Think of your Android device as a computer. As you fill it up with stuff: apps, photos, videos, files, and other detritus, it starts to get sluggish, the battery runs out faster, and it gets harder to find what you need among all the clutter. Like a computer, you need to take care of your device: backing it up, offloading large files and unused apps, organizing those that you keep, and making sure it’s always up to date with the latest security patches. Fear not: these tips are generally easy to do and won’t take up a lot of your time. It’s all about maintenance. Here are few ways that you can make your Android more efficient and long lasting.
1. Update Your OS
Updating your operating system to the latest version not only means access to the newest features but also to the most up-to-date security patches. Depending on your device, carrier, and current operating system, the process will be a bit different, but most of the time it should be relatively easy.
2. Root Your Device
Of course, if you have an older device, you may not be able to update to the latest OS, or you may have to wait until your carrier pushes it out, which can be months after it’s released. One of the pros of rooting is that you can update your OS and access new features without going through your carrier. Other benefits include the ability to remove built-in apps, access features blocked by your carrier, and much, much more. Read my how-to guide for rooting Android devices.
3. Use the Default File Manager
If you’ve upgraded to Android Marshmallow, you can access a built-in file manager. (Don’t have Marshmallow yet? Find out when Android 6.0 is coming to your device.) Previously, you had to download a third-party app in order to manage your device’s files. Now you can dig into your files by going into the storage and USB section of your device’s settings. There you can see how much space you have left, view all of the apps installed on your device, and copy files to the cloud.
4. Use an Android Launcher
The Android interface is generally easy to use, but it can sometimes get muggd up by the manufacturer. If you have an HTC, LG, or Samsung device, it likely runs a slightly modified version of Android. There are two ways to deal with this. First, you can switch to a device that runs stock Android, such as Google Nexus smartphone or the Motorola X Pure Edition. Alternatively, you can download an Android launcher, which lets you customize your home screens and manage apps. Launchers give you more options; you can personalize color schemes, more easily organize apps, and even resize the elements on your screen.
5. Extend Battery Life
Nothing destroys productivity like a dead or dying battery. There are two easy solutions here: carry a portable charger at all times or make your battery last longer. There are a few ways to save battery life: turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them; kill apps that are running the background; use the power-saving mode introduced in Lollipop; and more.