From mobile phones and tablet PCs to OS, I like to write in-depth information, guides, reviews and tutorials.
You might be pretty impressed with the performance of your Android phone. It runs a lot of apps and games. But your phone might become unstable or run down its battery faster than it needs to if you don't maintain it.
Problems on your device usually arise when you install too many apps or run more than one app at a time. This drains the battery quickly and causes apps to run slow. Other problems might come up, including low volume, low SD file-transfer rate, slower CPU processing, and slow browser speed.
Like your PC, your phone or tablet needs a regular checkup to ensure optimal speed and operation. Fortunately, there are some useful Android apps to improve your phone’s performance. Some (not all) of these apps require an unlocked or "rooted" device. Some monitor your phone's computing performance and offer benchmark scores. Here’s a rundown of some of the top applications that boost performance.
1. Avast Cleanup
Avast Cleanup deserves to be in your arsenal of tools that can help improve your Android phone’s performance. It frees up storage space by cleaning up junk files, which would normally be difficult for you if you manually try to remove them from your phone.
The app also optimizes your media library by getting rid of unwanted, poor quality/duplicate photos. Wait. There’s more! The app tunes up performance by stopping resource-hogging apps from running in the background and getting rid of pre-installed bloatware from your device.
If you are using the free version, then you will have to continue with ads. Or you can upgrade to an ad-free version of Avast Cleanup. Ads are pretty short and aren't intrusive. Go for the free version and you can switch to the premium version later if you don’t want advertisements. You don’t have to root your phone to use this app.
Avast Cleanup has an excellent user-friendly wizard that will guide you through your first cleanup to improve your Android phone’s performance. Through its simple GUI, the app shows how much space is being used up as well as the available free space. Just click on the big “Start Here” button to begin optimizing your phone’s storage space.
The next step is to give Avast Cleanup access to help you clean junk, unwanted photos and files. Basically, giving this app usage access will allow it to view and suggest necessary steps for freeing up space. Follow all steps prompted by the app. It’s Avast, so you should be safe.
Once you have given all permissions, the app will scan for junk. It will take a few seconds to complete scan.
Under “Quick Clean Review”, the app shows a list of all files, caches and app data that are safe to remove. You can uncheck those that you don’t want to be removed from your phone, but most of them are junk files, so you wouldn’t need them.
I love how this app has a separate section for WhatsApp data, which includes sent and received photos, videos and documents. All this is shown under the Quick Clean Review.
The best part is that these aren't checked for deletion as the app leaves it to the user to choose whether they want to keep them or remove them from their phones. When you are ready, you can proceed with the app’s “deep clean” operation to cleanup all checked items.
Avast Cleanup not only lets you clean junk files to free up space, but also boosts your phone’s performance by killing unwanted apps in the background to free up memory of your device. Just tap on “See Apps” to get a list of apps that consume your device resources.
You can uncheck essential apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, and keep those needs to be hibernated. The app’s “hibernation mode” is the most effective way to optimize RAM, which will also extend your device’s battery life and speed up your phone. It also lets you remove pre-installed bloatware and apps that you rarely use.
Besides the excellent cleanup settings and app hibernation mode, the free version also lets you find and delete unwanted photos and videos easily. Just tap on “Media” on the home screen.
The app analyses all media in your phone and categorizes them as “Old Photos” (photos that have been created or modified over a month ago), “Sensitive Photos” (images sent and received via social networking apps that might be personal in nature), bad or low-quality photos and similar photos (images that look the same). This proper categorization of media files will certainly help you to discard unwanted photos and videos.
For boosting battery life, Avast Cleanup allows users to set separate profiles (work, home) to auto adjust battery usage, but this option is available in the paid version.
The premium version also offers automatic cleaning, which has a few useful presets, such as scheduled scans for finding and deleting junk files and data size. Don’t worry - the app will first ask you which files need to be removed first. These include residual file, visible cache, etc. You just have to choose those unwanted files and the app will clean them up automatically each time it scans your device.
As the name suggests, SetCPU tweaks your rooted phone’s processor to boost CPU performance. With it, you can experiment with overclocking your old phone.
The most admirable aspect of this app is its capability to underclock processor settings. Lowering the clock speed of a processor has its own perks. It can save battery life, although the performance of some high-end applications will decrease. For some devices, the app also allows you to tweak the phone’s voltage to preserve your battery.
SetCPU lets you choose a preset profile, based on certain conditions, to change your CPU settings. Based on the profile chosen, the app may overclock or underclock your processor settings if you are browsing the web or if the CPU temp is too high.
With so many options and features, this free app provides a much-needed performance boost for your device.
3. ROM Manager
ROM Manager, developed by Koushik Dutta, allows you to add more zing to your unlocked Android phone. Using this app, you can download and install a variety of ROMs (operating systems) that improve performance or add new features to your device. It offers a smart user interface to manage your ROMs, and adds new custom ROMs and mods periodically, allowing you to dabble with new stuff every now and then.
The best part of ROM Manager is OTA (over-the-air) updates that let you install your favorite ROMs on the fly. You can install the famed CyanongenMod to completely rejuvenate your rooted phone’s setting. The ROM includes a new custom soft keyboard that’s more accurate than the one that comes with the phone. The ROM also includes performance enhancement options for your device CPU.
There are plenty more features of ROM Manager. You can download it for free or buy the premium version for additional features. Offering a wide variety of custom utilities, this is a must-have app for all rooted phone users.
4. CPU Tuner
CPU Tuner is an Android app that improves your phone’s processor performance and battery performance. Much like SetCPU, this app is a performance enhancer for an unlocked device. Besides having a set of preset profiles, the application also lets you create custom profiles that work when a certain condition is triggered.
CPU Tuner lets you tweak your phone’s performance setting by lowering the clock speed. While this can slow down apps, it will allow you to run basic, important apps without any problems. This app allows users to configure settings and create their own profiles. The flexibility, along with some really cool profiles, makes this app an excellent addition to your list of performance-enhancing apps.
5. SD Speed Increase
Bored with the slow file-transfer rate of your SD card? Well, there’s a solution for it, in the form of a free app. Speed Increase improves the SD card speed by allowing users to augment the default size of the SD card cache.
The app has the simplest user interface, just a slider to increase cache size. The cache size changes after every reboot, but you can avoid this this by selecting a small check box below the slider, which will bring your preferred setting back when you restart the phone.
Like the apps above, SD Speed Increase works on rooted devices only, and in addition it only seems to work on some phones. On others, the change in speed is hardly noticeable. Since it is free (ad-supported), you can try it out on your unlocked device.
6. AnTuTu Benchmark
This app is not a performance booster, but a performance tester. With it Android OS enthusiasts can test their phone’s memory performance, processor speed, 3D rendering capabilities, and memory card reading/writing speed. You can find out if your phone can play demanding games, and test 2D rendering capabilities as well as other effects. You can compare test results with other phones; the app lists popular phones, and adds new phone benchmarks regularly.
The interface is slick and highly readable, with a quasi-3D meter model, and bright graphs displaying test results on a black background.
AnTuTu Benchmark is used by most amateur mobile phone reviewers and enthusiasts. If you want to delve deeper into your phone’s CPU, SD card speed, and gaming performance, then you should install it on your device.
7. Android Assistant
Android Assistant is a one-stop app to improve your phone performance. It provides an assortment of tweaks, utilities, and monitoring tools to track your Android's health and boost performance. You will get to know the current CPU usage, total free memory, and battery info. Its graphical monitors are very clear and easy to read.
The app’s most useful aspect is its Tools menu, which contains some of the best utilities to improve your device’s performance, from a nifty cache cleaner to a startup manager. You can uninstall unwanted apps all at once via the batch uninstall option and kill unwanted operations and apps with a tap of a button, via Quick Boost.
Android Application Manager is a great app for those who want a single application for boosting their device’s operations. Of all its tools, I found the Quick Boost and Startup Manager most useful.
Greenify is possibly the only battery-saver app you will ever need! It’s totally free and very easy to use. As more and more apps are installed on your Android phone, the device tends to be more of a battery-hogger and becomes slower. With greenify, you will be able to stop them from running in the background to save battery and make your device run faster. The best part about this app is that it is optimized to work on both rooted and non-rooted devices.
You will be greeted with a simple wizard when you open the app for the first time. Just a few options to select, such as whether your phone is rooted or not and then granting permission as “usage access "as it is mandatory from Android 5.1.1 onward for detecting running state of apps.
Once you have followed all on-screen prompts, it’s time to choose apps that need to be hibernated when not in use. Just tap on the green “+” button on the lower-right hand corner of the screen and then tap on show more apps. Select apps that you want to be “Greenified” and tap on the green checkmark button on the lower-right corner of the screen.
Greenify might not hibernate your selected apps instantly and will probably tell you that these apps don’t need to be stopped since “they have no significant background behaviors that can impact memory or battery consumption.” However, you may still go ahead to hibernate them. Just select them again and press the “zzz” button on the top-right corner of the screen.
There are some very useful options in Greenify’s settings menu. You may choose a completely automatic hibernation that automatically hibernates soon after the screen goes off. There’s also an aggressive doze mode that lets you enter doze mode in minutes to save power more effectively.
With a simple interface and an effective way to save battery life, Greenify is one of those must-have apps that will surely improve your Android phone’s performance.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Tobias from Germany on February 11, 2015:
Cool stuff! Especially for iPhone users trying out Android and are not used to this tweaking possibilities ;-)
ZAKARIEA on February 09, 2015:
Very useful article......
TTGReviews on November 18, 2014:
This works well... I'm still working on getting more out of my S3
Nick Deal from Earth on August 26, 2014:
setCPU does the trick for me. Nuff said
Tim Anthony on May 17, 2014:
Though it is an interesting and knowledgeable article, I think, saving battery life on account of degrading the performance of applications installed, is not a pretty smart move. However, increasing the SD card's speed is actually a pretty nice option to explore.
Scott Belcher from Durham, UK on February 01, 2014:
Thanks for this. I've never got round to rooting my Galaxy S2. Guess I've got a bit of backoff after bricking my last LG phone. Although I've heard it's a lot easier to root now.
Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on November 01, 2013:
Great tips, I'm going to look a bit more into what you can do with the ROM Manager.
Hezekiah from Japan on October 20, 2013:
Good suggestions there. I may try some of these with my older Android phone, not my newer Galaxy S4.
Chad Davis on August 07, 2013:
Cool app suggestions
Anurag (author) on June 12, 2013:
idigwebsites from United States on June 10, 2013:
Fandroid there... thanks for your suggestions. Been having problems with my SD card lately in particular, so I'm going to try SD Speed Increase right now. Up and useful. :)
Anurag (author) on December 19, 2012:
aykianink on December 19, 2012:
I knew there was this type of thing for computers, but never knew it was on phones. Good stuff.