7 Ways to Keep Your Smartphone Running Like New

When you buy a new smartphone, it often runs quickly for a few months, and then seems to slow down inexplicably. But it turns out that it’s pretty easy for you to keep your smartphone — either an iPhone or an Android phone — running like new. Read on for seven easy ways to speed up your phone and keep everything running smoothly.

1. Keep your software updated

iOS 9 update on iPhone and iPad

The first step in keeping your smartphone running like new is to keep the software up-to-date. | Apple.com

The latest version of your phone’s operating system, whether iOS or Android, often contains updates and bug fixes to make your phone run more smoothly and more quickly. On an Android smartphone or an iPhone, you can check for updates via the Settings app. While you’re at it, also make sure that you’re keeping up with updates for the apps installed on your phone. When you’re running the latest version of all of the software, things are more likely to keep running smoothly and quickly.

2. Uninstall apps that you don’t need anymore

man holding smartphone and smiling

To get the most out of your smartphone, uninstall the apps you don’t need anymore. | iStock.com

Almost everyone has installed some apps that have outlived their utility — maybe an app for that airline you flew only once, the camera app that you never could get the hang of, or a game that just wasn’t as entertaining as you’d anticipated. It’s fine to change your mind about an app, but make sure that you uninstall the ones you don’t need. Unnecessary apps use up storage, and even system resources if they’re occasionally running tasks in the background, so periodically evaluate the apps you have on your device and get rid of the ones that aren’t useful to you anymore. For apps that come preloaded on your Android phone and can’t be deleted, disable them to keep them from using resources.

3. Cut down on background tasks

man checking his phone in bed

Reduce the number of background tasks running on your phone to help everything run more smoothly. | iStock.com

In both iOS and Android, you can take a few steps to make sure the apps you decide to keep aren’t negatively impacting the performance of your phone. On Android, consider reducing the frequency with which apps like your favorite mail app, or social media apps like Facebook, connect to your account and load new updates. In iOS, be mindful of which apps have Background App Refresh enabled, and consider reducing that number to decrease the resources being used in the background. Additionally, turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them.

4. Clean up your home screen

an android phone with google in the background

Clean up your smartphone’s home screen to keep it running like new. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Android’s many home screen options — and widget support — make it easy to have everything you need within easy reach. But if you get carried away, a cluttered home screen can impact how quickly your phone runs. Get rid of unnecessary icons (a task you likely completed if you got rid of apps you don’t use anymore) and only keep the widgets that are really useful for you. The same goes for iOS: Clean up that home screen and don’t keep widgets that will eat up lots of unnecessary resources if you don’t ever actually look at them.

5. Reduce animations

The new iPhone SE seen at Apple's headquarters

Reduce the animations used by your operating system and apps. | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

If your phone is slow to move from one task to another, consider turning off some of the animations that appear throughout the operating system. On Android, you’ll need to enable developer options via the Settings app, and then reduce or turn off some of the animations. If you’re using a live wallpaper, consider replacing it with a static image. On iOS, forgo the live wallpaper for a static image, and turn off parallax and app zooms by opening the Settings app and navigating to the Accessibility section.

6. Clean out some storage

man on his phone

A sure way to keep your smartphone running like new is to clean out the device’s storage. | iStock.com

If you uninstalled some unneeded apps but still are short on storage, delete downloaded files that are just sitting around, or back up and remove the years’ worth of photos you’ve accumulated on your phone. (Sync them with your computer, or use your favorite cloud service’s app to back them up and then erase them from your phone.) Get rid of old message threads that hog storage. And on Android, make sure to clear the app cache occasionally to get rid of the data that apps save to streamline their operations, or on iOS, clear the history in apps like Safari.

7. Reset your phone

women in an apple store looking at the phones

Resetting your phone can help it perform the way you want it to. | Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

When your phone is running slowly, it sometimes works to clean up unused apps or simply restart it. But other times, you try everything else and your smartphone still isn’t performing the way you want it to. In that case, you can take a more extreme step and complete a factory reset, which can often solve random issues with apps and eradicate problems that elude diagnosis. Just remember that before you reset your phone, you need to back up all of the important data and media.

Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!