Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How To Keep Your Android Tablet/Phone Fast

Please note that this article may be subject to major updates including new content and tips being included in the very near future. 

I was recently given a new tablet as a very late birthday present after my old tablet broke. This new tablet is a Nexus 7 and my first concern has been ensuring that the Quad-Core Tegra 3 processor remains lightening fast for as long as possible. 

I thought I'd write up on some of the simplest, but also best, ways to make sure your tablet (or phone) stays fast and smooth too. Enjoy!
Dealing With Google Currents


If you are finding that your tablet (especially the Nexus 7) or phone is suffering slow downs and lag, then you might want to try dealing with Google Currents. 

The app is well known to cause stuttering and lag on the Nexus 7, however some other mobile devices can also have this issue too, especially after the Android 4.2.2 update.

There are two ways to deal with Currents, one of which reduces lag and one that pretty much gets rid of all of it.


Way 1:

1) Go onto the Google Currents App.
2) Go into App settings. This can be accessed by tapping the android menu button (3 dots together).
3) Uncheck the Enable Background Sync option.
4) Restart your device.

After this the lag should be much reduced, however if you are still having problems with it simply go ahead with Way number 2 and disable the Currents app completely. Simply go into the App section on Settings, select Currents and click Disable. Agree to all the little boxes that come up notifying you that the app will basically uninstall and then it will go ahead and remove it from the device. If you want it back at all just go into the Play Store, go onto the Currents app and click 'Enable'. 

After disabling all lag should be gone. 


Avoid Side Loading Apps, Movies, Music etc.


I know that one of the awesome things about Android is the ability to side load apps, however this isn't actually good for your device. While saving yourself a few pounds/dollars for a game or app, or downloading some music or TV programmes and movies through the Torrent app you can get might seem like one of the highlights of your Android device, you do all this at your device's performance expense.

Side loading media is one of the easiest ways to clog up your device and make it slower. Downloading all your shit through Google Play or Amazon or an actual registered service is always smoother because these services are designed for your tablet/phone. When you download from the internet you are downloading from something that is simply compatible with your device, no actually built for it. There are tons of reasons that side loading content is far from good for your device.

If you simply want to download a couple of apps here and there then knock yourself out, but if you intend to go to town on the whole side loading business, then do so at your own risk. Android may offer you this ability, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is good to use it.

Manage Your Widgets


This is yet another piece of advice that is no doubt going to cause upset to any Android users reading, however luckily it isn't actually that big of a deal.

Widgets. They're one of the unique things that Android offers that Apple doesn't. And people love them. Unfortunately widgets also have a dark side; they clog up your home screens and slow your device down when navigating the UI. 

Just like having a Live Wallpaper slows your device down (this is common knowledge so I didn't think I'd mention it in its own section) widgets also tend to clog up your device too.

Having all of your home screens filled to the brim with widgets won't always make your device too laggy or slow, however it won't make it buttery smooth either. Widgets aren't a big deal, however if you really want to ensure navigating the UI is smooth and easy, then I wouldn't go to town on the Widgets. Just have a couple on each screen and you'll be fine.

Avoid Apps With Push Ads


Everyone knows and generally agrees that ads are a pain. They interrupt your favourite TV programmes, force you to watch them before even the shortest of Youtube videos and take over websites to the point where you don't even know if what you are clicking is an ad or an actual part of the website itself.

However ads on Android are probably the biggest bum. While having them pop up during a game is irritating enough, push ads are beyond infuriating, especially as - and this is really relevant if you download a lot of apps - it can be hard to identify exactly WHAT app is supporting these damn ads.

Avoiding apps that support push ads is really essential in making sure your device stays speedy because push ads slow down your Android tablet/phone like crazy.

In case you are unsure about what push ads are exactly then let me bring you up to speed.

Push ads are basically ads that force their way onto your device. Instead of appearing ONLY when you are in the app itself, they appear randomly as notifications in your notifications bar, they can appear as bookmarks in your browser and they can even become actual shortcuts on your Android's home screen.

While the latter two can be dealt with by simply deleting them, the first form of push ad - the one that appears as a notification - is constant and can only be stopped by actually uninstalling the app itself.

Push ads are just horrible, horrible things and they can ruin good apps. A lot of the time they are used in apps that you will not access as much. So unlike a game, which you will likely start up and play more frequently, apps that support push ads are often ones that are less often used, like an internet signal booster or a type of widget app. Because you don't use these as much, the developers will not get anywhere near the amount of money from in app ads that they would if they had developed an app that you would actually directly use more. So they put in push ads instead, which infiltrate your device and cause you to rip your hair out in frustration. However the developers are still smiling because they're getting their money.

Anyway, if you want to keep your device, especially the UI, as smooth as possible as well as avoid the total infuriting-ness that is notification ads, then avoid, at all costs, push ad apps.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Google Play has some rules regarding this form of advertising, these are either ignored or sneakily got around, and it can be hard to identify if an app is actually going to spam you with ads or not. Some tell you if they will, others do not.

Best way to avoid push ad apps is to simply read, very carefully, the description of the app before downloading. Also, try not to download too many apps all at once otherwise you might lose track of them and not realise which one is ad-ing you to death.

Another tip is to avoid fake and/or stupid apps. Things like 'internet boosters' and 'performance improvers' and silly apps like 'fart noises' tend to be the most common push ad culprits, so keep your wits about you and download sensibly.

Remember To Clear Your Cache


Pretty basic step this but one worth noting. If you find your device is stuttering a bit or something then go into Settings and Storage and clear your device's cache. This will likely fix any issues you are having with particular apps too, especially the browser.

Avoid Custom Firmwares & Dodgy Shit


Rooting your device is fine. In fact rooting, if anything, actually improves your device's performance. However in my experience custom firmwares and special 'device altering' downloads are to be avoided. Having downloaded custom firmwares and updates on my first tablet I found out that while they can often make your device do cool things, they can also screw you over.

Custom firmwares do little except clog up your device and damage it. My advice is root your device and then download things compatible with your root, however don't just download custom firmwares and shit like that because otherwise you will pay the price.

Keep On Top Of Your Active & Running Apps & Services


If you want to ensure your device stays consistently smooth all the time, them make sure you close apps and stop services if you are not using them. Don't let the amount of active apps you have build up and make sure you close any you are not using. 

If you want to really control what apps and services are using up processing power go into Settings and then Apps and swipe along to Running. This will give you a clear view of almost all the apps and services that your device is running and how much memory and power they're using up. Select ones you are not using or want to stop and tap Stop. Sometimes a little message will appear telling you that if you stop the app/service then it or other apps/services relating to it may misbehave or stop functioning, however this is not a big deal and you can ignore it and go ahead and stop the app/service. Most of the time this message only appears when you try to stop apps/services that relate to widgets as they are always active on your home screen so they can't technically ever be stopped from running.

I hope this little tips guide helped you out and maybe resolved some issues you were having too. If you have anything, anything at all, to add, then do so in the comments! Peace.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these information. I will apply it on my tablet because its already getting slow.

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    1. Hey thank you for your awesome comment! Glad I could help! A fair amount of issues that devices have are often unique to that device in particular. So the Nexus 7 is mainly the only tablet that suffers from lag due to Google Currents while other tabs and phones tend to be fine. Is it possible to know what tablet you own as there might be some extra things you can do or note that might help it stay fast that are exclusively valid to your tablet in particular?

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  2. Thanks Michael Kyle, this was helpful... I don't keep any widgets on my jellybean 4.2.1 phone and also clear out recent apps. I also clear RAM many times a day and "End All Applications"... Basically I don't multitask on my phone even though i have a 1 gigahertz processor... Apart from this I will remember to clear cache of Internet and Chrome in my phone. I also store all of my data on micro sd card so that the phone does not overload.. My phone up-till now never hangs or lags. But just in case if it does i'll be sure to take these precautions (which i already do!) Thanks Buddy :)

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    1. So glad you found it helpful! Thanks for the awesome comment! Something I will just say, though, is don't worry about using your phones internal storage. There are pros and cons of using an SD card and the built in memory.

      The cons of the SD card are:

      1) It's slower. It does not load apps or data as fast.
      2) It is more likely to go wrong, ultimately losing all of your data.

      The cons of internal storage are:

      1) There are more ways to lose your data. For instance, if the device itself breaks, it will all get lost. The storage system itself isn't the only thing that can go wrong.
      2) It slows your device down. As it is built in it can slow the device itself down. However, the SD card is slower in that it takes longer to communicate and transfer data to the phone itself, so either way: they're both going to be slow in there own ways. Arguably internal storage is worse a sit makes the entire device itself slower.

      Anyway, thanks for reading man! Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Is there anyway I can use BitTorrent on my device without significant harm to the device itself?

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    1. yes..tTorrent. its on play store. just make sure u shut the app off when you are done downloading

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  4. yes..tTorrent. its on play store. just make sure u shut the app off when you are done downloading

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  5. I dropped my note 10.1 accidentally at 4 feet (the screen survived) just a few scratches on dents. Im very much annoyed and uncomfortable. Does it affect the interior? I mean the processor, system, network connectivity or whatsoever? Please reply. ;'(

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    1. We all drop our phones and tablets and, actually, the other day I dropped my Nexus 7 off the side of my chair.

      Whether these drops and bashes actually affect the workings of the device depend entirely on how the device performs. Chances are no, nothing inside your tablet is even remotely damaged, but the quickest way to tell if something is screwed up or not is to simply use the device and see if the performance is off or anything.

      If not then you have nothing to worry about, but if you find the device fails to load the memory contents or lags a lot, you might want to get it checked.

      In the end, however, I HIGHLY (like, really highly) doubt anything is wrong with your Note. A 4 feet drop is nothing to a tablet and, really, your main and only concern is the screen. As that is fine, the chances of the interior being damaged is minimal. I wouldn't worry about it!:-)

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  6. Your help is greatly appreciated! Thanks man. After checking the tablet, the internet, (using mobile data) is a bit slower than before. Few times it disconnects, and aside from the net, the video playback (only when using instagram) became weird, (its like stretched, or compressed, and the the video upon playback is rotated) but it works fine when your recording the video. I use instagram/instavid most of the time and I will feel very bad when I will miss my favorite feature on instagram. When recording the note's main camera, there's no plauback issue. I dont know it the app has the problem or the motion sensor or the tablet itself. Ignore the grammar sir. I am a freak when it comes to my electronics. Thanks sir!

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    1. Hmm I'm really not sure about the WiFi. As you said it's only a problem when using the 3G feature (I take it that's what you meant?) I doubt that this has anything to do with the dropping of the device. It's probably just your Service Provider being crappy.

      As for the video playback, it could be an issue with your Gyro/Motion Sensor as these can be broken or affected by drops easily (I kinda broke the sensor on my first tablet through dropping it). I recommend you use some apps and games that utilise the use of the motion sensor and if they perform well it's more likely the app being poor. It's not uncommon for apps to become a bit naf. I use the MX Player app and just the other day it stopped working until a recent update I downloaded for it.

      Two apps to experiment with that use the motion sensor are:

      S.M.T.H

      Motion Actions - (I highly recommend this as it's based entirely around using the motion controls of the tablet)

      Hope this helps you out man :-)



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  7. Those are all points worth sharing. In particular, I would like to comment on clearing caches. A lot of users are not really familiar with this term so they either miss or forget this step. If that’s the case, there are free apps available out there that regularly reminds the user to clear caches and removes them automatically.

    Cordia Remsen

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