How to make the Internet faster on your phone

No matter which browser you use, eventually it can start to slow down. Pages load slower, videos take longer to start playing. While you might think it’s just a slow phone, there are some simple steps you can take to improve Web speeds even without upgrading your device.

What are the typical Internet speeds for 3G, 4G, and 5G?

Before we talk about how to make your mobile Internet faster, it’s worth considering how fast it should be. Your mobile device will have a set speed; this is the 3G, 4G, and now 5G identification that comes with every mobile device.

Note that the number doesn’t refer to a set speed (e.g. 3G does not equal 3 GB), but rather a standard. 3G is the third generation cell service standard, 4G is the fourth, and so on. The higher the number, the faster your Internet speed.

How fast is each standard? In general, 3G delivers download speeds between 0.5 and 5 megabits per second (mbps); 4G delivers speeds up to 100 mbps for downloads; and 5G could (in theory) be 100 times faster, up to 100 gigabits per second. As you can see, the standards don’t increase by any set amount, but there’s an exponential increase in speed with each one.

Check your Internet plan and provider

If the Internet is slow on your phone, first check that you’re on the highest standard available in your area, and that you have good cellular signal strength. (You might want to use a speed test tool to measure your actual Internet speeds against your device or plan’s advertised speeds.) If these steps to improve your phone’s Internet speed fail, you might need to contact your provider for assistance diagnosing any issues on their end.

Beyond that, here are some simple ways to improve your phone’s Internet speed.

Troubleshoot your home Internet connection

If you notice that your phone seems to work fine in other places but slows down at home, it could be a hardware issue. Turn your router off and on again to reset your Internet connection, check that your modem is working properly, and make sure all the cables are securely connected. Then try an Internet speed test to check your connection speeds.

If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting other devices from the Internet, moving closer to your router, or upgrading your equipment.

Manage data usage on your apps

The number of apps you’ve installed (and the amount of data they use) can add up to a slow Internet connection. Delete apps you don’t use and restrict the activity of ones you do to boost your phone’s battery life and Internet speeds.

How do I find out which apps are using the most data?

There are specific instructions available for Android and iOS, but a quick look at an app’s settings should display how much data it’s using. If you have apps you no longer use, delete them to free up storage and reduce the load on your battery; this may help speed things up, and reduce the bandwidth your phone is using. If you see that certain apps are using lots of data, explore the settings for that particular app to find ways to restrict its data usage.

Beware of very old apps, or copycat apps that mimic popular apps but secretly steal your data and browsing info. These are a major security risk, and also use a lot of Internet bandwidth.

Optimize app performance by limiting background processes

Some apps may continue to run or download updates in the background, which can slow down your browsing speeds. This is especially common with apps that request access to your location or other data, and continue collecting it even when you’re not using the app. To reduce the bandwidth that apps use, you can limit their activity to only when you’re actively using the app.

What can I do to restrict background processes on my phone?

On Android, you can use “developer options” to restrict the number of background processes that are running. On iOS, you can turn off or limit background app activity in the “background app refresh” settings, and control each app’s ability to use cellular data via the “cellular” settings.

Optimize your phone’s settings to improve Internet speed

In addition to limiting an app’s ability to use data in the background, or to use cellular data at all, there are a number of settings on your phone that can affect your Internet speed. These include disabling or limiting location services, automatic downloads, and automatic updates—basically anything that lets your phone use data in the background.

Reset your phone to improve Internet speed

If nothing else seems to work, you can try a full factory reset. This wipes all apps and data off your phone, restoring things to the way they were when you first got your phone. This is an extreme option, so be sure to back up everything (like pictures) beforehand.

How do I back up my data before performing a factory reset?

Before doing a factory reset, connect your phone to Wi-Fi and a power source. Then use “iCloud backup” to back up your iOS device, or “Google account backup” to backup your Android device.

Note: depending on how much data you have on your phone, the backup process could take several hours.

Improve browsing speed by using a fast and secure browser

Your web browser likely accounts for most of your Internet use. Giving it an overdue upgrade can dramatically increase your Internet speeds. Brave is built around one idea: your data belongs to you. Brave uses Shields to stop unwanted ads and block trackers. Each tracker blocked is one less thing to load on a webpage, resulting in load times that are 3x faster than Chrome.

Faster Internet isn’t the only thing Brave offers, but it is one of the most important. Brave reimagines the Internet to respect your privacy and speed up your browsing. Curious? Download Brave today and discover a better Internet.

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