How To Solve Common Android Phone Problems

Many times I have had my friends complain about their Android phones and how they are giving them problems and they don’t like them. The reason, I have noted, is that most of the time,they are expecting their smartphone to work just like their trusty old Nokia feature-phone used to,but that is not the case at all. So after our article on how to improve battery life on your android,this time we’ll look at other problems most users usually have with their new Droids,and how to easily solve them.

1. My Phone Keeps Freezing and is Slow

You my have noticed that since you got your Android a while back things have slowed down significantly after a while. Things like switching apps has become slow and you are experiencing delays in all the wrong places. Before you throw it in the bin,there are simple tricks that will restore your phone to it’s old self like new

Clear Internal Storage

Every phone has a limited amount of internal storage. The less free space a phone has to work with,the slower the device becomes. So if you have a lot of apps,music and photos in your internal memory full to the brim,things are going to start to slow down,or even freeze at times. A simple solution to this is to move all your photos,video and other media to the SD Card slot. Then in Settings>Applications there is an option to manage applications. From here,you will see a list of all your apps,and clicking on each app reveals some very useful options.

Apps list

The first is Uninstall,which completely removes the application,and thus creates free space in your internal memory. If you have alot of apps you “just installed to try” and forgot about and never use any more,this is a good way to create space in your phone.

Secondly,there is the setting Clear Cache. Apps build cache in order to speed up the functions of the app by storing temporary or commonly used data there,and to “remember” the user like your history or your password so you don’t have to put it over and over. Over time though they grow quite big,and may take a sizeable amount of phone storage. You can clear cache app by app,or if you have a newer version of Android (version 4.2+) you can go to Settings>Storage and look for the option “Cached data”  and taping that will give you the option to clear everything at once. A downside of clearing cache is that all your apps will “forget” you,but the space savings and speed boost are worth it if they have gotten too big. The apps will also rebuild new caches as you continue using them,so it is good to check from time to time especially when the phone is feeling slow.

Uninstall and Clear Cachecached data

Limit themes and animations especially on slower phones

Widgets,live wallpapers,themes and icon packs are a staple of Android. However,pumping your screen full of data intensive widgets (that refresh information a lot) and graphically intensive live wallpapers,might look cool,and is indeed handy for getting information without opening the full app,but overdoing it simply means your phone resources are being devoted to keeping them running,at the expense of other apps,because homescreen is at the front-line of the  OS and is given priority.  A pretty theme will be accompanied by fancy animations,which put strain on your phone’s GPU unit. If the GPU can’t handle all the graphics ,it will be choppy,hence lag.

Update your phone

You might not be bothered to update your phone when you see that notification pop up and simply ignore it,but more than likely,it carries bug fixes and improvements to performance. Especially if it an update to a newer version of Android,it is totally worth it,as they have been getting faster and smoother over the years.  To check for updates simply go to Settings>About Phone and there is an option  System Updates

System updates

Change your launcher

Sometimes a slow phone can be the result of this one app not being properly optimised. Manufacturers like to put their own launchers which is the android desktop on phones to change the look and feel of android to better suit their customers. Some do a great job of it,while others,not so much. Changing your launcher to one of the popular ones available on Play Store that are known to be fast can magically speed up your phone. Launchers such as ADW Launcher and Lightning Launcher are built for speed,and although some of the settings might be intimidating at first,there are many tutorial videos for setting it up easy.

2.My Phone Chews Though Data Bundles

The biggest culprit for this is that Android actively refreshes apps,to give you all the latest data. It is an immensely useful feature,but if that data is coming from the internet,like your emails,tweets, facebook updates and application updates with new features,your bundle will soon be gone. Other famous culprits include video apps such as YouTube,which fetch video from the web,and apps like last.fm which fetch music online.  Because android phones also sport fast internet with 3G and even 4G sometimes,large downloads really fly on the phone,and you end up finishing you bundle with just a few downloads,because they are so big,so watch out when browsing.

If you have a newer version of Android (version 4.0+), simply go to Settings>Data Usage  and here you will find a few useful settings. The first one is Set Mobile Data Limit and this setting allows you to set a limit and a warning for your bundle usage inside a usage cycle. So if you expect your bundle of 1GB to last a month,you set the dates you put it and expect it to finish and then you can set it to warn you at say 750MB so that you slow down your usage and completely limit your internet to wifi only at 1GB.

set data limit

Scrolling lower you will find a list of apps which use your bundles the most,and how much bundle they have consumed.Note that it does not show what you have used over wifi,only on your data bundles. This is very handy because it allows you to discover your bundle killer,and decide if you want to keep that app around. Clicking on an app opens a detailed view,which shows how much of that data is background (updates,syncing) and foreground (downloading,videos).there is a check-box Restrict background data which will block the app from using data in the background and from the full list of the apps, you can press menu button and see the same setting,which this time will restrict all the apps wholesale. Though switching them all off is convenient,anything that the app does in the background using internet will stop,and you will have to refresh your apps by manually opening them.Taking time instead to go through the list is a good idea to determine which app is necessary and stays on and which app deserves the blackout.

DATA USAGEIMG-20140804-WA0008IMG-20140804-WA0026

To stop your apps updating using your bundle,open Play Store and then press the menu button. In the settings menu for the app you will find the setting,Auto update apps and if you click it you can set it to over WiFi only. This ensures your apps stay up to date,but never touch your bundles. It is also a good idea to do all your large downloads over WiFi or on your modem, for obvious reasons,unless it is really necessary.

update only on wifi

Finally,you can fine tune your syncing settings in Settings>Accounts. here you will find a list of accounts that sync,and if you click on an account,there’s a list of what it syncs. You don’t necessarily need all of it syncing,especially data killers like photos. uncheck the box next to the item,or uncheck the whole of your accounts,and going forward it will only sync when you manually open the app and refresh that item.

accountscheckboxes

If you have an older android version,or you simply want even more control over your data,apps such as 3G Watchdog and Onavo Count activate all these settings for you,and a few more aggressive ones in simple interfaces,and even live widgets for your homescreen.

3. My Phone Might Get a Virus

Because Android is such a popular system for smartphones on almost 80% of them,malicious hackers usually target the operating system with their attacks. But does that mean you should  enter panic mode and drop big bucks on an expensive antivirus app? Not at all! Android is full of security measures within itself,and learning to use them will give you peace of mind.  how do you do it?

Don’t Use Third Party Stores to get Apps

Android allows for apps to be installed from other sources other than Play Store and because of this,other app stores and repositories exist online, some of which are legitimate like the Samsung Store and Amazon Market but many of which are dubious and even illegal. The Play Store features a security measure called Bouncer,which continuously sweeps through the store removing malware uploaded by shady developers,however,other app stores can not guarantee the safety of your downloads,or are even started by these malicious developers themselves. So stick to the play store as much as you can,and you’ll be okay. Do not install pirated software from black markets,you have no idea what the pirate did to the code before giving it to you. Pornographic apps are also a hub for viruses,as are the websites on Desktops,so common sense applies here.

play store

Look Carefully At App Permissions Before Installing

Say in that very off chance,you download an app just BEFORE it is removed by Bouncer on Play Store?A good way to avoid this is to simply download popular apps with millions of users already or at least high hundreds of thousands. But if you are unlucky,every time you download an app on Android,it tells you all the permissions the app requires to work. All apps have to do this,even viruses,and it is here that you can protect yourself. Why does that calculator app want permission to make calls? Why does that SMS app want to read your phonebook? Why does a game want to send SMS? If it looks suspicious simply stay away and install something else,there are plenty of options on the Play Store.

app permissions

Update Your Phone

Again,newer Android versions have even tighter security measures built in than older ones,and staying up to date is in itself protection.

Keep Wireless Off When not in Use

Viruses can be sent to your phone over Bluetooth and on public WiFi networks,so if you are not using your connectivity it is best to switch it off.

 

There you have it,simple solutions to all your Android problems .Did we miss anything? Is there a tip you know of that we don’t? let us know in the comments section below.

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