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13 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Cell Phone

Is your cell phone dragging? Here are some quick and easy things you can do to give it a much-needed speed fix.

diagnose the problem

Diagnose the problem

First things first: figure out what is putting the lead weight around your former speed demon’s neck. More often than not, it’s too much storage eating up your phone’s memory. For iPhone users, CNET suggests that you go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage and select Manage Storage. Here you’ll find a graph explaining your memory usage, and some helpful suggestions to get some back, including offloading unused apps, enabling iCloud photo library, and review large attachments that you may want to delete. Check out these hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.

two second fixes

Two-second fix for iPhones

Macworld advises a good and super easy first step is shutting down any apps you’re not using. Double-click the Home button on your phone, which reveals all of the apps that are open. Then, simply swipe up on any you’re not using to quickly close them. Have a ton going at once? Macworld suggests “Swipe to close three apps with up to three fingers to speed up the process a little bit.” Make sure you know these 13 ways to get better cell reception at home.

remove unused apps

Get rid of unused apps

Don’t just close them, send them packing. An easy way to quickly find some space is to delete seldom used apps, say the experts at Android Pit. “Tap the entry for an app you no longer need and then tap Uninstall. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary for any apps you feel you can live without.” These tricks will help you use less cell phone data, and lower your phone bill.

clear cached data

Make sure your software is up to date

Don’t ignore those notifications to update your software, write the experts at Android Pit, “Software updates are not always about new features. Most of the time they also contain bug-fixes and performance enhancements that can significantly speed up your device’s operation.”

reduce motion and animations

Kill those animations

Motion effects and animations might make your phone more fun to use, but they can slow things down. For Android users, Asurion tech expert Auralia Baggett explains that you go to Settings > Developer Mode > Animation Scale > Animations OFF. If you have an iPhone, CNET says go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and tap the toggle switch to turn on Reduce Motion. “You can also toggle off Auto-Play Message Effects,” they write, “but that’ll take some of the fun out of texting.” Here are 12 genius uses for your old cell phone.

clear cached data

Clear your phone’s cached data

“Just like when you clear your web browser cache to speed it up, you can do the same for your cell phone,” says Holly Zink, a tech expert for Digital Addicts. “Removing your phone’s cached data can help it run a little faster.” Tom’s Guide instructs Android users to do the following: Setting > Storage > Cached Data > Clear.

clear safari history and website data

Clear your Safari cookies and data

On your iPhone, Macworld suggests emptying Safari’s data and cookies to free up memory. Go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. (Note: This will zap your browsing preferences on sites you visit frequently.)

delete messages

Delete messages

Macworld notes that old texts, particularly ones with images and videos, can eat up more storage space than you realize, and will slow you down as a result. It’s an easy fix—unless you are a text hoarder who just can’t let go. If that’s the case, get yourself an intervention and force yourself to do the following: Open Messages, locate unneeded threads, swipe right, and tap Delete.

delete pre-installed apps

Disable pre-installed apps

“On mostly every cell phone, there are pre-installed applications that you may never use,” says Holly Zink from Digital Addicts. “For the apps that you won’t use, you can disable or ‘force stop’ them. Similar to deleting applications, this will help free up phone space and lessen the amount of background data.” Check out these cybersecurity secrets hackers don’t want you to know.

factory reset

Do a factory reset

“Whenever I notice my phone starting to bog down, I perform a factory reset,” says Paul Bischoff from “That may seem like overkill, but it’s really not that big of a deal these days. Android will automatically download and re-install all my apps, so I just need to back up photos and files beforehand. A factory reset is like spring cleaning, after which you have a lot more space, less crap, and everything runs much more efficiently. The whole process is fairly easy and only takes an hour or so.”

turn-off auto updates

Stop automatic updates

CNET notes that while updating apps in the background make things easier for the user, it can put a strain on your phone’s computing power. They suggest shutting that helpful trick off: Settings > iTunes & App Store and tap the toggle switch to turn off Updates in the Automatic Downloads section.

wack widgets

Wack those widgets

To speed up your Android, the pros at Android Pit suggest disabling widgets on your phone that you don’t use often or at all. And if you’re still uncomfortable about Facebook’s creepily accurate advertisements, here’s how to turn them off.

check battery health

Give your battery a health checkup

Apple finally admitted what iPhone users all suspected for a long time: iPhones are designed to get slower as they age. says Apple’s “power management” feature affects iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE (iOS 10.2.1 or later), iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (iOS 11.2 or later). The site has a handy-dandy guide to check your iPhone’s battery health and how to cure it.

Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.