Optimize your Android device in 7 steps

Many people think that you should treat an Android smartphone or tablet the same as you do with an old Windows PC. The Play Store is therefore full of apps to clean up memory, protect against viruses, task killers and I even came across a defragment app. For Android, however, these apps are completely unnecessary, even harmful. Time to remove that misery and really optimize your Android.

Before we explain how to optimize your device, let's briefly explain how Android works. You install software in the form of apps. These apps are installed in containers, which means they cannot change the system or affect other apps. Apps can access allocated system resources such as the camera, internet, contacts and so on, but they need permission to do so. The requested system resources are displayed before you install an app. Also read: The 10 best Android apps of October.

The installation will only start when you agree with the permissions. That is quite different from Windows, in which programs can nestle in the system unnoticed, influence other programs or install other things. Through errors in other software such as Internet Explorer or Flash, malware can, so to speak, already infect a system when you visit the wrong website. That makes a watchful eye of a virus scanner absolutely indispensable in Windows.

01 Remove your virus scanner

So that brings us to our first simple tip: don't install a virus scanner on your Android, or if you already have one, remove it. Because such a virus scanner is also located in a container, the possibilities to intervene are too limited. In addition, a virus can only enter the system in the form of an app, and that is also gone when you delete the app. That does not mean that you can unabashedly install everything.

Many apps rake in a lot of personal data. Therefore, be very critical of the permissions an app asks for installation and abort the installation prematurely if you do not trust it. It is also always wise to take a look at the number of installations and the rating of an app. The Play Store repels malware through its own scanner called Bouncer, but when you install apps outside of Google Play, you lose that extra layer of security. It is therefore wise not to download apps outside the Play Store. By omitting the antivirus app, you also save system capacity, which you can better use for more useful things.

02 Big cleaning

Android devices always come with a range of pre-installed apps, even Nexus devices are full of Google services. You can also easily get the broom through it. Go to Settings / Apps for an overview of all available apps. Under the tab downloaded you can safely turn off what you don't use (tap the app and press Switch off). Under the tab Everything you will of course find more apps. Here you can work a little less rigorously. Search the internet for each system app to see if you can remove it without any problems. Apps from Google itself (whether it's News & Weather, Google+ or the Google search app) can luckily always be disabled without any problems. Especially on devices from Samsung, LG and HTC you regularly see that many apps cannot be switched off. The only way to neutralize them somewhat is to let them sleep, you can read more about this in step 4, Greenify.


It goes without saying that a huge amount of installed apps has an impact on battery and system performance. So check beforehand whether you really need an app you want to install. For example, many apps also have an excellent mobile website. You save your device enormously if you use the mobile website of Facebook, for example, instead of the app (in addition, you do not give Facebook access to the enormous amount of personal data that is on your Android device). But Nu.nl, Weeronline, Marktplaats and many other well-known web services also have an excellent mobile website. Add these sites to Chrome's bookmarks and place the bookmarks in a widget on your home screen and you won't miss the apps at all.

03 Wakelocks

Some apps are only active in memory when you launch them, others remain running in the background. With WhatsApp, for example, this makes sense. But there are many more apps that keep themselves active, for example to give you push notifications or to send and receive data in the background. When you close such an app that runs in the background (in the app settings of Android or via a task killer or ram booster), the app will simply start again. So you actually free up RAM for a very short moment, but restarting these apps ultimately costs more system capacity and therefore battery. The stability of the apps is also not good. So feel free to ditch the task killer and memory optimization feature of apps like CCleaner.

Apps that are active in the background also address the system when you have your device in standby. When Android is on standby, it likes to go into a kind of deep sleep, where the processor is inactive, so that hardly any battery is used. Background apps, however, wake the system from its deep sleep, for example the mail app that checks whether a new mail has already arrived. When an app wakes the device from deep sleep, it is called a wakelock and especially when this happens regularly, it has a dramatic effect on battery life. You notice this especially if you notice that the battery drains quickly without using the device.

If you have gained root access on your Android, then you can get a little deeper insight into wakelocks on your device. With the Wakelock Detector app you can see exactly how your Android sleeps: what percentage of the time that you are not using the device is the device actually working? Which apps cause these wakelocks? And what type of wakelocks are caused: a wakelock where only the processor is addressed or a (rarer, but more battery-unfriendly) wakelock that also switches on the screen?


One of the great advantages of Android over the competing operating systems is the widgets you can place on your home screens. Keep in mind, however, that widgets make the accompanying app run in the background quite a bit. Remove unused widgets and you will soon notice a difference in battery life and speed. The same goes for dynamic backgrounds, by the way. They look and flash, but take their toll on the system.

04 Greenify

Task killers are therefore not recommended on your Android device. But how do you ensure that apps in the background do not eat too much and cause wakelocks? This is where an app like Greenify comes in handy. Greenify also puts background processes into a kind of deep sleep, which puts less strain on the system. Greenify works best if you have rooted your device and have Xposed installed, but it works fine without it. In the app you will see a list of all apps that are running in the background. Select the apps you want to snooze and press the sleep button. The widget is also handy, so you have a button on your home screen with which you immediately snooze the previously selected apps.

Recognize battery guzzlers

Do you want insight into what the major battery drainers of your device are? Then go to the Institutions and choose there Battery. The largest consumers are listed here. The lower the percentages of the largest consumers, the healthier your device. The screen is often reported as one of the major consumers. You get this percentage lowered by of course having the screen on less often and for a long time, but also by setting the brightness a bit lower. You do this at Settings / Display.

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