Business Today
Speed Up Your Sluggish Device

From smartphones to laptops and tablets, most devices slow down over time, but there are ways to boost their speed

Speed Up Your Sluggish Device

Illustration by Raj Verma

Let us admit it. There is nothing more frustrating when our smartphones, laptops or tablets (yes, even the premium Apple products) slow down, freeze and start crashing. Life in the slow lane is unenviable when the world is getting ready for super-fast 5G devices and tech giant Google is reportedly developing a 'never slow' mode for its Chrome browser. One way out is to replace your old device with a new one, but even flagship gadgets with the best processors are not immune to lagging, especially when you are using too many apps or storing too many files. Before you give up on your current device because its speed and performance have gone down, try our tips to find a suitable fix.

Clean up: Make it a habit to clear all 'cached' data (mainly junk or temporary files), cookies and even browsing history. But save data such as passwords or links to websites you plan to visit later.

Shed weight: Delete all unimportant files, be it junk mail or forwarded audios, videos and images. Put together, they often take a huge chunk of the storage, leaving little space for essential apps and updates. Do a quick check from system settings to find out how much space is consumed by each programme, app and content file and delete everything that is not required. You can also do this using the File Manager that creates different folders for WhatsApp, camera and other applications.

Be careful about app overexposure as we often download some apps out of curiosity but lose interest after a while. If you have a slow device, remove the apps you rarely use or disable them if they are pre-installed. Then again, there are gaming apps can which run into gigabytes. For instance, PUBG Mobile (Player Unknown's Battlegrounds) or Asphalt 9: Legends could take up to 2 GB space and drain the battery. A good alternative is to use lightweight versions of these apps, designed for devices with low processing power.

Close apps when not in use: Most of us do not turn off the apps when we exit them. Consequently, they continue to run in the background and consume system resources. Close all programmes and apps you are not using to free up the RAM or Random Access Memory (virtual memory for storing codes and data currently in use to ensure it can be quickly accessed by the processor) and you will get a snappy performance. Better still, shut down your devices when your work is over as it will prevent them from using up processor, memory and battery life more than it is required.

Use memory card or external storage: Running out of internal storage is a key reason for slowdown. If your device supports expandable memory, insert a memory card and transfer movies, videos, images and other bulky files to free up disc space. Even apps can be transferred to a memory card if they come with a 'move' option, but it depends on hardware manufacturers and app developers. Freeing up space by taking data back-up on an external hard drive and upgrading the RAM will also speed things up.

Stay tuned to updates: This is tricky. Keeping the software (especially security patches) up to date should be mandatory but it may actually slow down your device for a number of reasons. To start with, there could be a crunch in storage space when you download the software with all its new features. Hardware incompatibility is another key concern. Interestingly, Apple had reportedly replaced 11 million iPhone batteries between 2017 and 2018 (it usually replaces one-two million each year) when an iOS 11 update came out with a power management feature that slowed down some older iPhones with degrading batteries. So, prior to updating, do a quick Internet search and find out what other users have to say. If your hardware supports all new features and the device has enough free storage, you should go ahead for an update.

Opt for factory reset: If nothing else works, take a back-up of your data and do a factory reset. This will wipe out all data and custom settings, but you can set up the device from scratch and get the best results now that the cruft is gone. Be smart when configuring; select only useful apps and do not put the entire data back onto the device.


Fix Your iPad

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If you care about timely software updates to keep your devices working without a hitch, Apple is bound to be your choice. The company rolls out major improvements every year but has not abandoned the earlier versions. For instance, the current iOS 12 supports the iPad Mini 2 tablet, iPad Air and even the iPhone 5s, all of them launched in 2013. However, you must have enough space to accommodate the new features if you want to update your iOS device without slowing it down. It is easy to instal any app on an Android device via Android Package Kit of APK files (the package file format used by the Android OS for distribution and installation of mobile apps), but Apple does not support third-party installation and you have to get it from the App Store.

In case you are not able to update your iPad by installing the latest software or have an incompatible older version, do not worry. You may still be able to download the most compatible apps for your iPad. Go to the App Store, open your Account page, tap on Purchased and select Get (next to the app). Now a pop-up will state: The current version requires the latest OS but you will be able to download the last compatible version. Use the Download button in the pop-up to instal the most compatible version of the app on your iPad. This works for all the apps you have downloaded/purchased earlier. Apps purchased on new iOS devices using the same Apple ID will also come up in the purchase history displayed on the older device.

@nidhisingal

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