Why do phones slow down? How to Fix and Improve Speed ?

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 22 May 2022    📁 TECH

Slow performance is the most serious issue that smartphones have faced over time. When a smartphone gets older, it becomes slower, more problematic, and frustrating.

Why Smart Phone is slow?

Some of the reasons for the slow smartphone are as follows:

1 Hardware life

Smartphone hardware is analogous to human anatomy. In the same way that the human body begins to slow down after a certain age and ceases to function properly and actively, the same thing occurs in the case of hardware.

For example, the processor will perform best at a certain temperature, and if the processor becomes overheated as the temperature rises, processor performance may suffer.

Smartphone uses NAND Flash Drives whose write speeds gradually decrease over the period of time.

old hardware smarthpone

Also, excessive heat, cosmic rays, dust, and electric spikes stress transistors and degrade the life of transistors and this may make your smartphone(Android or iPhone) fail entirely. This age failure in the transistor is binary ie. and may or may not happen.

2 Damage / Loosen Hardware Parts

Smartphone hardware can be damaged by being dropped, or crushed, having liquid fall on it, experiencing power surges, forcing cables into incorrect ports, and so on. Even as a result of these actions, hardware parts may become loose and cease to function properly.

Also Read: Parts of Motherboard

3 System Upgrades and Updates

After a few months or years of using a new smartphone, you will receive system updates and upgrades. System updates and upgrades are beneficial to your system's performance because they fix various issues related to performance, security, usability, and so on, but they actually increase memory size. As a result, the system eventually consumes more operating capacity, consumes more power, and overloads the system, giving you the impression that it is not performing well.

fig. Update Smartphone 

If you have the latest phone and new updates appear then installing that may help boost performance. If you have an old phone and you are getting updates for it and you are installing it then you may face performance-related issues.

4 Installation of third party application

When you purchase a smartphone, you will only have access to a few applications. You may require additional applications while using, so you continue to install applications. If you have an increasing number of applications, it takes up space and may degrade the system. Furthermore, if the application is not properly coded and memory management is not properly implemented, it may consume more system resources than expected.

Note: In the case of the google play store, all the applications not developed by google are third-party applications. They follow guidelines and criteria provided by google. Eg. of third party applications: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, etc

fig. Third-party apps

Any popular newer apps developed by developers love trying new technology targeting new brands of phones. So, these newer apps require more resources like CPU and RAM. So, if you install those apps on legacy smartphones then your phone will slow down.

Also read: Is it safe to delete Google Play services data and cache?

There are two main mobile operating systems.
1) Android
2) iOS

If you download it from the Google Play or Apple App Store, it is usually safe to install. However, there may be applications that are not properly coded, and installing those applications may slow down performance due to a memory leakage issue. Furthermore, stores do not guarantee the safety of free apps.

Also, Read SATA SSD vs NVMe SSD. Buy NVMe SSD if possible

Furthermore, you can install software on your phone that is not from the play store/AppStore, and it may contain ransomware, and unnecessary ads that steal your information, consume memory and negatively impact system performance.

5 Background Process

Smartphones for general use have 30 to 40 apps installed on them. Many of them are running in the background even when you are not using a screen. This consumes more system resources such as CPU and RAM, as well as the battery. Background apps include social media apps, web browsers, email apps, and so on.

Also Read: How to Check Phone Processor [Android, iOS]?

6 Mobile Storage Fragmentation

Storage Fragmentation is one of the big causes for your smartphone(iPhone or Android) and computer to slow down.

We perform thousands of read / write operations to phone memory while using social media, playing games, taking notes, deleting photos and videos, and many other activities. A fragmentation phenomenon occurs when an incorrect write operation is performed. Fragmentation refers to unused memory.

When a file system organizes its files and data in non-contiguous parts, fragmentation takes place.

In the process of storing, if a large process arrives then they are split and are saved in various parts of the memory. And when retrieving that process then the memory has to cover more physical distance to retrieve the whole process and finally load it.

Also Read: What is OEM in Windows OS? Know it before you regret

Fragmentation is an obvious case and not avoidable, and it will happen at every level from kernel level to application level.

7 Memory Degradation

OEM uses NAND flash memory because it is cheaper and faster. But these types of memory degrade themselves over time. The various factor of degradation are:

  •  How often do you use your phone?
  •  Task you perform on your phone (intensive task or normal task)
  •  Quality of Memory you have installed
  •  The magnitude of reading/write performs from/to memory.
Also Read: Artificial Intelligence Apps for Smartphone

8 Use of Live Wallpapers, and widgets

If you have a low-end processor and less battery mah then live wallpapers and widgets of very high resolutions can slow down your smartphone.

9 Little or No Internal Storage(ROM) Remaining

If there is not enough space to hold the data and application in your smartphone then it may cause slow performance.

fig. System Space runs out of Memory

10 Insufficient RAM

If you have a phone with less RAM capacity then running heavy applications may slow down your phone. We know that today smartphones can perform multitasking jobs, if there is insufficient RAM they will be able to perform one task at a time and halt other applications.

11 Old Battery

The smartphone works on particular energy and if the battery cannot provide sufficient energy then the smartphone will not perform perfectly. If the battery cannot provide sufficient energy then your smartphone screen goes dimmer, has shorter display-on time, etc. But it doesn't directly affect the performance of smartphones as does by the above point.

And if you buy a new but duplicate battery then this may affect your phone because of the lower cutoff voltage, the high cutoff voltage of the new may not match with the duplicate one and the battery gets drained and swollen earlier than expected.

source: Wikipedia

12 Too many applications opened

If you keep opening the application and using only one application is active then this may internally use memory. If you have more apps installed and running them then it consumes all the resources of the smartphone including RAM and CPU.

too many app opened
fig. Too Many Apps Opened

 13 Installed too many Bloatware apps 

If you install a large number of applications on your smartphone that are not necessary, the device will use more RAM and CPU, and some of those applications may work in the background, which will waste resources and cause fragmentation, which will cause the device to run more slowly.

How to troubleshoot a slow Phone?

You can troubleshoot/fix your slow phone with the following solutions.

1 First Know your Device

You the owner of the phone only know the capacity of your phone. So, wisely use it.

2 Remove Unused Applications

First, identify which application you are not using. Some unused applications keep taking your resource in the background so it's better to remove/uninstall those unused applications. It helps to free up the used resources.

3 Use Lite Edition Applications

If there is a Lite version of the app available, you should try to use that instead. Since the Lite Version only includes limited features and is designed for low-end devices. If you are willing to make do with the few features that are available, then you should give it a shot for Lite version.

4 Clear Software Cached Data

If your system is slow then you can clear software cache data and temporary files. Some applications like Facebook, messenger, youtube, and browsers cache your data in many megabytes. You can clear those application cache data to improve your phone performance.

5 Software Updates

Actually, software updates are critical for your phone and recommend doing updates. Read what is provided in the updates and update accordingly. Security-related updates, bug fixing, performance updates, etc are necessary, and do it. 

6 Close unused applications

Close unused applications which you are not actively using.

7 Hardware Maintainance

If any problem occurs like dropped mobile in water, damage some part by dropping on the floor, etc. with your phone, then it is better to take that to a mobile mechanic and protect your system from being even worse.

8 Disable Transitions and Animations

Although having live wallpaper and widgets on your home screen makes it look more sophisticated, it can be a significant performance bottleneck for your device. It is recommended that you disable live wallpaper if you are encountering a significant delay when switching between apps or when clicking "back" to return to the home screen after exiting an application.

9 Clear Cache Data

Apps cache data for faster loading. There may be some applications that cache unnecessary data, and it is recommended that the cached data for those apps be deleted. It will free up mobile space, allowing your device to perform better.

It's possible that clearing the cache will fix the majority of your issues without deleting any of your data.

10 Stop Auto Synchronization

Your smartphone may be slow because some apps on your phone are constantly syncing information with servers, which can drain your battery and slow down your phone's performance. To disable auto-sync, follow these steps: Go to Settings and then Accounts, where you may find a toggle button labeled Auto-sync. Simply turn it off.

Furthermore, it is preferable to remove unnecessary accounts because it will sync for all accounts that appear to be unnecessary.

11 Disable Background Processes 

If you check out your background processes and make sure that only the processes that are absolutely necessary are allowed to run in the background, then your phone's performance will definitely improve.

12 Stop some features when you do not use Bluetooth.

13 Check Battery Condition

14 Use a high-speed SD Card 

15 Restart Phone

Sometimes restarting your phone solves the problem.

14 Factory Reset

If your phone started to lag, scroll frequently freeze, force shutdown itself frequently, and apps started offering the popup window to force close the application, then you should give it a try for Factory Reset because it may fix the slow performance issue.

Before you attempt to perform a factory reset, it is strongly advised that you create a backup of all your important data.