Why is my phone so slow?

The Brave browser opens the door to a new Internet economy for mobile and desktop users, with a faster, more secure browsing experience. But perhaps your phone doesn’t seem up to the challenge. There is a chance you could be falling victim to the infamous “nocebo” effect; with the constant push for newer, cooler, better devices, your phone might just “feel” slower than normal.

On the other hand, maybe it is slower! There are lots of reasons for an older phone to slow down, and we will cover some of those reasons in this article. We’ll also look at a number of ways to speed up your phone. Some of them are easy, some a bit harder, but all of them should result in a faster, smoother browsing experience for you.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to speed things up is to download the Brave browser. It’s fast, uses less data, and keeps you more secure than Chrome or any other browser.

Common reasons your phone is slow

If you’re wondering why your phone has slowed way down, chances are it’s one of the following reasons. And the good news is that there are a number of things you can do to speed it up again! Of course, your five-year-old phone is never going to be quite as fast as the latest, greatest model - but the odds are good that there is something you can do to help the problem.

Let’s start with the common reasons your phone may be slow:

Degrading battery

As your phone gets older, you will almost certainly notice that it takes longer to charge. For that matter, it doesn’t stay charged for nearly as long. This comes down to science; chemistry, actually. The lithium-ion battery that goes in your cell phone relies on a healthy flow of ions from a cathode to an anode. Over time, resistance begins to build up and that flow is reduced.

This is why a typical cell phone battery loses a little bit of its capacity every year, requiring longer to charge and more frequent charges. Your phone battery also comes with a life expectancy; most manufacturers estimate that a cell battery should last between 600-800 cycles - a complete charge from 0% to 100%.

A failing cell battery affects the performance of your phone in different ways. Less efficient usage can produce excess heat, stressing other components. A degraded battery also might not have the capability to fully support heavy CPU use at times; this can lead to random shutdowns.

Limited storage

As storage devices fill up, your phone slows down. Modern phone processors use different techniques to keep your phone’s memory free and available, but as you fill your phone with pics, videos, and messages, your processor runs out of room to maneuver.

In other words, you will probably notice slower performance as you get closer to your storage limit.

Broken or damaged components

There is the general degradation of battery, memory, and storage that takes place over time. But your phone could also be slowing down from physical damage from one too many drops on the floor. Moisture could have worked its way into the device too.

Bloatware

Excess apps and programs gum up the works, drain system resources, and occasionally pose security risks. Get rid of any extras! If you add Brave as your new, preferred browser, delete your old one; if you try a couple of new photo-editing apps, remember to remove the ones you disliked.

Easy ways to speed up your phone

If your phone is slow because it’s been physically damaged, you are unlikely to be able to fix it. If it needs a new component or battery, you will want to replace those first before trying anything else to speed things up.

After you have tried to figure out the main reason your phone has slowed down, try these steps to see if there’s any improvement.

1. Perform an app audit

What’s an app audit? It’s a detailed inventory of what apps you have installed on your phone and the various permissions each one has. A good app audit does two things - it tells you what you have, and it tells you what each app can do.

Why is this important? Knowing what you have can help you trim out any bloatware - unwanted or unused apps. And knowing the permissions each app has can help you see which apps are using more data or have access to the information you’d rather keep private.

Here’s how to perform an app audit:

On Android

  1. Select your Settings app
  2. Navigate to the Apps and Notifications menu
  3. Select an app, and then select Permissions to see what’s currently enabled for that app.

This also works well as a comprehensive list of all the apps you currently have installed on your phone. If you see something that shouldn’t be there, you can delete it right from this menu.

Alternatively, if you are more interested in the permissions themselves, there’s often an Apps and Permissions section under the main Apps and Notifications menu. That will let you view more than one app’s permissions at a time.

On iOS

The same basic process applies, but you will find the relevant controls under Settings and then Privacy. From there, you will be able to control which apps can perform different functions.

On both platforms, auditing your apps frees up storage space and reduces the drain on system resources, resulting in a cleaner and faster phone.

2. Clear cache

Apps and browsers chase certain information in order to speed things up, so randomly clearing your cache can be counter-productive. However, cached information may become corrupted; or you may simply be so low that freeing up any storage space, even a little bit, can help immensely.

Of course, if you are that low on storage space, then your phone will likely be running slow even with a cleared cache. Nevertheless, clearing the cache on an app can deliver some short-term benefits.

On Android, clearing an app’s cache is relatively straightforward. Go to Settings, then Storage, then Apps or Other Apps. Depending on the exact brand of Android phone you’re using, you should have the option of cleaning up old files, or simply clearing that app’s cache.

On iPhone, the only way to clear an app’s cache is to delete the app entirely and re-install. That wipes out any old saved data for that app.

Those are two “big” ways to speed up your phone. Here are some smaller tips and tricks worth trying:

3. Update OS

Ok, so updating your OS isn’t necessarily a small thing by itself. But it can help speed things up as a whole. Developers issue software updates for good reasons, including patches and bug fixes that might have been slowing your phone down. Keep your phone fully updated to take advantage of those benefits.

4. Update apps

Individual apps also need updating for the same reasons - to fix known issues and bugs and to offer improved functionality. You should have updates turned on automatically under your phone’s settings; if so, that will save you the need to manually update each app.

5. Turn off automatic updates

Wait, we just said to keep things updated! That’s true, but for older phones or phones with limited storage, you may discover that it’s better to keep the version you’re on now. In addition, the automatic update feature allows your phone to quietly download needed updates in the background while you use your phone.

That’s great for saving you time and hassle, but it does mean that those downloads are nearly always running quietly in the background, adding to the load on your phone. Turning off automatic updates means you will need to manually download any updates for your apps and OS, but you should notice a faster phone in the meantime.

Advanced solutions for a slow phone

There are only two entries in this section, but they’re big ones. These are for people whose phones are really starting to drive them crazy and who are desperate for ways to speed things up.

1. Factory reset

If something’s slowing your phone down, but you just can’t figure out what it is, a factory reset may be a good option. As the name suggests, a factory reset turns everything back to the way the phone was when it was first manufactured. Any OS updates will remain, but all your apps, saved data, and settings will be wiped. Permanently.

This is the “nuclear option” for fixing your slow phone. The advantage is doing a hard reset on your phone, both on iOS and Android, is surprisingly easy.

On Android, you will want Settings, then Backup and Reset, and then the Factory Reset option. Note: the exact names for these menus may vary from Android to Android.

On iOS, it’s Settings, General, and then Reset.

That’s it! The actual process is easy.

But a HUGE word of warning - when you got your phone brand new, it didn’t have your apps, favorite music, treasured pictures, or info saved onto it. All of that vanishes when you do a factory reset.

To preserve those memories while still getting a faster phone, you will want to back things up just before you reset everything. You can use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, or any number of third-party apps to save everything important.

If you back things up properly, you should be able to perform the reset and then restore your data from the backup. You’ll have a speedier phone and will still be able to keep your saved info.

2. Developer Options

There is a bit of wizardry in finding the Developer Options menu. For Android, you will need to go to Settings, System Information, and maybe another step or two until you find the build number for your OS.

Tap the build number seven times. If that sounds a bit random or arcane, well, it is - but after you tap the build number seven times, you will be granted developer access. Leave that menu, and under Settings, you should see a new menu appear.

In Developer Options, you will be able to manage the number of background processes allowed to run simultaneously, turn automatic updates on and off, and dive into a host of other advanced features. Be warned: many of them are highly technical - hence the “developer” part of “developer options."

You will be able to reset the Developer Options to default if you change something you don’t like.

3. Custom ROM

Because Android is based on open-source code, there are dozens, even hundreds, of custom ROMs available. These are modded or customized operating systems that provide a number of benefits. While not all custom ROMs are created equal, the good ones provide a streamlined, bloatware-free OS with tons of personalized features.

Installing a custom ROM isn’t difficult, but it is a little more complicated than simply installing an app. You will need some custom recovery software, a bit of time, and a willingness to experiment.

4. Choose a better browser…like Brave!

The web browser you use on your phone has a huge impact on your phone’s performance, from battery usage to browsing speed. One of the easiest ways to improve your phone’s performance is to remove the default browser and install Brave.

Brave’s Shields block unwanted ads and trackers, using less data on your mobile network. With fewer elements to load on a page, you will find that your browsing speeds are quicker and pages load 3x faster with Brave.

Reducing mobile data and streamlining webpages almost results in improved battery life, all part of Brave’s approach to the Internet that prioritizes your privacy and security without sacrificing performance.

There are a number of easy ways to speed up your phone, but none of them is easier than deleting your old browser and switching to Brave!

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