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How to speed up your Android smartphone

Chunky apps and malware can make your mobile sluggish and slow to respond. Here’s how to speed up your Android phone.

Over time, your Android smartphone can slow down as files, pictures and videos build up, but thankfully there are a couple of ways to get things back to the way they were.

From removing unused apps to a full factory reset, read on as we take a look at five ways to keep your Android handset running smoothly.

Best Buy mobile phones – the best smartphones to pass through our test lab

1. Clear space by removing apps

If you’re suffering with a slow mobile, try and identify apps that are potentially causing the issue. Generally, a smartphone packed with apps will run slower than one with plenty of free internal storage. Manage your downloads effectively and you’ll see some results.

From your home screen or app tray, tap Settings and then scroll down to Storage & USB. Next, tap Apps. You’ll see a list of every app installed on your smartphone. Use the icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots) to order apps by file size. If you spot a large, rarely used app, it might be time to uninstall it.

Pictures and videos can also eat through your storage quickly, especially if you’re shooting in 4K. Most modern smartphones let you adjust the quality you shoot in, so take some time to explore your default camera app.

2. Try a mobile security app

It’s not just computers that can be hit by malware. A slow smartphone could possibly be dealing with a virus transferred through a malicious app, or a troublesome email attachment from an unknown source.

A range of free and paid-for apps from the likes of Kaspersky, Avast and McAfee can lend a helping hand, featuring anti-phishing tools and scheduled scans that help keep your device secure.

We’ve tested a range of mobile security apps designed specifically for Android devices. Head over to our security app reviews for the details.

3. Keep your smartphone updated

There are many different Android manufacturers and each company handles updates differently, which means that some smartphones get treated to a bug-busting upgrade while others get left behind.

For example, some Android devices, like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, will be getting the new Android Nougat update (right) before others.

To make sure your Android device is up to date, tap on Settings and then scroll down to About phone. Next, tap on System updates to see when the last time you installed a patch was. Usually, your smartphone will automatically tell you when it needs updating, but there’s no harm in manually checking for yourself. If you need more information on updates, head to your smartphone manufacturer’s website.

4. Tidy up your widgets

Widgets are essentially mini apps that you can use on your homepage. While they can be handy for taking down notes or checking the forecast at a glance, they can also have an impact on smartphone speed as they regularly fetch data. If you’ve got lots of widgets living on your device, consider cutting them down.

5. Reboot or factory reset your device

Sometimes, a simple restart is all your smartphone needs to pull itself together. Turn your smartphone off and on again by using the power button.

If a regular restart doesn’t solve the problem, it might be worth trying a factory reset. Before you do this, make sure you back up all the content you want to save, because there’s no guarantee it’ll be there after the factory reset is complete. Some restore tools let you keep ‘personal content’ (see right), but others don’t.

Other tips

If your device takes a long time to load web pages, check your network settings to make sure your wifi, 3G and 4G are each set up correctly.

If you’re an Android veteran, try downloading a custom launcher from the Play Store, many of which let you manually adjust animation speeds. Live wallpapers (animated wallpapers) are also a resource hog, so if you’re using one try replacing it with a still image and see if you notice a difference in performance.

More on this

Smartphone reviews – read in-depth verdicts of the latest handsets 
How to buy the best Android smartphone
– pick the perfect mobile for you
Android Nougat – seven key features  – the next big Android update

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