Top Android Phone Troubleshooting Tips

Essential techniques to improve the performance of your Android phone, including avoiding Android slowdown and data overages.
Posted November 9, 2015

Matt Hartley

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I'm the first to admit that I spend entirely too much time staring at my Android phone. Unfortunately with heavy usage, errors and mishaps are bound to occur. In this article, I'll share my top tips for troubleshooting, fixing and often avoiding Android phone issues.

Android slowdown

Performance slowdown is a common issue that affects some Android phones more than others. Usually the symptoms experienced include apps loading more slowly, apps crashing and Android navigation feeling sluggish.

Based on my experience, the issue can be drilled down to the following common causes:

  • Too many processes/apps are running at once.
  • Apps needing to have their cache(s) cleared.
  • The cache partition needs to be cleared.
  • Your internal storage is almost completely filled.

Let's start off by examining the first possible cause – too many apps running. Most people don't think to kill off the apps that they started and are no longer running. Simply use your recent apps button, then choose the Task Manager to see if anything unnecessary is still running. Click on End for each of the apps you wish to stop running in the background. Did your phone speed up some? No, then keep reading.

If you're noticing a slow down with only some of your apps, then you only need to delete the cache for those problem apps. From your Android settings, visit your Application manager. Now scroll down to locate the problem application. You may need to tab over from Downloaded to All apps to locate the title you're searching for.

Once you've located the app, click into it and then scroll down to the area called Clear Cache. Go ahead and clear it. In most cases, this will help your problem app recover since the corrupted data has been purged. In more extreme cases, sometimes it's worth also clicking the Clear Data option as well.

NOTE: Choosing to Clear Data means you're resetting that app back to a brand new state. This means having to login again, potentially having to re-sync any data that is used off-site, among other related changes.

With situations where Android navigation and/or integrated functions like SMS or the Phone are sluggish, sometimes a more extreme measure is needed – clearing the cache partition. The method to do this varies from phone to phone. But with a quick Google search and your Android's phone model, you'll find what you need. Now I'll be first to admit that with the higher end Android devices this is rarely needed. I usually do it out of a sense of good housekeeping. But for older, less powerful Android devices, this can make a world of difference in terms of performance.

Finally, a cause for Android slowdown could be related to your storage being almost completely filled up. I've personally never experiences this, however I've seen it happen to others. From your settings menu, visit the Storage section. Do you have a Gigabyte or less available for free space? It may be time to make some tough choices in order to free up some space.

One thing you can do immediately is to click on Cached data, then hit OK to clear that data from the drive. It may not free up a ton of space, however you may regain a Gigabyte or two for your efforts. The second thing to consider is trying to move some lesser used apps over to your SD card. Just remember to force stop each app you're moving and understand not all apps will successfully move over.

The final thing you can do is to simply remove some of your apps. Yes, I realize that stooping to that level feels like a drag. However, the reality here is you need storage space and you don't have enough for a smooth running phone and a whole ton of apps. Personally, I don't let my storage get below three Gigabytes. This provides me with enough room for app and OS updates, along with a little bit of breathing room.

Battery Dying too quickly

Unless you've purchased an Android phone with an amazing battery, chances are by nightfall your battery is all but dead. When using common background services such as the WiFi radio and location services, this is pretty standard.

That said, there are some situations where your battery is dying far too quickly – even when you're not using the phone. When this happens, it's usually for one of the following causes.

  • Your phone is older and the battery is the original one. Each Android phone's battery has a finite number of charge cycles available before its charge capacity takes a hit.
  • You're in a location where your Android phone is constantly looking for a tower. This is common in areas where the surroundings are good for cell signal pass through.
  • An app or a process is running non-stop, chewing through your battery's charge for the day. This commonly happens with alert apps looking for a data signal from a mobile carrier as described in #2 above.

If your device is an older Android phone with a non-removable battery, odds are you simply need a new phone. It's this or carry a phone charging device with you at all times. If you don't believe this is the problem, then the next likely issue is determining if the battery issue happens everywhere or only at certain locations.

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Tags: Android, Mobile Analytics

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