit about the subject, you can root your phone. By rooting your phone you'll be able to do a bunch of things to improve performance such as moving apps that otherwise aren't moveable to your SD card to clear up space, boost hardware performance and install new community made instances of the Android operating system known as ROMs.
Install a custom ROM
A phone with a custom ROM and one without one can sometimes be miles apart when it comes to performance, and tech heads in the Android modding community spend a lot of their spare time to develop custom ROMs that boost performance and offer new features. Depending on what model your phone is and what ROM you're installing, installing a custom ROM can be a terribly difficult process and there are dozens of ways to end up with a phone that won't even turn on.
Because of this, it's very important to read about what you're doing and make sure you fully understand what you are attempting to do before doing it. Have a read online about why custom ROMs can be helpful and then maybe have a look at some forums dedicated to the Android modding community such as MoDaCo or XDA.
Hopefully these tips and techniques have helped you to find new ways to improve your phones performance, and if we're lucky, by the end of the day, your laggy Android phone might not be as unresponsive anymore.
Think you could write a guide about how to improve an iPhones performance? Feel free to ask Zobia22 via PM!
Zerodudex333 is the username I use on the giffgaff community. I work as a fulltime freelance writer in the mobile & gaming industries. You can learn more about me here and follow me on twitter here.