13 Ways to Make an Android Faster

Beyond deleting apps and trash folders, other suggestions include switching to a still wallpaper and killing memory-hogging apps

Diagnosing why Android is slow can be difficult because it could be any number of software-related or hardware-related issues or a mixture of both! Fortunately, the culprit is likely related to software, which means there are lots of steps you can take to make Android faster, all completely free and easy to try.

Why Your Android Is So Slow

Every reason why Android is slow can be boiled down to two things: software and hardware.

Software issues usually arise because of limited storage space and memory, which happens when there's an excessive number of apps and files on the device. There might also be unresolved software bugs from an outdated app or operating system.

Additionally, a faulty battery or other failing hardware limits how well Android can perform.

Your device as a whole, and every app that's installed, are constantly competing for resources. When there isn't enough to go around, Android slows down, apps take longer to open, and nothing feels as smooth as it used to.

How to Make Android Faster

Few things are as frustrating as a slow phone, but don't get overwhelmed by this long list. The first few tips should be enough to provide noticeable performance improvements, especially for really slow phones. But we recommend completing all these steps; just restart your Android device a few times as you make your way through it.

Test your internet speed first! It's easy to conflate a slow phone with slow internet. Your phone or tablet might be running fine, just on a slow network. Our Why Is My Internet So Slow? article explains why your internet connection might be slow.

  1. Close apps you don't need to use right now. That previously used memory will become available for other apps that you want to prioritize.

  2. Empty trash folders. According to Google, Android devices might experience performance issues when free storage space falls below 10 percent.

    The file manager installed on your device, such as Google's Files app, provides an easy way to do this, but there are also dedicated junk cleaner apps for Android.

    This isn't absolutely necessary because most trash folders will keep a deleted file for only 30 days before automatically removing it. However, if you delete files often, you could have lots of unnecessary data needlessly taking up space.

  3. Delete apps you don't use, and remove unnecessary widgets. Too many in use at one time stacks up demand for memory, which could be freed to speed up your phone.

    The fewer apps and widgets you have, the less storage and memory they use. This is one reason why a brand-new phone runs faster than one that's accumulated clutter over time.

    If you can't decide what to part with, consider deleting apps that drain your battery the fastest, or go to Settings > Apps > Unused apps.

    Removing widgets works a little differently between phones, but one way is to tap and hold the widget and drag it into the Remove section. Do the same for apps, but choose Uninstall.

    If Android started lagging recently, the problem is most likely a recently installed app or widget. Review the last few items you added to your device, and delete each one, checking after each uninstallation to see if that speeds up Android.

  4. Clear app caches. This is useful if a specific app is causing performance issues because it will clear out some of the storage space that the app is using, which could be to blame for making Android seem slow.

  5. Stop apps from running in the background. Apps that launch background services clog up limited system resources like memory, which in turn makes your phone slow.

  6. Update all your apps. This will ensure they've got the latest updates from each respective developer. An update could fix a memory-related issue or some other problem that's slowing down your device.

  7. Update the Android OS. Similar to app updates, an outdated operating system could be why Android is so slow, and an update might be enough to address those issues.

    Depending on the device you have, it might not be able to run the latest Android version, or if it can, but you can't free up enough space to run it smoothly, it could actually make things even slower. If this is the root of your problem, there's little you can do besides get a newer phone.

  8. Replace your apps with lite versions. Some companies make an alternative version of their apps meant for devices with low memory or storage space.

    Uptodown has a big list of lite Android apps. Some examples include Facebook Lite, Spotify Lite, Twitter Lite, Google Maps Go, and Google Go.

  9. Install a virus scanner and use it to check for and delete viruses.

    Adding another app to a slow phone might seem counterproductive, but it's necessary to see if this is the problem.

    If you do have malware, it's no doubt hogging up valuable memory and storage space that the rest of your phone needs. Also, the virus is probably doing something dangerous without you knowing.

  10. Change your wallpaper to a still image.

    This is relevant only if you've made a video wallpaper, which is more taxing on hardware than a static wallpaper, and thus more likely to slow down your phone.

  11. See how much memory apps are using, and delete or shut down whatever makes sense for you.

    You'll need to enable developer options to do this. Then, go to Settings > System > Developer options > Memory > Memory used by apps. You can see memory usage over the last day.

    If you want to shut down an app from that screen, tap it from the list, and then use the three-dot menu to find Force stop.

    memory used by apps on Android
  12. Shorten the system animation scale. This is the length of time Android is configured to take to display animations, like when opening an app. Whether this actually speeds up your phone is of little consequence because it will no doubt make it feel faster.

    To do this, enable developer options if you haven't already, and then open those settings to find three options (in the Drawing section): Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. Change each of them to something quicker, like .5x.

    window animation scale setting in Android developer options
  13. Factory reset your device. This will clear out absolutely everything, including all our apps, downloaded files, texts, etc.

    Software-wise, this is the only way to revert your phone or tablet to the state it was in when it was first created.

    If you want to hold off on a full reset, boot Android into safe mode. If your phone runs smoothly in that mode, then there's more than likely still a software issue at play, so a factory reset makes sense.

Is It Time for a New Phone?

In the end, your phone or tablet might be too outdated to respond and function at a speed you find reasonable. If you can't update to the latest Android OS, and replacing parts isn't something you want to try, you're better off buying a new phone.

  • How can I make my Android charge faster?

    The easiest way is to not use your Android device while it is charging. The next way is also easy but it requires some money: buy a more powerful AC adapter. New, bigger AC adapters can send more power to your Android phone enabling it to charge far more quickly than the small AC adapter that likely came with your phone.

  • How do I make my Android phone run like new?

    If you just want your phone to feel like it did when you first got it, you can perform a factory reset and, once complete, it will essentially be the phone you got when you took it out of the box. Keep in mind, a factory reset (explained above) will wipe out all your data so make sure you have a copy of anything important backed up.

Was this page helpful?