People often complain that there is no room left on their phone to install apps and that it is running slowly and badly. There are many reasons for this and one is that you simply have the wrong apps.
I see people struggling with their Android phones (it happens to iPhone users too), and when I take a look at what is on the phone, I often see apps that just aren’t necessary. They are surplus to requirements.
The reason they are not necessary is because there are built in apps that do more or less the same thing. This depends on what phone model you have and what apps the manufacturer has bundled with it, but top end phones usually have a few useful apps and some built in functions that might mean you don’t need some apps you have installed.
The battery in phones never lasts as long as we would like and some people find that it does not even last a day. One reason for this is the large number of apps that are installed. Many apps run in the background and they increase the power consumption.
Install a battery monitoring app and there is yet another app that is running in the background. This means that more power is used, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen. Uninstall any battery monitoring or battery extender apps because you do not need them and you can use the built in facilities.
Android is pretty good at monitoring the battery and showing which apps are using the most power and you can see the battery usage in Settings.
On a Samsung Galaxy S6 running Android 6 for example, pull down from the top of the screen and press the gear icon. Find Battery among the setting and press it. This displays a summary and you can see the current battery level and the estimated length of time it will last.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has power saving and ultra power saving modes, and the estimated time on batter for these is displayed too.
Tap the BATTERY USAGE button and it displays a very nice chart showing how the battery level has fallen since it was last charged. It the green bit is past usage and the grey bit is future usage. You can see the estimated time the battery will expire.
Scroll down the screen and you can see a list of apps sorted by the amount of power they have consumed. This can be used to find the worst apps on your phone. You might want to consider replacing them with another similar app or using them less.
On the Battery home screen, this phone has an App power saving section with a Details button. Press it and turn on App power saving if it is not already on. This puts apps you have not run for three days into a deep sleep so they draw less or even no power. It helps to extend the battery running time.
Task killers and cleanup tools
Another app that people often install is a task killer. This kills apps that run in the background in an attempt to cut down on the power consumption. The task killer is yet another app that is running in the background, so it adds to the problem. Do you need it?
You might be better off without the task killer. One reason is that some apps simply start up again if you stop them, so there is no benefit. Some apps do stop when forcibly quit though. However, your phone may have a built in feature that can do the same thing.
On the Samsung Galaxy S6 for example, press the left hardware button at the bottom to display all the running apps. Tap CLOSE ALL or swipe away the ones you are not using to shut them down.
Samsung bundles a cleanup tool called Smart Manager. Go to the all apps screen and run it. It shows the battery, storage and RAM usage. At the bottom is a simple CLEAN ALL button that clears temporary files, caches, and junk in memory. It also shuts unnecessary apps running the background.
It increases free memory and increases the storage available. It is not automatic like some task killers and cleanup tools, so you do have to remember to run it, but it means you don’t have to install a separate app or apps – some people have both task killer and cleanup tool.
Exercise and health apps
Some people have a running or walking app, a heart rate monitor, a diet monitor, a weight tracker and so on. There may be two, three or four apps for monitoring exercise and health, but do you need them?
Your phone might come with a perfectly adequate exercise and health monitoring app and you might not need another one. That means you are saving the space, memory and power consumption of up to four apps. Your phone will last longer and run faster without them.
S Health, which has been bundled with top end Samsung phones for years, is actually a pretty good app these days and it can perform the task of many other apps. You should get to know it because it has lots of functions for tracking diet, exercise and health.
It tracks your steps and can tell when you are walking or running. This information is displayed in several ways and there is a large circular graphic with separate walking and running totals in figures, a steps chart with hour by hour breakdown, calories burnt, distance travelled and longest period of activity.
It tracks your weight, food eaten and caffeine consumed if you manually enter them on a regular basis.
Using the sensors on the phone, you can measure your stress level, the oxygen saturation of your blood, and heart rate. It does not measure them with the accuracy of medical equipment of course, but nevertheless, the figures are a rough guide that are helpful. There is even a step counter and running counter widget you can place on the home screen.
There is more than enough here to satisfy most fitness and health fanatics without installing any extra apps. Fewer apps mean more memory, storage and battery life.
Not all phones have such a good fitness and health app, but it is worth checking your phone’s bundled software.
Data usage is a constant worry for some people and that is because of the large bills that can result from using more than your allowance. It is easy to go over the limit, especially if you have a low data allowance on your phone contract.
To help keep an eye on how much data is being used, many people install an app. The problem is that it uses battery power, memory and storage space. Do you need it? No.
Pull down from the top of the screen and press the gear icon to open Settings, then press Data usage. The data usage is shown as a bar chart and the amount in megabytes is displayed in figures. You can set the start date of the billing period if it is not the first of the month.
The red line is a data limit that has been set and mobile data is automatically turned off when that amount has been used. You can set it to whatever your contract allows and you won’t go over, so there won’t be any nasty surprises by accidentally using too much. The black line is a warning level, so you’ll be warned when this much data has been used.
You can drag the lines up or down to set the levels according to your contract. Swiping up the screen reveals a list of apps and the amount of data that each one has used. The ones at the top of the list have used the most. Tap an app and even more information is displayed, such as the amount of data consumed when using the app and the amount it has used in the background.
Ask yourself how many apps you could live without. Are some of them duplicating functions of the phone and apps bundled with it? Reducing the number of apps will benefit the storage space, memory, processing power and battery life.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 11 April 2016