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how to make android faster

Everyone wants their devices to run faster and scammers prey on that. Recently, a scam app named Android Defrag Pro popped up on Google Play. Android doesn’t need defragmentation, but many users installed it anyway and left positive reviews. Android isn’t like Windows and doesn’t require as much maintenance — still, there are some things you can do to make your device perform faster.

You may have heard that “Android fragmentation” is a problem, but this refers to the number of devices and versions of Android in the wild – fragmentation on Android’s file system is not a problem.

What Works – The Basics

These easy-to-follow tips will work for everyone, no rooting your device required:

  • Optimize Your Home Screens: Loading up your home screens with widgets and live wallpapers 11 Fascinating Android Live Wallpapers to Animate Your Home Screen 11 Fascinating Android Live Wallpapers to Animate Your Home Screen Wallpapers are an expression of yourself. Whether it's the wallpaper on your physical wall at home or your desktop wallpaper, it reveals a little bit about yourself. Or at least it shows you are not... Read More will slow things down a bit, particularly if you have an older, slower device. Trim the number of widgets you use and you may see a performance increase – of course, widgets may not slow things down too much, especially if you have a newer device. While animated wallpapers provide eye candy, they may cause your home screens to lag — not to mention the battery life hit.

how to make android faster

make android faster

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What Works – The Geekier Stuff

These tips will require rooting your device or installing a custom ROM – not necessarily for the average user! That said, rooting your Android phone or tablet How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick Read More  may be easier than you’d think.

make android faster

  • Manage Autostart Programs: If you’ve rooted your Android, you can also use an app like Autostarts to manage which apps have permission to automatically start with your device. This can speed up your boot process.

What Doesn’t Work

These things just don’t work, or may be counterproductive.

how to make android faster

  • Run a Task Killer: Task killer apps end processes and remove them from memory – this sounds like it should speed things up. However, it may actually slow things down. Android will manage processes for you – processes running in the background don’t use up resources like they do on Windows. While your memory may be full of processes, that’s a good thing – unused memory does nothing, and the apps in memory will load more quickly when you go back to them. When a task killer kills a process, the app will take longer to load next time – it may also start back up immediately, slowing things down. Let Android manage processes for you. The one exception to this is misbehaving processes, which you should kill and uninstall – see the information about that in the basics section above.

If you’re an Android user, you should also check out our list of the 100 best Android apps.

How do you speed up your Android smartphone or tablet? Have you run into any other scams we haven’t mentioned here? Leave a comment and let us know!

  1. Coldkyle
    September 21, 2016 at 2:29 am

    I totally disagree. Since marshmallow, task killers don't work and my battery gets demolished way way way faster. Before marshmallow when ram was cleared regularly by a task killer my phone was way faster and the battery lasted a lot longer. This is on lg g4 and Samsung note 3. Now with the screen off and me sleeping the battery gets depleted overnight even with sync and everything like location off. Upon checking battery usage it always says android os and android system. Before marshmallow I would wake up in the morning with over 90 percent battery. Android does NOT do well with my ram full. Please let us use task killers again!!!

  2. Potatoman
    March 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    You don't actually need root access to change apps with startup permission

  3. Er AB
    September 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    How to make the smartphone work faster without the use of any app for this.
    Do check out my website on smartphones too...

  4. LRND
    May 10, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Well, It works, but not a lot. Thank you for the tips.

    from the Philippines

  5. Sofia
    April 13, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Is it possible to make the smartphone faster without installing an app?

  6. Sudeep Kumar G
    January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Very useful tips of course ! Thank you.

  7. Ronamae Calingasan
    December 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I think task killers are made to prolong battery life though it makes the phone lag. But I already deleted my Advance Task Killer and installed the Watchdog. Gonna watch out for the difference. :) Thanks a bunch here from the Philippines :D

  8. Ray
    December 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Hi, I recently (foolishly) downloaded the app android defrag from CNet before I read some of these forums and got educated. Sometime afterwards, I lost my phone number - my phone was simply no longer registered with my provider. I contacted them - apparently they received a message from my phone asking to transfer the number to another SIM, which they apparently did. I now have my number back, minus my credit - fortunately it is prepay, so they only got the balance of that. I don't like to think what may have happened if the phone was on a plan. And I don't know what other data they may have mined from my phone, either!

    I am now checking my computer and phone for malware etc., but I am fairly certain that the android defrag app was responsible - I did nothing else that could have triggered something like that.

    Evereyone should be aware of the possibility that this app is an active malware.

  9. sachin goral
    November 8, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Had been using task killer since I got my phone. Thanks for the tips.

  10. Eric Thieszen
    October 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I have been considering the Cyanogen mods for my Droid and S3

  11. Matt D
    October 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Great article! My Droid 3 is dreadfully slow so I think it is time to Flash a Custom ROM upon it. How about deleting cache and wiping data from apps? Will this speed things up or will it just give you more space? And how about cleaning the Dalvik Cache, will this do anything for you?

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      You an always use the built-in recovery option to set your phone to a default state and see if that helps.

      Clearing app caches will give you more space, but I don't think it will speed anything up.

      I don't think clearing the Dalvik Cache will help, either. Android will just recreate it -- the data in the cache helps apps work faster.

  12. Kukuh Frehadtomo
    October 13, 2012 at 7:57 am

    wow, that is very help me to make my phone more faster

  13. A From
    October 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Android file system fragmentation seems very real to me, having ~70 apps (including the ones I can't get rid of).

    I cannot update many of my apps, due to out of memory though having free space both in RAM and on the SD card.

    Phone updated to ICS recently, so I hoped that something might have been solved in the update, but I have basically the same problem.

    Sometimes, for certain apps be it small or large (not predictable), if the app is moved to the SD card, I might get the update to work if I move the app into phone memory. I might sometimes succeed in updating apps where update is 5MB, whereas small apps of 200kB do not work...

    But this "backup way" of moving the app into phone doing the update and back again to SD card does not always work.

    Currently available space for me is 2.17 GB (8 GB card) on the SD card, and 39 MB (of 380 MB)

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      This seems more like a low-memory issues than a file system fragmentation issue. You can try reverting your phone to its hardware default state and reinstalling all your apps, which would definitely fix file system fragmentation (works on Windows, too), but I don't think that's the issue.

  14. Curtis C.
    September 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Task killers sometimes cause than help...

  15. Totoy Badiola
    September 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on task killers. I am using ICS.

  16. lanie a.aldeguer
    August 16, 2012 at 4:42 am

    it is nice and had a clear screen...

  17. Alex Livingstone
    August 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    LOL defragging an android is so unnecessary.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 7, 2012 at 7:23 am

      It is a pretty hilarious image.

  18. Liz Ganser
    August 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I think my battery is. drained by the operating system.. I followed your advice and deleted the task killer app and downloaded the watchdog, but don't have any misbehaving apps. I use to have juice defender but deleted it because it said my device was not rooted and would have to perform a dangerous install fingers crossed. I read your article 100 android apps and was surprised that JD was there. I reloaded it but got the same message. I have a screen shot if you are interested - - just don't know how to attach it here.
    Please reply my phone doesn't last 8 hours I may have to reload the task killer.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 7, 2012 at 7:23 am

      I haven't tried JuiceDefender myself. You might try asking on MakeUseOf Answers, where you'll get a lot more responses:

  19. Paulette
    August 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I just received an android notebook. Glad I read this before applying anything more to what is already installed. Thanks

  20. Eduardo Carrillo
    August 2, 2012 at 5:30 am

    no more task killer

  21. Liam Ellery
    August 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Getting rid of task killer now, i didnt think it was doing anything, this just concludes it

  22. John Loot
    August 1, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Definitely try these one's out...

  23. Igor Rizvi?
    July 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    My brother is running this androind,gonna send this him to read,great stuff

  24. Juan Paulo Ducut
    July 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

    task killers is a big nono. just look at your apps, look at the settings, and if there is an option that keeps it on running while on standby, disable it. else, dont use that app it it wasnt needed. you can also kill apps on application section of the settings app, then on running services, choose an app, kill it(with fire)

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Thanks, good tips -- that's exactly how to do it. I should've gone into identifying and killing misbehaving apps (with fire) a bit more.

    • Melvin Capco
      August 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      clap! clap! that's what i've done to my phone and it works. To add also disabled apps notification that you think you don't need to be notified :D

  25. Alexandra
    July 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Mobile apps are hot today. But hiring a programmer is too expensive. I used to make apps. It's really easy, the web service allows to make mobile apps in minutes, and without programming skills at all. If you are short of time, they can make an app for you very quickly.

  26. deddy
    July 30, 2012 at 4:03 am

    how can I identify "missbehaving apps? I mean, except the high resource usage.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Well, if you open the task manager and see apps using lots of CPU in the background, that's a problem. If they're using small amounts of CPU while downloading data, that's to be expected.

      In other words, if you're using an app and then leave it, it shouldn't be grinding away in the background. It should go to 0 CPU, assuming it's not downloading anything or performing other actions.

  27. Christopher Mortenson
    July 30, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Good article, nothing to toss out here other than what may be slightly off topic.

    Learning what/how to use the keys, buttons, combo keys and hotkeys/shortcuts would contribute to overall efficiency and possibly stress reducer.

  28. Steve Taylor
    July 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Comprehensive review. Good ideas.

  29. Trevor Lenten
    July 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Just installed FF. Thanks for the tip.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:27 am

      The old Firefox was pretty bad, but the new one is quite good!

      • Chefpatel
        September 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        What about Dolphin Browser? Any take on it?

        • Chris Hoffman
          September 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

          Haven't used it much myself but I've heard great things. I'd give it a thumbs up, based on what I've heard.

  30. Mike Green
    July 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

    The best thing I have found is using custom ROMS such as cyanogenmod

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Especially if you're using an older device that never got updates or one that's packed with bloatware, sure!

  31. Glenn Bond
    July 28, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Flashed a Viewsonic G -Tablet several times as updates were available. Now running Honeycomb and it works well. It actually increased the speed of the unit. Just follow directions on the flashing and all will go well.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Definitely, upgrading the OS will help a lot -- Android 4.1 on my Nexus 7 is pretty amazing.

  32. Achraf Almouloudi
    July 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I believe apps running in the background consume more power as it takes electricity to store on RAM cells and they periodically use CPU on 5 to 10 % which further consume power, am I wrong ?

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

      If they're using CPU, this will definitely use battery power. However, they're not supposed to use CPU (unless they're downloading stuff or performing other actions). If they're randomly using CPU in the background, they're misbehaving.

      I don't believe it takes more electricity to store stuff in RAM. In other words, if you have 2GB of RAM, it takes the same amount of electricity to store data in it than it does to store nothing -- for example, all 0's.

      What will take electricity is writing data to the RAM -- if an app is killed and then opened later, it will take electricity to place it in RAM. If it was left in RAM, that electricity wouldn't be used.

      • nick
        November 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        but, if it is a 0, that means there is no electricity running through the transistor. so it would make sense that ram not being actively used and refreshed would use less power

        • Chris Hoffman
          November 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

          This is getting really low-level for me, but I've never seen any indication that empty RAM uses less power. If it does use more power, it must be minuscule.

  33. tarzan2001
    July 28, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I've read that Task Killers actually do help if you're using a VERY old device or one of the low-end devices that you get on the cheap. I've personally tried some different task killers on a Kyocera Zio from Cricket Wireless and they actually make a difference, albeit a small one. By the way, don't hate me for messing around with a crappy Cricket phone--my brother-in-law bought it, not me! I still use my trusty (but ancient) Nokia 6630! ;)

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

      That's a good point. I've heard ancient Android OSes didn't do as good a job, so task killers were once helpful. Assuming you're using a reasonably modern Android (even Gingerbread), task killers won't help.

      • tarzan2001
        August 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

        The Zio is running Android 2.2.1 Froyo. I've ready many comments by people saying that it's simply better and faster to just restart the phone and start "fresh." While that may be true for newer and more powerful phones, this Zio is soooo slow that it's actually faster to just use the Task Killer to free up the memory and restart the services than to actually wait 3-5 minutes before the phone becomes usable after a restart. I swear, it's just like using my old Pentium III Gateway pc and waiting 5 minutes for Windows to load back in the day, except now the computer is in the palm of my hand! :P

        • Chris Hoffman
          August 7, 2012 at 7:22 am

          Wow, that is extremely slow. My condolences!

  34. Flavius Graur
    July 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    No task killers, no live wallpapers, decent clock settings (as battery is concerned), also I try to keep the apps to a minimum. I usually take off apps I don't use regularly - less events the system has to keep track of.

    Also facebook. That app wakes the phone like Donkey from Shrek – every 5 minutes. Also, when managing my autostart list, disabling apps, I also disable all widgets (the Widget Updating event). The only widget I use is the analog clock.

    I also check for wakelocks regularly and fine tune when necessarily.
    That's my recipe for a fast android device.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

      That's a good point. If apps are running in the background, removing them will help (although this may help more for battery life than performance).

      I've definitely heard bad things about Facebook for Android.

      Watching for wakelocks is getting geekier again, but it will help you squeeze more battery life out of your device.

      • Flavius Graur
        August 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

        Less background processing time = more battery time = better performance when needed.

  35. Larry Johnson
    July 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Yes I quit the task killer since it didn't appear to help.

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