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.
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.
My phone, for example, tends to chew through the battery's charge when I'm at home. This is because my mobile carrier has recently sold off many of its local towers and my phone has to work harder to locate a signal at my house.
So what if neither of those two options match up? Then the next step is to see which app is running your battery down. From your settings, visit the Battery section. In most cases, your number one battery drain should be the screen. In my case, however, it turned out to be a process called mdnsd.
To most people, this might not be that helpful. But because I monitor my battery status weekly, I knew instantly it was caused by an app I use to forward my SMS to an Android tablet. Each SMS that comes through, is forwarded...all day long. And folks, I get a ton of messages throughout the day.
In your case, however, perhaps it’s an app like Facebook or Google Plus. These apps are the ones that cause the battery to drain most of the time. Other examples might be a ticker app for stocks or weather. If these apps are set to update too frequently or simply have buggy code, then you may see these draining your battery. Once you've narrowed down the app causing the issue, simply uninstall it or do a force quit, then decide if you're going to allow it to run in the background from Settings, Applications.
Data usage gone wild
There are few things in life more frustrating than getting your mobile bill only to discover your data usage has shot through the roof. This often means paying huge overage payments and it's no fun. Assuming you don't have other family members using up all your data watching YouTube videos while away from home, this can be caused by a rogue app.
To discover which app is eating through your data allowance each month, head over to Settings and then Data usage. From there you'll usually have two options – Wifi and Mobile. You're going to want to take a look at the top apps showing up under Mobile. For most people, it's stuff that we can control like YouTube or Chrome. But if it's something like Facebook and you know you don't spend much time on your mobile Internet looking at the app, it might be time to take some drastic steps.
Start by clicking into the app itself. Then look for the option called "Restrict Background Data." Check this option. Depending on the app, you may end up missing out on certain alerts. But at least you know that app isn't eating through your mobile data when you're not connected to your home Wifi.
Now if the problem stems from a lack of self-control, don't worry, there's a fix for this as well. Go back to Settings, then Data Usage. From here, you can choose to either be alerted about your usage or to limit your mobile data usage entirely. Once you've checked the appropriate box, use the line graph indicator to set the threshold you're looking for. If for some reason your Android phone lacks these features, try your mobile carrier's website dashboard. Often there are data throttling controls there for each phone on the account.
Your favorite Android troubleshooting tips
Now that I've listed my top tips, let's hear about yours! Perhaps you have an app that enables you to drill down on an Android related issue? Maybe you've found that by rooting your Android device, you're able to free up additional space that wouldn't have been possible otherwise?
Whatever your tip happens to be, hit the comments below and share them with us. Inquiring minds would like to know.
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