Incredibly Fast. Cool to the Touch. Memory for Miles.
Those are the three aspects everyone wants in a smart phone. By now, however, we all have heard about batteries over heating, operating systems slowing down, and running out of memory at the exact moment when your dog made the cutest face, and you absolutely must take a picture. Although one or more of these problems has happened to all of us, there are some simple steps you can take to make your life with your Android phone more predictable.
Never Say Die
There’s nothing more annoying than your phone dying at the critical moment in a meeting when your co-workers are going on about a project that has nothing to do with your department, and you really need to respond to a tweet. Alas, you’re left stranded, resorting to doodling and looking desperately at your phone hoping that by some miracle, you’ll have power again. Never fear. There are solutions to keep you powered up.
- If your phone has a history of dying, the first step is to take a look at what’s eating your power. Go to Settings> Battery for a complete run down of every app, widget, and piece of hardware using power. Long-click on any item in the list to see a full description of when and why power is being used.
- Reduce animations on screen savers or apps. There are so many great ways to use your phone, even when you’re not actively running it. Your Android device has settings to show you suggested travel destinations, automatically scroll through your Tumblr, or play screen savers. While these are entertaining, they are a drain on your battery. To turn off or disable battery sucking features in your wallpaper or “Daydream Mode” go to Settings>Display.
- Use a dashboard widget to get info without unlocking your phone. A widget is a mini app that gives you a little bit of information without draining processor or battery power. They’re like helpful little gnomes mining information you need from the goldmine of apps on your phone. My favorite dashboard widget is called DashClock. It’s a great tool to show you a robust list of notifications, allowing you to unlock your phone only when you’re ready to work- not to just check in on your apps.
- Turn on Power Saving Mode. You can find power saving mode in your settings, and it’s a great way to make sure you’re getting maximum battery life. If you don’t want to hassle with turning individual apps on or off, or being a hall monitor for your battery, this one-click solution has your name written all over it.
Ice, Ice, Droid
If you’ve ever used your phone as a GPS, beaten several levels of your favorite game in one sitting, or actually worked the entire length of your layover at the Philadelphia International Airport (after buying a Philly cheesesteak and Flyer hat, what else are you going to do?), you’ve probably experienced the fear associated with an overly hot phone. It’s happened to all of us, but you can take a few steps to keep it from happening again.
- Monitor your LCD. One of the biggest sources of heat in your phone is your LCD screen. If you run it for long periods of time, it’s practically guaranteed to get warm. If you must be on your phone for long periods, adjust your screen brightness to the minimal level you can tolerate.
- Minimize your processor needs. The other big heater in your phone is your processor. When you constantly ask it to work, it’s going to heat up. This problem is more common when you have limited access to a network, and your phone seeks a signal for a prolonged period. The three radios you can turn off to keep the heat down are your Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cell connections. There may be times when you want to keep Wi-Fi on, but turn off your cell radio. Simply go into settings to turn off each radio individually. If you want all your radios off, the easy solution is to turn on airplane mode.
One of the best features of any Android device is that it can grow with you. They are imminently customizable, and can be made into larger storage solutions in just a few steps.
- Move to the Cloud. The most common way to get more storage is to add a cloud solution. Consider Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive to store your documents. Dropbox and Google also make killer, fully automatic storage solutions for your pictures. There’s just no reason not to have your files stored somewhere other than your phone when doing so is simple, free, and safe. Not to mention that Dropbox will give you 45GB for free after you buy a new Samsung.
- Buy a micro SD card. If you want to invest another $50 or so into your phone, most folks would recommend that you invest in a micro SD. Just make sure that it’s the right class for your phone. In addition to storing documents, videos and pictures on your SD, you can also easily move your apps to the card. Moving apps is an easy way to free up storage on your phone’s ROM, and it makes taking your apps with you a breeze when you upgrade.
99 Red Balloons
Sometimes, even after cleaning up your phone and judiciously monitoring your power usage, your phone still runs hot, slow, or unexpectedly closes apps. In that case, it’s probably time for a hard reset. This option should be done only after you’ve backed up your device. In most cases, a hard reset involves your volume button, power button and home button. Google how your phone is reset, make sure you’ve saved your information, then turn both keys, and blow it up. OK, really just reset it, and hope that it works better when you turn it back on.
Follow these easy tips for a nearly full proof way to keep your phone running at peak performance for years after your cell phone contract expires.