How to speed up a slow Android

Android is a great OS, but you need to keep it on a short leash, otherwise, it can take over.

If your device has plenty of get-up-and-stop, have a play with these options.

Disable automatic updates

upAuto-updates are one of those hidden performance suckers. Not only does Wi-Fi speed take a hit as these updates download, they use CPU time, slowing other apps.

Launch the Google Play app, swipe in from left to get the menu, tap ‘Settings > Auto-update apps’ and select ‘Do not’. Repeat and choose ‘Update via Wi-Fi only’ to turn it back on again.

Turn off live wallpaper

Yes, it looks pretty, but it’s pointless. Anything your phone does chews up CPU time, so why waste it?

Press and hold on an empty part of the home screen, tap ‘Wallpapers’ and choose an image instead.

Try the built-in CPU monitor

monIf you suspect one or more apps have gone ‘rogue’, monitoring the CPU load will give you an idea if there’s a problem. There are plenty of CPU monitoring apps on Google Play, but here’s how to use the one built inside Android.

Head to ‘Settings > About phone’, scroll down to ‘Build number’ and tap it five times to enable Developer options. Go back to ‘Settings > Developer options > Monitoring’ (near the bottom) and turn on ‘Show CPU usage’.

You should now see three tiny numbers appear top-right — they show the live average CPU load over the last one, five and 15 minutes.

To read the numbers, count up the number of cores in your device CPU and that’s your ‘100% capacity’ or peak number, meaning the CPU is running at full capacity.

For example, my quad-core Samsung Galaxy S3’s peak-number is 4.0. On a dual-core box, it’s 2.0. Any higher than that number and you have CPU overload. Ideally, the lower the better.

osFollow the same steps again to switch it off. Or try OS Monitor on Google Play. Either way, only use CPU monitoring temporarily.

Disable animations

App window animations are standard fare for Android, but if you’re desperate for more speed, switch off this eye candy.

Go back to ‘Developer options > Drawing’ and set’ Window animation scale’, ‘Transition animation scale’ and ‘Animator duration scale’ either to ‘Off’ or drop to ‘1x’ instead of the default ‘2x’.

This scales back animations.

Foot to the floor!

This is a ‘break only in emergency’ tweak for custom ROMs with CPU kernel options.

The CPU governor is a bit like your car’s gearbox and sets how CPU power scales. Setting this to ‘performance’ should see it hit peak a little faster if action-lag is your problem.

Some kernels allow overclocking, but few devices are set up for it, so give it a miss.

In a hurry? Reboot.

This sounds like a helpdesk joke, but seriously, rebooting your Android device shuts down all open apps, which might just be enough to resurrect performance on its own.