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The smartphone nowadays is more than just a simple calling device. The Android phone or iPhone that you own is a powerful mini-computer that allows you to surf the web, check emails, chat with friends, read books, listen to music, watch videos or even work while on the move. Thus, it can be a frustrating experience when it lags terribly, or the battery runs out of juice very quickly. With a little (and regular) maintenance and the help of several applications, you can easily get your phone to perform at its best, consistency.
Protecting your Android phone is the most important thing that you need to do. Having a virus or malware attack on you is no joke. It might cause your phone to lag, applications to crash and the performance to deteriorate. On a heavier scale, it can also send unauthorized (and expensive) SMS or make oversea call without your knowledge. Worst still, it accesses your file folders or emails and steals your confidential data.
1. Install anti-virus software
Unlike the anti-virus suite you install on your PC, the anti-virus applications for Android often come with much more features than just simple virus scanning. Avast Mobile Security is one anti-virus app that I use and love. It comes with a virus and malware scanner for the apps you installed and the files you downloaded, a privacy advisor that shows the privacy issue for each app, a firewall that you can use to configure which apps can access the Internet and lastly, a comprehensive anti-theft feature.
2. Backup your system
If you have associated your Android phone with your Google account, there is an option in the phone that allows you to sync your data (all apps installed from the Play Store, WiFi, passwords and other settings) to the Google server. For apps that you installed directly using the .apk file (Google doesn’t sync apps that are not installed from Play Store), you can make use of Astro file manager to backup the app. If you have a rooted device, the Titanium backup is a better choice since it backups your app settings as well. Lastly, you might want to sync your files with Dropbox or Box. One tool that I use to sync between phone and Dropbox is Dropspace.
One of the main factor that affects your phone performance is the battery life. Before we go on to fix the battery life, it is best to go to “Menu -> Settings -> Battery” to check out which function is sucking away all your battery juice. In most, if not all, Android phone, the screen will be the killer followed by the Android OS.
To combat this:
3. Switch to Auto-brightness for your screen setting
At the Brightness section in the Settings, set the phone brightness to “auto-brightness” mode. In this mode, the phone will detect the surrounding light and adjust the screen brightness accordingly. Alternatively, you can turn the screen brightness to the lowest when you are indoor and switch to auto-brightness when you are outdoor. An easier way is to place a Brightness toggle widget on your home screen so you can switch between each brightness level quickly and easily.
4. Disable battery-sucking settings in standby mode
If you care about your battery life, Juice Defender is the app that you must install. It helps to preserve your battery life by automatically turn off the battery sucking settings (such as 3G mode, screen brightness etc) when your phone is in standby mode. I have been able to stretch my battery life to 25 hours (from 18 hours) right by installing this app.
5. Monitor apps and kill them when they misbehave
Watchdog Task Manager is one app that you can install and leave it to do its work. WatchDog works quietly in the background to monitor your Android system for misbehaved apps and kill them when they are taking up chunks of your CPU power. It will ensure that your Android phone is always at its tip-top conditions and is not affected by any poorly-coded app.
6. Clean up your system cache, history and temporary files
Just like the browser in your PC, the more cache, history and temporary files it have, the slower it runs. This is especially if you have limited (internal) storage space on your phone. One tool that I use is the ZDBox. It comes with a system cleaner function that allows you to clean your system with one click. Other than that, ZDBox also has app locking, task killing, battery saving and do not disturb feature. All these made it a versatile, useful and handy tool for your Android phone.
Your smartphone should be able to improve your efficiency and help you to do more things with lesser efforts.
7. Automate the mundane tasks
Llama is one powerful (and free) and easy to use app that you can use to automate plenty of stuff on your phone. You can get it to automatically switch phone profile (Silent, Loud, Vibrate etc) according to preset events. You can also set rules and conditions and get it to perform tasks when the rules/conditions are met. One rule that I set is for it to switch to flight mode during sleeping hours. This will ensure that I have a peaceful sleep and save my battery life as well.
8. Change the workflow
The best way to improve your productivity is to change the workflow of your phone. If your Home launcher is very limiting and doesn’t allow you to do custom configuration, it is best to switch to one that gives you flexibility. There are plenty of launcher apps out there, with ADW Launcher, Go Launcher and LauncherPro among the more popular one. Most of them come with plenty of configuration options for you to customize your homescreen to the way you like it.
What other tips do you have to get the best out of your Android phone?
Image credit: By MJ/TR (´???)
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by H&R Block® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of H&R Block®”
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