Why is My Android Running So Slow?

When you first get your brand new Android phone, it runs so smooth. You’re mesmerized by how responsive it is. Then a few months go by. Suddenly you have to tap things twice for it to respond. Apps now take forever to load. What happened? Why is it running so slow? There could be a few reasons.

App services running in the background at start-up

Some apps install services that constantly run in the background. As you install more and more apps, more items may be constantly running. This can use up precious memory. Restart your Android, then check under Settings > Apps > Running to see a list. Uninstall the apps associated with the services you don’t need if possible. Some apps may not be removable because they are forced upon you by your wireless provider. If there are too many of those (looking at you Verizon) you may want to root your device so that you can remove the bloatware.

The "Running" screen in Apps Settings provides information on apps running in the background.
The “Running” screen in Apps Settings provides information on apps running in the background.

Not enough memory

If you have loaded your Android with tons of apps and data, it can slow down the device significantly. Check how much memory you have available under Settings > Storage, then have a look at the Available storage. The more you have available, the better. Consider removing apps that you don’t need or ones that take up a lot of space.

Junk in the Cache

There is a cache partition on most Android devices that stores items that are accessed the most. After a while, it can become clogged with junk, causing slow performance. You can usually wipe the cache by accessing the recovery screen at startup. Each device has it’s own method for accessing the screen.

Rooted users sometimes claim that clearing the “Dalvik Cache”  helps with speed. The steps for clearing the Dalvik Cache differ depending on the ROM and device you’re using. So you’ll have to “Google it” if you want to learn how.

Android System Recovery screen
A typical recovery screen for an Android device.

Your device is too old for the version of Android you’re running

Device makers want to do their best in providing the latest version of the Android OS to their users. On a few occasions, over-the-air updates have been provided to devices that shouldn’t have. For example, running Android 2.3 on a Droid 1 may be too much for the hardware to handle.

Some people may root the device and try to push a newer OS on their device as well, resulting in sluggish performance. You’ll need to turn off some of the bells and whistles, such as animations or sounds so the hardware doesn’t have to work as hard. Downgrading your version of Android may also help increase speed.

Well, that covers some of the reasons your Android is running so slow. Do you have any advice to speed up your Android? Please share them in the comments section.


  1. John Smith says

    The reasons for why Android phones slow down (and they all do it) would appear to strongly suggest that the OS really still has a long way to go. I mean why would it allow so many apps to run. Why doesn’t it close down apps that are not in use. Why does it allow the cache to become so clogged etc. etc. Really does sound Mickey Mouse. I’ve tried every trick in the book to speed up my HTC. I’m about to reset the phone. Should I really have to do this every few months! Dare I say it but I’m starting to think Apple…
    I thought Android was a Linux derivative for mobile devices. I always thought Linux was rock solid which makes the Android failings even more confusing.

  2. michelle says

    my android is extremely slow, loading up a text message takes almost a minute. I do not have that many Apps on my device on the ram is only at 2.98gb of 4.84. i could really use some help on speeding my device up.

  3. Cath says

    MICHELLE, I think you need to reset the phone. I experienced that and found no other way. The phone will work a lot better after the reset. It”s worth the try. :)

  4. Soham Roy says

    Every day i mannually force stop every app and clear all the cache after the phone stars. I have set my auto on off feature so my device stays off atleast 4 hours every night. Its been 2 years and my device is as smooth, as it was when I first bought it. So Try it. It’s labourous I know. But it will work. My Gurantee.

  5. Hasan Shahzad says

    Cache clearing works really good to speed up old android devices. What do you suggest regarding memory and storage boosting apps available in Google Play Store? Do they help out?

  6. Jack says

    My android just recently started going extremely slow. I can’t load facebook, videos, play games, etc. I cleared everything, updated my phone, ran a virus scan, and nothing seems to be working. We dont have unlimited data but we litterally paid the bill last week and every since then its been aweful. WHY?!

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