Android Technology Explained

7 Warning Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Android Phone

Ben Stockton 30-05-2019

When you buy a new Android smartphone, you expect it to last—a high-quality phone should be useful for several years, at least. As times goes on, however, you’ll notice your phone starts to lose its shine, no matter how well you take care of it.


Replacing your device might be inevitable if it’s slow, damaged, or starting to struggle. Here are several major signs that it’s time for you to upgrade your Android phone to something better.

1. Battery Runs Out Quickly

Android Phone Battery Charging

If you’re a smartphone addict, you’re probably used to seeing your smartphone battery flashing red. There are ways to increase your battery life on Android 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More , but it’s a little too late for that if you notice your phone isn’t retaining a charge like it used to.

The main reason for this is simple chemistry. Over time, the chemical components of your battery start to degrade, meaning they’ll hold less and less charge. After several hundred recharge “cycles” (roughly a year or two), the battery may have lost a fifth or more of its ability to hold a charge.

That’s why it’s important to avoid overnight charging to limit the number of unnecessary recharges.


If your battery doesn’t hold its charge like it used to, but you still use it in the same way, you’re going to notice. Rather than staying near your charger, heavy smartphone users should think about upgrading to get a phone with a new battery. A new battery will last longer, after all.

2. Too Slow to Use

Android Tablet Loading Slow

Use a phone or tablet for long enough and you’ll start to feel the slowdown. Nobody wants to wait around for a smartphone to respond. Opening apps might take a full minute, or you may find touches are slower to register.

There are reasons why your phone might be slowing down 5 Reasons Your Phone Slows Down Over Time Is your smartphone suddenly slow? We've got good news: you're not going crazy. That loss of device power hits both Android and iOS users. Devices do slow down over time. Here's why. Read More and, in many cases, the age of your smartphone plays a part. Upgrading your version of Android (if you’re lucky enough to get offered updates) can put greater demands on your phone’s resources, including heavier RAM and CPU usage. New apps may also cause similar issues, especially if they’re resource-intensive. The latest Android games are often a culprit.


Another issue could be the number of background apps left running. The more apps that consume resources in the background, the slower your phone becomes. You can solve this by closing apps more aggressively, of course—but only if the apps running aren’t useful to you.

Replacing your phone will give you increased resources for your phone’s software to run with, whether it’s Android itself or the apps you install.

3. Outdated and Lacking Updates

Android First Released Smartphone HTC Dream
Image Credit: Marcus Sumnick/Wikimedia Commons

A new Android release typically happens once a year around September. From Cupcake to Pie (and everything in-between), new Android versions come with flavorful names and new features. They also come with an increased demand on your phone resources.


Don’t expect endless updates, however. If you’ve bought a top-tier smartphone like a Samsung Galaxy, you might get an upgrade (or two) to a newer version of Android over the course of its lifetime. Not every manufacturer will bother with this, though, meaning your phone might be outdated as soon as you buy it.

What about security? Well, once a phone is outdated, your manufacturer probably won’t bother to release security updates for long, even if major upgrades aren’t part of the plan.

If you’re worried about an outdated phone, and you’re no longer getting updates, a replacement might be the best way forward.

4. New Apps Won’t Run

Android Virtual Reality Virtualization


It’s still the early days of virtual reality, but there are some great VR apps available for Android The 10 Best Virtual Reality Apps for Android Our list of the best VR apps for Android has games, virtual experiences, and more you can experience with compatible headsets. Read More already. Unfortunately, you may find that newer types of apps, like VR apps that are particularly resource-intensive, just won’t work effectively on older phones.

The same problem applies to Android gaming. Improvements to gameplay mean greater demands on RAM and your phone’s internal graphics. If your phone is older, it’s not going to do the job as effectively as a new phone that has the most up-to-date technology powering it.

The best way to test this is by installing some high-resource apps. Try out a few VR apps or high-resource games, and see how well they perform on your phone. If they don’t work well, it’s probably time for a new phone.

5. Apps Crash Frequently

Android App Has Stopped Screen
Image Credit: Google

Android smartphones are human-made, so they’re not perfect, and the odd app crash is inevitable. Your phone isn’t always the cause—sometimes, an app is buggy or badly designed. In other cases, phone compatibility is the issue. An app may only run on the most modern phones, for example.

If you’re noticing apps crashing on your phone all the time, however, it could be a sign of a bigger problem with your smartphone. Apps may crash because of the demand they’re placing on your phone, such as its RAM or CPU. If the resources available aren’t sufficient, the app will crash.

You might also see crashes when the storage on your device is low, especially for apps that save or access the storage often. Newer phones will have increased storage to resolve this particular issue.

6. Poor-Quality Camera

Android camera phone

In the selfie era, having a high-quality camera on your smartphone is essential for even the most casual photography users. Unless you’re a hobbyist or a pro, most people take pictures with their phone. And as newer phones produce better photos, your snaps will stand out in a negative way.

There’s little you can do to improve your photos if your camera is poor. Photo-editing apps can help optimize your photos, but they can’t improve their resolution. This is most obvious to spot on front cameras, which have (in the past) been worse than those on the back.

The only option if photography is important to you is to look at a replacement phone. A newer phone will come with better cameras, both front and back, though this will depend on your choice of phone.

7. Phone Damage or Wear and Tear

Android Phone Broken Screen

While it’d be nice if our tech was indestructible, nothing lasts forever. Whether a smashed screen, worn-out button, or cracked case—if your phone has damage, the clock is running on how long it’ll last.

Natural wear and tear can also play a part. You might be sending tweets in the rain a little too often, or your fingers are pressing too hard on your phone’s physical buttons. There may not be an obvious cause—internal components like your phone’s flash storage will sometimes fail for no clear reason.

Damage, whether it’s over a long period or immediate, will limit the effectiveness of your phone. It’s up to you to decide whether you can cope with a damaged phone that continues to run. Eventually, though, broken components will force your hand, and you may have little choice but to upgrade.

No Smartphone Will Last Forever

Whether it’s wear and tear or just obsolescence, no smartphone will last forever. Some components, like your phone’s battery, have a limited shelf life. Other parts, like the CPU and camera, become obsolete when you compare them to newer phones.

Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to upgrade their smartphone right away. If you’re not ready to upgrade (yet), you can take steps to make your Android device faster How to Make Android Faster: What Works and What Doesn't If your Android device doesn't feel as fast as it once was, try these tweaks to get it running faster (plus common "tips" to avoid). Read More if you’re feeling the slowdown.

Related topics: Android, Battery Life, Hardware Tips.

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  1. Fafy
    June 16, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I've been using my Galaxy y since 2011, beside the new apps won't run and some of the apps won't be updated, I don't have much trouble. when an app won't work, I look for another one that will work on my phone, and there are many.

  2. android user
    June 15, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Number 1 sign you need to upgrade your android: it starts looking like an iPhone.

  3. Sam Kay
    June 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    For those who managed to hold onto an earlier generation phone, batteries on a lot of those phones are user replaceable and inexpensive. For those with a non-user replaceable battery and you still want to hold onto that phone, it might be worth the cost of paying a pro to put in a replacement battery for you. The cost might be less than a new phone.
    Same thing with full memory, up to a point. You can't increase ROM dedicated to running the OS and apps. But if your phone can accommodate an SD card, install one in your phone, or upgrade it to a higher amount of storage, for example, 64GB from 16GB. It won't completely solve the problem, few apps can be transferred to an SD card. But your files, pics, and music can go there instead of the phone's internal memory.

    I hung onto my Galaxy S4 from 2013 to 2018. It was finally time to upgrade when certain apps wouldn't run on Lollipop 5.0. That's the only upgrade Samsung/Verizon bumped it to. So I got a refurb Pixel XL last year and I couldn't be happier. It's gotten 2 Android updates and Google will be going beyond their promised 2 year upgrade period & go for the "Q". The same version that Pixel 4 is coming out with this fall. I'm going to own this phone as long as I can. Btw, my old Samsung is still viable, is undamaged and I've got it in a drawer for a backup.

  4. bruce w fowler
    June 15, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    I find it intriguing that half of these conditions/symptoms are things that are readily ameliorated by treating the cellular as a computer and doing recommended normal maintenance.

  5. Andrew Blumenthal
    June 4, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    The battery life is why I went with a LGV20 a couple of years ago since it has a removable/replaceable battery. Pretty much guarantee that I will get a longer life out of the phone versus one with a permanent single battery.