Your Android phone is a powerful computer. But like any other computer, it won't run at its best without proper care and maintenance. If you've ever owned an Android phone, you probably noticed that it became slower after a few months of use than it was when you first brought it home from the store.
There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and in this article I'll explain how to get your Android smartphone back into tip-top shape. You can accomplish a lot of what I'll be recommending here by performing a simple factory reset; but if you take that approach, you'll lose your data and have to reconfigure your phone. So instead, grab your Android phone and follow these steps to get it running like new again.
[ Understand how to both manage and benefit from the consumerization of IT with InfoWorld's "Consumerization Digital Spotlight" PDF special report. | Subscribe to InfoWorld's Consumerization of IT newsletter today. ]
Clear the cache
Have an app that's always crashing? Rather than force-closing or uninstalling it, try clearing its cache. This simple step will help resolve most of the issues that troublesome apps may be experiencing--and it won't create new problems, as forcing the app to shut down might. To clear an application's cache, open the Settings menu on your phone and click Applications. Then select Manage Applications and tap the app that's been having problems. Don't worry--all of your data and settings will remain intact; you're just getting rid of temporary files that may be causing difficulties.
Even though it's my job to love apps (and I do love them), improperly written ones can cause all sorts of trouble for your Android phone. Built-in problems can range from storing critical data as a plain-text file in your memory card to sullying your notification bar with constant updates that can't be disabled.
Consider the official Facebook app: Opening it automatically turns on your GPS, in case you want to upload a photo or create a status update that shares your current location. That's fine and dandy, except that the app periodically forgets to turn off your phone's GPS once it's done using it, wasting precious battery power and leaving you scrambling for the nearest outlet. Even apps you aren't intentionally using may be running processes in the background that waste resources for no good reason.
Unfortunately, task killers are generally ineffective at combating this problem, so your only practical option is to open your app drawer and uninstall apps that you don't regularly use. Doing so will open up space on your phone for more music, videos, and pictures, and it will help reduce the number of apps that are running in the background.