Wednesday, 27 April 2016

10 Reasons Why Android Smartphones Slow Down

Android devices are known for slowing down after a year or two. Some users say it's inevitable, while some believe that it is just a myth. Still, there is growing evidence that more smartphones become slower as time passes by and there are several factors as to why it happens.

Image (c) Google

Too Many Apps running in the Background

When an Android phone is first opened, there are just some several apps that are installed. Some of them may run in the background, including the system apps from the platform itself.

It's not enough to slow down the phone. However, it can increasingly slow down as the user installs more apps over time. Some users don't even know that the apps they install can still eat RAM even if they are not actively using it.

Some famous examples of such apps are the social media ones. Facebook has been widely criticized for having their app eat so much resources even for low-end phones. Twitter's app can also eat too much RAM as well as the Gmail app from Google itself.

These apps run in the background because they need to constantly check if there are updates or notifications. For instance, the Gmail app would need to check every few minutes or so if there is a new email that has arrived.

The constant checking means that they need to stay on the background as they automatically sync. If they are stopped from syncing in the background, the user won't be able to receive notifications about new emails unless he or she manually syncs the app. With more apps running in the background, each of them could eat resources leaving only little for the foreground processes. The user can choose to just delete the apps and look for alternatives.

Another possible way to minimize the impact of such apps is to turn off the automatic sync. While the option is not always available for all apps, the Gmail app allows the user to turn off the option. There are also some apps that can hibernate other apps in the background. This allows the user to have more RAM which can prevent slowdowns in the Android smartphone. However, it should be noted that hibernating apps can lead to trouble if system apps are touched. Users should be careful in choosing which apps to hibernate.

Too Much Junk in the Cache

Android devices have a cache partition where some items from apps are stored for supposedly faster access overall. Like all storage partitions, it can also be clogged. Once the cache partition is full, the overall performance of the Android phone can start to slow down. Users can choose to wipe the cache partition once in a while to prevent slowdowns. The Wipe Cache Partition command can be seen from the recovery console of the Android smartphone. Methods to access the console varies from phone to phone. However, the universal way seems to be to shut down the Android smartphone first. The user should hold down the volume and power button at the same time. It would be useful to install a custom recovery mode first as they include more options to tweak the Android phone overall. One of which is the option to wipe the Dalvik Cache, which can also speed up the phone's speed.

Internal and External Storage May be Filled Up

Android smartphones have solid-state drives as their storage. As the storage fills up, they operate more slowly. It can be one reason why an Android phone may slow down over time. The internal storage may be full of photos, videos apps and other files, which could explain the slowdown.

Low-end smartphones are particularly guilty of this. Most low-end models have only about 4GB or 8GB for their internal storage which is too small for today's standards. One Full High-Definition movie with a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080 can already reach more than 1GB in file size. A 720p movie can also reach 800 MB.

There are also mobile video games that can easily reach more than 1GB as well. With a combination of those files, a 4GB internal storage capacity can easily be filled up. The Android operating system itself also eats up part of the internal storage which means that the user doesn't really have all 4GB or 8GB. An app's cache files can also eat the internal storage. It would be wise for a user to just move the app files onto the external storage if the phone has one.

Most Android smartphones allow the user to install a microSD card for the external storage. This is especially useful for those with 4 GB or 8 GB internal storage capacities as they would be able to install more apps and download more movies and music files without having to fill up the internal storage. It can prevent further slowdowns for the phone, but it can have an impact on the performance. Since the files are not on the internal storage, the system would have to read them from the microSD card which can take more slowly.

Solid-State Drive TRIM Support

TRIM support allows SSDs, such as those in smartphones, to run at tip-top shape even if they are used every day. The latest Android smartphones have automatic TRIM support for their storage drives. However, smartphones running Android 4.2 and below has no TRIM support. It was actually one of the reasons why the original Nexus 7 tablet slowed down in a couple of months, according to How to Geek. So the tip would be not to own a smartphone or a tablet running older versions than Android 4.3. That would not really be a problem considering that most smartphones in the market today run at least Jelly Bean 4.3 and above.

Smartphone is Too Old

Sometimes, the most obvious reason why an Android smartphone slows down is because it is too old. This can be a combination of all the factors mentioned above. If a smartphone has been running constantly for more than five years or more, chances are the materials inside could be worn out already. Even if the storage device is not mechanical, it can still deteriorate over time especially if the smartphone is made from cheap parts.

Another possible reason is that the updated operating system cannot really run well on the smartphone. It was talked about earlier that the older versions had problems in the software part. While it can be remedied by a software update, the fragmentation of the Android operating system makes it hard for non-flagship phones to expect updated software every time. Locally made or rebranded smartphones often have this problem as they do not have enough engineers or software developers that can come up with updates for their smartphone models.

If there is an update, the added software code and features could eat up more space and resources. Low-end smartphones often have this problem as software updates can actually make their problems worse in the long run because the hardware cannot handle the software.

In those cases, the user can choose not to update their smartphones or tablets. However, it will still slow down over time. Sometimes the only choice is to upgrade a smartphone especially if it has been used heavily.

Weathered Damage

There are uncommon cases where physical damage from the outside causes the Android phone to slow down. It could be because the phone was once splashed by water, or it has been dropped several times from a considerable height. Whatever the reason is, it could definitely lead to the slowdown of the smartphone. One tip is to use heavy duty cases and don't really place a smartphone near a wet surface or object.

Too Much Heat

Another possible reason on why the Android smartphone runs slow is because it might be overheating. Most smartphones today have intelligent software that allows them to adjust the processing frequency whenever they need to If a phone is deemed too hot, the software could clock down the frequency to compensate with the heat. Since the frequency is lowered, the performance of the phone is also throttled. This happens every time the phone detects that the temperature is too hot. There are a couple of things that can heat up a smartphone such as playing graphic-heavy video games, watching movies at full brightness and using all of the radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC) at the same time.

If the user is already in a hot environment, the aforementioned activities should be avoided to prevent the slowdown of the smartphone itself. If possible, the user should refrain from using the smartphone until he or she is in a cold environment.

Bad Custom ROM

Android smartphones are known for being open for customization. One of the common customizations that users do is to try and change the ROM that it runs. Most smartphones run the stock Android vanilla ROM, which can sometimes be boring. Custom ROMS are coveted because of their added features such as tweaks, new themes and capabilities that would otherwise be absent on the stock ROM.

One problem that inexperienced Android users face is choosing and flashing a bad ROM. If it does run, it does so poorly. It impacts the performance negatively and the features would be ultimately useless. Users should properly read the instructions and notes before installing a custom ROM. They could be installing an incompatible ROM or sometimes a ROM is still unfinished. There are some Android smartphone models that have different variants. It can be confusing to know which ROM version should be used for which variant.

Bad Flashable Tweaks

For users who do not want to flash a whole custom ROM, they often choose to flash tweaks instead. These tweaks are customized versions of some parts of the operating system itself, with changed values and such. In order for them to work, the user would sometimes need to completely replace some of the sensitive files of the operating system. If the tweaks are also incompatible or unfinished, it could lead to performance issues and it could even brick the smartphone.

Paranoia and Envy

Seeing a friend's new smartphone run fast could give a user reasons to think that his or her phone is running slow. Sometimes it can just be the brain thinking that it's running slower than usual because there is a point of comparison. The user's phone could be running normally but the user can think that it's slow just because he or she saw an ad for the newer model. One tip is to run benchmarks or to keep track of app loading times just to see if the phone is really running slow compared to a few months ago.

With that said, there are a lot of possible reasons as to why an Android smartphone can run slow. The last resorts would be to do a factory reset or just to buy the newest smartphone, which would be able to last for several years if it is taken good care of.

Author: Lord Marin

Monday, 25 April 2016

Hacker Finds Traces of Another Hacker in Facebook Internal Network, Login Credentials Possibly Compromised

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) awarded $10,000 to a bug bounty hunter who discovered that there were hackers who managed to breach the company's internal network several months ago.

Image (c) Facebook

The hackers were able to access hundreds of Facebook employees' usernames and passwords without them even knowing it. Devcore security researcher Orange Tsai found out that there was at least a hacker that was able to compromise the corporate network.

Tsai said that the hacker created a proxy on the login page of the employees. This was done so that the usernames and passwords from the employees were saved on a directory which the hackers could have collected any time they wanted.

In addition, the login credentials harvested from the web directories could have been used to access email accounts, other virtual private networks and tools. The credentials for other login requirements could have been the same.

There is also the factor that the Facebook employees could have been using the same credentials on their personal accounts such as emails and accounts for other social media networks. Some of them may even use the same username which would make it easier for the hackers to gain access to their other accounts.

Even if the Facebook user data is stored on different servers or networks, the access credentials taken from the corporate accounts could have been used to access the user data either way. Tsai said that there were about 300 logged credentials when the proxy was found.

Tsai's job was to test the Facebook network for any vulnerabilities or exploits that others could use. In their line of job, the method is known as penetration testing. They need to find any valid vulnerability and report it to the company involved. It could be said that they are ethical white hat hackers.

The reward for Tsai was part of the Bug Bounty from the social network giant. Facebook pays off bounties to those who can discover vulnerabilities, bugs and glitches that could otherwise be used to disrupt the flow of the social network.

"With the growing popularity of Facebook around the world, I’ve always been interested in testing the security of Facebook. Luckily, in 2012, Facebook launched the Bug Bounty Program, which even motivated me to give it a shot. Of course, Bug Bounty is nothing about firing random attacks without restrictions. By comparing your findings with the permitted actions set forth by Bug Bounty, the overlapping part will be the part worth trying," Tsai wrote in his own blog post.

Tsai alerted Facebook regarding the vulnerability in February. After the incident was reported, Facebook conducted an internal investigation.

On April 20, the investigation officially ended. Devcore was then given permission to publish the details of the hack. Fortunately, the other hacker was also just a researcher and not a black or gray hat hacker. The other security researcher was also finding out if there were vulnerabilities in the network.

Facebook did not name who the other hacker was and if he/she was awarded a bounty. The company didn’t seem to be bothered that there was a vulnerability that could have led to billions of people's accounts being compromised to a hacker.

The company commented on Hacker News: "This is Reginaldo from the Facebook Security team. We're really glad Orange reported this to us. On this case, the software we were using is third party. As we don't have full control of it, we ran it isolated from the systems that host the data people share on Facebook. We do this precisely to have better security, as chromakode mentioned. After incident response, we determined that the activity Orange detected was in fact from another researcher who participates in our bounty program. Neither of them were able to compromise other parts of our infra-structure so, the way we see it, it's a double win: two competent researchers assessed the system, one of them reported what he found to us and got a good bounty, none of them were able to escalate access."

Despite the interesting find, both of the hackers seemed to have gone far beyond the basic penetration testing. The first hacker who got to the proxies and login credentials have already stumbled upon a large vulnerability and it would seem that he/she was still looking for something bigger before reporting to Facebook.

Even Tsai stepped out a bit of line too, according to Sophos. However, he wouldn't have found the earlier hacker's track if he didn't do what he has done. Either way, it was a risky win-win situation for Facebook.

If either of the hackers were not security researchers or were not snooping around because of the Facebook Bug Bounty program, the credentials would have been lost. It's actually one of the reasons why Facebook has a program for those vulnerabilities, to discourage hackers from using them for their own benefit.

Author: Lord Marin

Monday, 18 April 2016

Nintendo NX Updated Rumors: Second Screen Wireless Capability, More Powerful than PlayStation 4

Rumors about the Nintendo NX as starting to pile up especially as the E3 gaming convention is just close by. However, the Japanese video game company still hasn't said a word regarding the rumored console.

Image (c) Nintendo

Nintendo (NASDAQ: NTDOY) hasn't confirmed anything yet and they repeatedly refuse to comment on the speculations. However, they still haven't stopped teasing their fan base by filing for several patents that many assume are for the said console. In the recent weeks, there have been several fabricated photos of Nintendo NX controllers. Other information regarding the console does come from reliable sources.

One of the recent leaks is from a NeoGAF user named 10k. The user claims that he has information from sources that are close to the NX project. It could be that the Nintendo NX would have a screen controller that can be used by the owner to play home console games anywhere. However, the leaker said that the controller itself won't have any processing capabilities, which essentially makes it a "dummy vita".

Despite its lack of processing capabilities, the rumors say that it will have basic operating system functions in order to allow the user to access their main NX console from wherever they are. It will most likely be a similar streaming technology found in the Wii U gamepad but as an enhanced version with improvements. This means that the Nintendo NX users will be able to access their games through Wi-Fi or even personal wireless hotspots from mobile routers or their smartphones. However, the NX console will have to be in a stand-by mode and powered up.

The NeoGAF user said that the second screen functionality will be built-in the console itself and it will not require any kind of add-on. While the function will be built-in to the console, there is another speculation that the company might sell their own personal hotspot USB adapters for the users to have access to the Internet anywhere.

Nintendo's adapters could also be directly plugged into the controller itself or a wall outlet if they do not want to drain the controller's battery. This is where the earlier supplemental computing device comes in. The said supplementary computing devices could be the portable hotspot devices themselves. They could be fitted with chips in order to boost the quality of the streaming game. In addition, the user said that the Nintendo NX could actually be called the "Stream." However, no further information has been gathered regarding the name.

The new rumor sparks the possibility again that the NX console will be a handheld one, but 10K did not explicitly say that it will be an all-handheld device. There are still limitations which suggests that the feature is simply an add-on. Another rumor posted by 10K is that Luigi's Mansion 3 is currently being developed for the Nintendo NX. The user said that it was initially a rumor that came from one source, but another source has also come up to add to the veracity of the leak. Two different sources have told 10K that the game was already in development for the said console. Another source said that it is being developed by Next Level Games, who is also working on the anticipated Metroid Prime; Federation Force.

Interestingly, Federation Force for the Nintendo 3DS has been met with mostly negative reviews. There is even an ongoing petition to cancel the game, and the trailer has a 90 percent dislike to like ratio. The rumors say that Luigi's Mansion 3 was supposed to be for the Wii U, but the performance of the console and the release date did not line up. Nintendo reportedly switched the development of the game for the NX console instead. Another rumor is that the Nintendo NX will use a Polaris-like GPU, according to Forbes. 10K said that a PS4 game could be ported to the NX and the console would still have "power to spare".

"Likely will be on a FinFET 14nm fabrication node. The source told me it's on the same architecture with heavy customizations of course. It will contain the feature set of Polaris. It is "marginally better than the PS4" and theoretically could be "2x the power of PS4 GPU". I asked about PS4K being rumored to have a gpu 2x as powerful as the OG PS4 and how the theoretical performance of the NX would be and was told "Theoretically it could be close to the PS4K rumored specs". Of course, we know nothing of Polaris or the PS4K specs, but he gave that metric," said 10K on his NeoGAF post.

The rumor opens up possibilities that the NX will be able to handle PS4 games and run them more than 30 frames per second with added effects. This is for PS4 games that are barely holding up on the 30fps mark and 60fps games could run significantly better on the NX. In conjunction with the Polaris-GPU rumor, 10K also leaked that the Nintendo NX will also be using the Vulkan 3D API from Khronos. However, a developer who is porting a PS4 game to the console said that Vulkan is not ready yet. There could be an update by May.

Another rumor is that Nintendo won't be releasing most of the development kits for the NX until it has been officially unveiled to the public. This may be due to the fact that the company really wants it to be a surprise despite all the speculations, leaks and rumors already circulating the Internet.

There is also some potential good news for Square Enix fans. Besides the confirmed Dragon Quest 10 and 11 games for the NX, there are also speculations that the Final Fantasy XV will be developed for the console as well. One of the complaints from Nintendo fans and haters is that the company is just re-releasing or re-mastering all of their game franchises such as Mario and Zelda. Now, a source told 10K that there would be certainly new IPs in the works. More games are also being developed for the NX. However, no additional games have been named as of now.

Finally, the Nintendo NX would probably launch at different times across the several regions across the world. One of the said reasons for this is because there might not be enough chips that can be used in manufacturing enough models of the Nintendo NX. Nintendo could be launching the NX first in North America and Europe before it hits Asian countries, including Japan itself. All details are expected to be confirmed at the upcoming E3 2016 in June 14 to June 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Author: Lord Marin

Thursday, 7 April 2016

16 Tips to Improve the Speed of Your Android Smartphone

Android smartphones are becoming cheaper and more powerful each year. However, the constant thing is that they all slow down eventually.

Image by mammela-686310 [CC0] via Wikimedia Commons

There are usually a lot of factors involved, such as outdated hardware, lack of software patches, storage and more. Fortunately, there are still some things a user can do to speed up their Android smartphones.

Update to the Latest Version

Most flagship phones are well-treated to several updates before the manufacturers officially drop support. If you own one of them, it's a good idea to check the OTA updates if your phone is up-to-date. Software updates often have fixes and optimizations to further make the phone faster. Security patches are also crucial so that the phone is not vulnerable to hackers and other malicious parties.

Before updating, make sure to make a backup of your phone. This way, you'll still have all the files you need if the phone runs into a problem while updating. Worst-case scenario is that your phone might get bricked. If you own a flagship phone such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the LG G4, chances are that the development community will already have posted fixes and tutorials on what to do if something goes wrong.

Remove Bloatware

One of the main reasons why Android users root their phones is because they will be able to remove all the bloatware, which is basically all the unnecessary pre-installed apps from the manufacturer. These apps can range from forum apps to separate camera effects. If you won't really use them, you should get rid of them to save up on storage.

In addition, some apps can still eat RAM in the background even if they are not really used. Some bloatware can be those apps and removing them can speed up your Android phone by freeing up RAM space. Root your phone at your own risk. Rooting an Android phone often voids the warranty from the manufacturer or store where you bought it from.

Once rooted, you will be able to freely remove and uninstall any bloatware app through Settings > Applications. If you aren't rooted, you can still choose to disable them which may keep them using RAM in the background but they will still be installed in the storage of your phone.

Update Your Apps

For those apps that you really do need or use every day, make it a habit to update them if available. As usual, updates can add performance optimizations for the app which can translate into an overall speed improvement for the phone.

These updates also usually fix performance problems. If an app usually crashes, an update could fix that. It can also fix some cases where the app runs really slow on a certain device. Updating installed apps is easy to do. All you need to do is go to your Google Play Store app and go through the Installed apps tab.

If there is an update available for your apps, it will show. Alternatively, you can also choose to bulk update the apps instead of having to tap them one by one. Of course, do note that updating apps usually means they could take up more space in your phone. If your phone does not have that much space, it can be something to consider first.

Upgrade Your External Storage

Most low-end phones often have low internal storage spaces as well. It can be one of the main problems on why the Android phone is so slow. To remedy the situation, a microSD card is usually used. Try to choose a high-speed memory card which is usually Class 10 on all brands.

Before going out and buying a microSD card, make sure to check your phone specifications to see up to what storage space on the memory card it can support. Some phones can only support up to 32GB for the expandable memory, while others can go as far as 128GB. Once the microSD card is installed, it's better to put all of your media files in the external storage instead of the internal storage. This way, it will have more leeway when it needs space.

There are also some apps that can allow the Android phone's system to automatically install downloaded apps on the external storage instead. It can be useful but sometimes it can cause problems for the apps themselves.

Free Up Space

If you already have external storage but it keeps on getting full, it may be time to clean up your Android phone. You can usually do this by going into the Settings > Storage section. That section will also give you a brief summary of what kind of files are hogging all the space. It can show how many MB or GB pictures and videos eat up, or how much cached data is already used. You can choose to clear up cached data to free up some space if it eats up too much of your storage. However, it can mean that you would need to re-login your profile in some apps.

For a more detailed approach, you can choose to download storage analyzers. They can show the user a more detailed breakdown of which files and folders eat up most of the space in the phone, including the external storage. Be careful in deleting folders. Accidentally deleting a crucial part of the Android operating system itself on your phone can lead to it being bricked.

Disable Fancy Animations

Some Android phones have fancier animations compared to others. However, it can be the cause of a slowdown in the long run. If those effects and animations don’t really matter to you that much, it would be wise just to turn them off. They can often be found under the Developer options section. There is a list of Animation options that you can turn off. This will significantly improve Android phones in the lower-end of the spectrum.

Turning the animations off makes it easier for your phone's CPU and GPU to render the screen. The slightly less pixels and effects also mean that your battery won't be drained as much too. Besides the main transition animations themselves, you can also try to disable the lock screen animations under the Lock Screen section of your Android phone. It can drain resources such as RAM, processing power and battery quick.

Instead of having to render the effect, your GPU can focus on rendering other more important details on the screen. Animations tend to make a phone go slower as the system has to work harder to show those effects with consistency.

Only Use the Stock Launcher

It can be tempting to use third-party launchers to try out a new look for your Android smartphone. However, having two launchers at the same phone often leads to conflict. The third-party launcher would also add up to the RAM usage as it tries to render its own effects and icons on the home screen. It would also add more load to the GPU and the CPU if you try to use fancier effects and transitions.

While that may be okay for a high-end smartphone, low-end phones' performance can suffer from using third-party launchers. All of the added effects will only slow the phone down. In addition, slow transitions are also not attractive to look at. Most free third-party launchers also have ads that show up frequently. These can also slow down your phone's performance and Internet as the ads are downloaded from their servers as well.

Close Recent Apps to Save RAM

While some may argue that freeing RAM can actually be counterproductive, killing the piles of recent apps can be an answer if the phone suddenly slows down. All of the apps loaded in the background can be too much for your phone as it tries to keep up with everything. You might notice that the game will start to stutter and lag, but it can be quickly remedied by closing other apps in the background.

You can also view which apps are using the most RAM in the foreground and background through the Settings > Applications > RAM section of your Android phone. There will be an option to disable such apps, but be careful as you might accidentally disable a crucial background Android OS app.

Avoid Widgets as Much as Possible

Just like third-party launchers, widgets also suck battery power and RAM. They can impact the performance of your phone. These widgets sometimes take a heavy load on the GPU and CPU of the Android phone. If you have five widgets on the home screen and all are animated, they may most likely be the culprit on why your Android phone is so slow in the first place.

If you can't really avoid to get rid of all the widgets, at least try to keep the ones that are useful to you instead of just having them being all flashy and attractive. For instance, another clock widget can be removed seeing as you can already view the time on the top of your phone's screen. Some widgets are also much harder to render because they are animated. It would be significantly lighter for your phone's CPU and GPU if they won't have to render the widgets and animations every time you go to the home screen.

Don't Use Live Wallpapers

Similar to widgets, Live Wallpapers can also be taxing on the phone's hardware. Live Wallpapers are mostly animated and they can also move based on where the user touches on the screen.

For instance, a Live Wallpaper of a body of water would most likely be twice as hard on the CPU as it can have unique animations depending on where a tap was placed. While they may be attractive to look at, they serve no real purpose and they just make your phone drain the battery easier and make the system run slower.

Use Lightweight Apps Instead of the Main Ones

You can choose to download lighter versions of apps that you are using. Sometimes the developers know the ordeal of keeping Android phones running fast and they roll out a lighter version of their app. Of course, not every developer has thought of making a light version. In fact, there aren't many apps that do have a light version counterpart.

The main Facebook app was reportedly slowing down phones and draining the battery faster. Fortunately, there are other light versions of Facebook from third-party developers. Metal for Facebook is one such app that opens up the mobile version of the site on your Android phone. It still functions like the main app with some limitations, but it doesn't eat that much RAM and battery compared to the main FB app.

If possible, you can also choose to just login your social media accounts using the phone's mobile browser instead. Not only will this increase the free RAM and storage, it will also improve the performance and speed of your Android phone by not having to check for updates every once in a while. However, do note that using a mobile browser instead often means that social media notifications will be off. It could cause a problem for those who are waiting on notifications for their social media accounts. There are also lighter versions of music and video players. They can be used instead of the stock apps which can eat up more ram and battery.

Try Using Custom ROMs

Again, you should try this at your own risk. Improper installation of custom ROMS is one of the usual suspects in bricking an Android smartphone. You should follow every step on the tutorials properly in order for a custom ROM to be properly installed and initialized. Also, you should also have a backup before trying to flash a ROM. Having a backup means that you can always try to turn your phone back into the regular version if you don't like the new ROM. It will also be crucial if the phone is suddenly soft-bricked.

Custom ROMs often offer different experiences. Some ROMs offer a more visual experience instead of the vanilla stock themes, while some offer performance tweaks. These ROMs change how your Android phone works on the inside. There are some legit tweaks, but there are also others that only cause more harm so it's up to you to do the researching and to find if there are any negative feedbacks regarding a ROM.

Another caveat is that not every Android smartphone has custom ROMs. It would still depend on how large and active the developer community is for that phone. If you have a local Android smartphone, the change can be very limited. For some, there are no ROMs at available at all. There are some ROMs that can increase the battery life as well. Flashing a ROM is a great risk. If the ROM is not compatible with the phone, it can also be bricked. So always try to see if the ROM matches your phone or if it supported.

Try Task Killers

If you don't want to go through all the trouble of disabling apps one by one, there are some free task killer apps on Google Play. They will be able to show the user which apps are running in the background. Within that app, they can also choose to disable or stop those apps. However, the free ones usually also have ads which can make your phone slower as well.

There are also apps that try to "hibernate" the unused apps in the background, which means that they do not necessarily eat up any resources for the time being. Always be careful too in using such apps as they can also damage your smartphone's Android system.

Increase the Memory Limit of the Mobile Chrome Browser

This tip comes from Toms Guide. If you are an avid user of Chrome on your Android phone, this can make the browser run faster. The default RAM usage of Chrome browser on Android is just 128MB. If your phone has more to spare, you can change that limit from within Chrome.

First step is to navigate to chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area on the address bar. Alternatively, you can also just go to chrome: // flags and try to scroll down to spot the "Maximum tiles for interest area" tab. Tap on the "default" drop down arrow and you can then choose to allocate more RAM or less RAM depending on your situation. The choices include: 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB and 512 MB. After making any changes on that page, you should tap "Relaunch Now" for those changes to apply and to be set.

Chrome is also useful for those who already use the browser on their laptops or desktop computers. They will be able to browse through other devices' recently visited webpages and use the bookmarks and stored passwords as well. Ultimately, it can be a faster experience as you won't have to type the entire address or password as Chrome can remember it for you. You can also transfer to another device knowing well that you can continue your browsing on a website.

Do a Factory Reset

If you don't want to do any of the things mentioned above, you can just do a Factory Data Reset on your Android phone. This will reset all the data and settings, which means you'll start from scratch. Doing a factory reset often solves performance problems on a phone. This is because all of the data would be deleted, all apps would be uninstalled and all the clutter would be gone.

Of course, this should be a last resort. Consider if you really want your files gone or just make a backup of them just in case. Do note that factory reset won't delete the data on your microSD card. However, you can also choose to format the card or wipe the contents off of it.

Upgrade Your Phone

Finally, if you really want a faster Android phone, the best choice would be just to buy a new one. Check the current specs of your Android phone and try to look for something faster in the market. For instance, try to buy a smartphone with a quad-core processor instead of your old dual-core one. Try to buy a phone with 2GB of memory instead of your 512MB one.

The performance improvement will be noticeable. You'll also have a cleaner-looking smartphone. In addition, the software would be updated. Instead of trying to make your way from your old Android Ice Cream Sandwich, you can just buy a phone with the newest Android 6.0 Marshmallow instead.

Of course, this option is for those who have money to spend. The tips mentioned above can be universally applied to any mid to low-end Android smartphone.

Author: Lord Marin