March 27th 2011 06:23 am

How to optimize and speed up to make Android phone run faster

The usual misconception for people these days is; Android is slow, it runs sluggishly especially on browsing through the menu. Well, no thanks to anti-Android a.k.a Job’s followers.  That statement is true for the first generation of Android phones like the HTC Magic/Sapphire, and some of the budget Android phones. Android doesn’t use graphics hardware acceleration to render the menu and animations like how iPhone iOS did. And the older version of Android doesn’t handle memory efficiently. The newer version of Android, 2.2 Froyo and 2.3 Gingerbread solved most of the problems as far as user experience goes. However, there are still ways to make your Android phones; HTC Evo/Desire/Droids/Nexus and Galaxy S run faster. Here’s how.

It’s best for me to separate two different user groups for this “How to optimize and speed up to make Android phone run faster” guide. Layman group for all general users and you don’t even dare (or know if it can be done in that sense) to make your Android phone a real “Android” phone, confusing? Yes then you are belonged to this group. You belong to Enthusiast group if you know what Cyanogenmod is and all that were mentioned in Layman group applies here too.

 

Layman

  • Disable Live Wallpaper
  • One of the visual experience advantage Android has over iPhone iOS is the Live Wallpaper. Live Wallpaper transforms your phone to a level only seen previously in Sony Ericsson handsets. But it improves much further where it lets you interact with the live wallpaper. Anyway, Live Wallpaper doesn’t serves much purpose other than eating out your processing power and battery.

  • Do not use the manufacturer skin , use LauncherPro.
  • Market link : https://market.android.com/details?id=com.fede.launcher

    There are Motoblur from Motorola, HTC Sense and Touchwiz from Samsung. None of these offer the best memory footprint for your device. The best is still the default Android skin. But once you bought a phone from these manufacturers with their custom skins, you won’t be able to uninstall the skin. So the only way is to download LauncherPro. LauncherPro improves the default Android skin further, it provides smoother scrolling between home screens. You can add as much as 7 home screens and I would recommend to drag and drop all your favorite apps in these home screens, as browsing between home screens is much faster. The fluidity of swiping between home screens is at a level on par with iPhone and best is – it is FREE.

  • Use less widgets
  • Widgets are great, it gives us some pretty useful information displayed on the homescreen without having to open up any apps. Facebook and Twitter widget display latest status and tweets from your friends, weather widget gives us current weather information and as well as forecast, calendar widget lets you managed your schedule on the fly, these are some of the widgets available on Android phones. And it sure does give accessibility to the information we need without much hassle, but it is a trade off for more resource usage. I won’t recommend discarding all the widgets as with the benefits I have mentioned earlier, I suggest leave it just one instead.

  • Disable automatic brightness adjustment
  • Automatic brightness adjustment is a feature which dynamically scales the screen’s brightness based on the ambient light of your surrounding. It uses CPU resource as it was needed to process the light sensor’s input and adjust the backlight (output) every time the screen is active (turned on). The process is ongoing as long as the screen is on. By turning off automatic brightness adjustment, the CPU doesn’t need to compute these processes. And by lowering down the brightness at the same time, you can expect to have longer battery life as well. This is a feature worth to be turned off which doesn’t contribute to any drawbacks for your phone usage experience. How to do it? Go to Settings > Display > Brightness. For Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, X8, X10 mini users, you will have to use the Power Control widget.

  • Disable animation
  • This is a kind of personal preference. It is a trade off for better visual better experience. Disabling animation makes your phone slightly more responsive but you lost out all the transition and fading effect, which makes your phone kinda boring and dull. If you prefer a more responsive Android experience without all the beautiful effects, go to Settings > Display > Animation.

  • Upgrade to the latest firmware via Over The Air update
  • Well, this is a rather unguaranteed saying. You might stuck with the older Android version when others already having new Android version update depending on which phone you bought. Anyway, you might need to check from time to time if there is any new update available usually by going to Settings>About Phone>System software updates. This kind of update won’t wipe off your data. The benefits from having a newer version of Android OS is huge, especially if you have the 1year old Android 2.1 Eclair or older. The not so new Android 2.2 Froyo offers tremendous speed improvement and better memory management over the previous versions of Android. It is the de-facto Android version today and your Android phone is considered as outdated without Android 2.2 Froyo. While the newest Android version 2.3 Gingerbread has already been rolled out by Google, it hasn’t reached a bigger adoption rate.

Enthusiast

Requirement: At least rooted your phone.

  • Overclock your phone using SetCPU
  • Market link : https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mhuang.overclocking

    You have to root your phone before you can even use the overclocking feature of this app. How high you can achieve depends the phone you use, but don’t expect to achieve the overclock level like how you did with computer. For my HTC Wildfire, I were able to achieve a stable 100MHz increment over the default 528MHz clock rate. But keep in mind that there will be a noticeable trade off of the battery life.

  • Install Just In Time compiler (JIT)
  • What is JIT? JIT compiles the bytecode into native machine code at runtime which will give a big performance boost for your Android phone. From my experience, JIT is not stable. Maybe thats for my phone only and there might be a stable JIT for your Nexus One. You need a JIT which is compiled for your phone, and the best place to to download JIT is by going to http://forum.xda-developers.com. The steps for installing JIT is the same for other ZIP update; reboot into recovery/clockworkmod and update the JIT zip file from there. On a side note, JIT is only available on Android 2.2 Froyo and up.

  • Use Cyanogenmod firmware
  • Cyanogenmod is like Android on steroid. It’s a customized firmware to optimize the hardware of your phone. In some cases offers faster performance. Some phones which uses customized skin like HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz and Motoblur from Motorola have plugins and add-ons installed which you rarely use. It uses memory and minor CPU resource which isn’t necessary contribute to better user experience and there is no way you can uninstall these easily. I would suggest to flash your Android phone to a compatible Cyanogenmod, it isn’t only resource-hogging-plugins-free, but also offers advanced menu to tweak your Android phone further. On top of that, it is faster. Pay a visit to http://forum.cyanogenmod.com/ and http://forum.xda-developers.com to download Cyanogenmod for your phone.

I have written another guide in making your Android to perform better in each charge, read here Improve Android phone battery life with battery saving tips

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21 Comments »

21 Responses to “How to optimize and speed up to make Android phone run faster”

  1. Fox on 30 Mar 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Great article. Just playing around with this stuff and getting rid of a few things was a big help and my Droid X is back to feeling fast again. I’m using the Zeam launcher because Launcher Pro was causing problems a few months ago when I downloaded it. Might have to switch back at some point if it’s stable now and you recommend it.

  2. admin on 30 Mar 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    There are some users complained of sluggishness in Zeam Launcher, not too sure about that as I haven’t use Zeam launcher before. Might have a try on that. LauncherPro is by far the best launcher skin for android, the widgets in Plus version is even better but not available in the free version.

  3. El Pablo on 13 Apr 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I have Cyanogenmod 7 on my G2, it’s inSANE how much better the phone performs with this ROM. I highly recommend it to others.

    Great article, even though I already made some of these changes. Sharing knowledge is NEVER a bad thing. Thanks.

  4. admin on 13 Apr 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Yes, cyanogenmod7 is so much better than the stock rom in all android phones. I installed cyanogenmod 7 on my htc wildfire and never look back anymore, though there are some features missing like the settings to set the network to WCDMA mode only or WCDMA/2G, and the native tethering too. Anyway I can live with these shortcomings.

  5. Godfather17 on 11 Aug 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    CM7 is awesome, but the only drawback I find is the camera. The sense camera puts the CM7 camera to shame. Is there a way to use the sense camera with CM7?

  6. edwuave on 13 Aug 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    @Godfather17 , im not sure if you can do that. you need to modify the lower level of the Android system to get the Sense camera works. The camera app for CM7 is fine for me, but yet I have to agree with you that the HTC Sense camera app is better. Anyway, the benefits of CM7 far outweights its drawback.

  7. will on 29 Aug 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    when you root your phone particulartly htc evo 4g and your able to optimize your cpu speed to run faster does that make service data run faster also where your internet is faster? because i am using my phone as a hotspot for my xbox and at times it will work fine and other times it will never stop lagging. can i make it faster to work all the time ?

  8. edwuave on 30 Aug 2011 at 1:29 am #

    No, running your phone faster by overclocking doesnt makes your data plan faster. Overclocking an Android phone is like overclocking your home PC, you dont get faster broadband from that.

  9. Piggy on 01 Sep 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    What’s the worst that can happen if I root my HTC Inspire 4G

  10. edwuave on 03 Sep 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Worst case scenario , you might render your phone unusable, but you still able to get your phone in a working state back. The point is, 1st; you need to get your custom recovery (there are few like Xrecovery, recovery revolution and clockworkmod) workable, this is the most crucial part, once you have a working custom recovery, you are near to 100% of not having to worry about bricking your HTC inspire 4g android. of how to flash a custom recovery, you can always go to forum.xda-developers.com

  11. ketan on 13 Dec 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I really like the way you divided the forums into two. Can you explain me about the shortcoming of cm7 for WCDMA? Will 2g net still work in cm7. 3g in my country is too costly lol. It uses EDGE currently for streaming.

  12. edwuave on 15 Dec 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    @ketan , sorry if my article doesnt explain well enough for u of what CM7 is. It is a ROM, build by developers not associated with any phone manufacturers and/or Googgle. they do it for the community. It doesnt affect your WCDMA/2G usability. the CM7 ROM has the same functionality of standard Android ROM, you can always switch to 2G only by going to Settings > Wireless&Networks

  13. EliteDEV on 18 Dec 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    install jit compiler for better performance? are you out of you mind?
    the last thing you want is s compiler app running at same time with your other apps draining processor time. compilation is a complex process that needs a lot of cpu power.

  14. edwuave on 19 Dec 2011 at 4:00 am #

    jit improves app performance drastically, it has been tested and proven in benchmarks. if you found jit to slow down your phone instead, you can always disable it. it’s always good to try out.

    like it keep it, else discard. ;)

  15. jeff_newbie on 09 Jan 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Hi! im new to android phones! i just bought a galaxy W i8150. at first it was responsive but after installing some apps, its slow already. is it possible to uninstall some of the apps bundled with samsung? thanks in advance.

  16. edwuave on 23 Jan 2012 at 11:29 am #

    @jeff_newbie, yes of course you can uninstall some of the Samsung apps, you need to root your Android first. i guess going to forum.xda-developers.com is your best friend :)

  17. satyajit on 11 Jun 2012 at 12:06 am #

    If u really wanna speed up ur phone den delete unnecessary file…….in d memory card…….like android,and any useless folders……these use too much memory….and by deleting dese ur android or any other phone will work faster

  18. Jack on 08 Jul 2012 at 9:05 am #

    Hi there i have a galaxy s rooted. i have been planning on installing cm7 for a whioe but i keep getting concerned about bricking my phone… If it.stuffs up in the process will it hard or soft brick or nothing at all?

    ta

  19. edwuave on 11 Jul 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    have u installed any custome recovery (xRecovery, clockworkmod, 4EXT just to name a few)? recovery is the menu that you can accessed by pressing certain keys upon booting up the phone. Once you have a custom recovery in place, it’s near to impossible of bricking your phone by installing another ROM.

    The only possible way to brick a phone is when you flash the radio firmware and flashing a custom recovery badly.

  20. Shane on 22 Dec 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Hey looks like I’m definitely ‘johnny come lately’ on the topic, but I have the HTC Inspire 4G (only because the awesome G2X I had finaly met it’s end) and it’s the 3rd phone I’ve rooted. It was also, BY FAR, the easiest phone I’ve rooted!! SO SIMPLE!! Just go the the xda site these guys mention and search for the one click root. OK, now here’s my deal though, I have Rom Toolbox installed and I made a back-up/recovery with cyanogenmod which comes in that app….cough cough…..now what? lol I am still running on the 2.3.3 android version, even though in settings and system update it tells me there is one to be had (which you’ve mentioned). It wants to be hooked up to a pc that is connected to the internet and to download the update that way. Thing is I use the phone tether for internet lol….so I finally grabbed my brain and found the manual download, but in the process I’ve seen some comments about the update taking the phone out of root.
    So my question to anyone with an answer that feels charitable, is should I bother updating from 2.3.3 and THEN flashing the cyanogenmod rom? Or should I just flash it from where it is now?– and if I do the later should I bother updating the OTA software at all? Any advise would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!

  21. TEST on 21 Feb 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I need to to thank you for this excellent read!
    ! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new things you post…

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