Rescuing an old or cheap Android phone, maintaining it the end of the garbage stream, preventing the advertise to always buy new: the feels good.

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Actually making use of that phone with an Android version 2 or three versions behind, wait for apps come load, feeling it shudder a little as you merely scroll under a feed: it feels prefer trying to run a 5K after acquisition too numerous Benadryl.

Some points you can not change around that old phone friend pulled out of a drawer: The processor, the camera, the on-board memory, and, in part cases, the warehouse space. But there are many things you deserve to swap out, software-wise, to comprise for its hardware inefficiencies.

Real-World Testing

I and fellow writer Whitson Gordon wrote approximately 850 kadzillion blog write-ups involving Android customization and also optimization during the beforehand days that Android phones. Most were written as soon as every phone to be low-spec, in some sense. These days, even the cheapest Android phones have the right to do the basics without severe tuning. There room many, numerous other search results for “how to rate up android” or “fix slow laggy android” that offer drastic steps (like rooting or installation unofficial ROMs) or unproven “tricks”. We want a shorter list of things that really work.


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Use Google’s go Apps

Even if you never ever install an additional app, Google’s own default apps have the right to feel prefer big, sluggish data hogs on an larger phone. Happily (but also, weirdly), Google renders smaller, lighter versions of numerous of their own applications. They just reserve them for Android go phones, i beg your pardon they mainly license to budget phone makers exterior the U.S. But you deserve to install some of Google’s walk apps from the play Store, and grab the others with a small side-loading trickery.

For the apps the aren’t easily accessible on the U.S. Play store below, we’ve contained a attach to APK Mirror, a trusted website for grabbing security-scanned apps. As soon as you’ve gained the APK on your phone, friend can enable “Unknown Sources” in your phone’s Settings and open the APK record to sideload it.

Be careful, though: APK Mirror’s website contains a variety of links the look like download buttons, since they have to make some revenue, but distasteful those ads are. The just download connect you desire to click, after ~ navigating to the recent version, reads “Download APK.”

Many of this apps require Android 8.0 or later on to install, also if girlfriend can find the APK file—which is, sadly, a limitation you can not get around without some more drastic steps we’ll comment on later. Because that now, below are the apps, the minimum version of Android lock require, and also where you deserve to pick the up:

There’s a great chance Google has made even more of this if you’re analysis this post; inspect the Play save to uncover them.

Use Lite or web Apps

Twitter, Facebook, and also Instagram would all love you come install your full-size apps, allow them to constantly update in the background, and engage v their plenty of features nobody uses. However they, prefer Google, want people everywhere to usage their apps, so they market lighter versions, or mobile web versions that are basically apps.

Nearly any social application you usage will have actually a mobile website that offers many of the features of a full app. Head to the website in Chrome on her phone and select “Add to house screen” native the browser’s menu. That provides you an app-like container come use, where you’ll remain signed in.

Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Google Photos, and also Lyft work well as mobile webapps. Other apps have actually their very own “lite” versions to install. Each one conserves you the much much more storage an are and memory.

Also store an eye the end for third-party apps the can administer a lighter, and sometimes better, endure for utilizing your favourite sites. We prefer Reddit is fun and BaconReader for browsing Reddit over the main app, because that example.

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Uninstall Apps friend Don’t need or Use

This one is sort of obvious, yet it requirements to be mentioned. If there’s an application on your phone you don’t use, eliminate it, typically by long-pressing on the faster way to obtain to “App info,” or in the Apps section of your settings. Apps deserve to do points in the elevator you nothing need, i eat lot data and storage, or (rarely however occasionally) go haywire v memory or CPU use. It is in ruthless.

Turn on Data-Saving Modes

Old, cheap phones are regularly using slow networks. Even if castle have rapid connections, huge webpages or feeding refreshes usage up your phone’s resources while castle streaming in. You deserve to mitigate few of these v data saver modes, tucked right into the setups of some major apps. For example:

Phones with Android 7.0 and over also have a Data Saver mode built into Android itself, usually easily accessible from the pull-down setups tiles. Transforming this on severely borders background data intake by apps, and even reigns in the app you’re at this time using. A good Computerworld overview by JR Raphael walks v Data Saver and many other choices for limiting data usage by a slow-moving phone, including Google’s own Datally app.

Clear out Your storage (or add More)

Older and also lower-cost phones usually have less warehouse as component of those expense savings. When your phone runs out of inner storage space, that will struggle mightily to discover some, or rather scramble come read and write indigenous what tiny there is left. This is the tantamount of your phone make the efforts to traction a single branch out of a house-size brush pile.

Some easy ways to clear up storage on an overstuffed Android phone:

Newer version of Android (8.0 and also above) have built-in tools to cost-free up space. Look at in the Storage section of the setups app and also find references there.

All the various other Stuff You could Do

The suggestions above will do the biggest difference to your day-to-day experience of a lower-spec, non-modern Android phone. But there are other steps you can take, which either have actually slim returns or are mostly untested. Venture forth through that knowledge.

Disable live wallpapers and also remove widgets: switching to a brand-new launcher should already do this, yet if her moving, glittering background or quirky weather widget grounding around, they carry out take up some resources.Remove any kind of “task killers” or “RAM savers”: These absolutely perform not work and also usually make points worse. If you had one installed previously, or someone mounted one come “help” you, get rid of it.

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What did we miss? What functioned for you and also your old but great phone? let us know in the comments.