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How to get your Android phone back in shape

Chris Nerney | Aug. 22, 2014
Your Android phone is a lot like your body. Just as your body can become bloated, sluggish and out of shape over time, your smartphone can gradually accumulate apps, data, and other excess baggage through bad habits and indulgences gone unchecked.

Your Android phone is a lot like your body. Just as your body can become bloated, sluggish and out of shape over time, your smartphone can gradually accumulate apps, data, and other excess baggage through bad habits and indulgences gone unchecked.

I'm talking about your bad habits and indulgences. It's not like your smartphone gained all that additional weight (in the form of app bloat and other things) by itself. You, with your impulsive downloads and fleeting interests, have become an enabler!

But just as a couple of good fitness apps can turn your smartphone into a personal trainer, you can return the favor by taking a few steps that will help  whip your smartphone into the lean, mean productivity (and play) machine it was always meant to be.

And there's no better time to do this than during the dog days of summer, when the work world slows down and you finally have some time to think and focus on the needs of your loved ones. Your family too.

So here's a quick guide to a summer shape-up program for your Android smartphone:

Gauge your smartphone's apps gut

This is the smartphone equivalent of standing in front of the mirror naked. Go to Settings and find your list of apps (they might be under "App Manager" or simply "Apps," depending on what kind of mobile device you own).

And now look. Look! A large chunk of that storage is taken up by the kinds of pre-loaded apps that manufacturers stuff onto a mobile device, most of which is just an exercise in branding. Most pre-loaded apps don't seem to have an "uninstall" feature, so I concentrate on the apps I've downloaded, all of which I can uninstall.

There are 68 downloaded apps in my device's app manager. I went right down the list, and if I couldn't remember what an app is for or the last time I used it, I uninstalled it. So I dumped Fandango, Speedtest, SoundHound, Yammer, Waze, Zedge and a few others.

I know, some of these apps — particularly Waze and Fandango — are very useful. But not if you don't use them! And remember, if you uninstall an app and decide down the road that you need it, just download it again. But the odds are you won't miss any of them.

Download a tune-up app

Going through your apps manually can be an eye-opener, but in the long run you'll be better served by downloading an app to help you maintain your phone.

There are a number of them out there, but the one I downloaded from Google Play is called Power Tune-Up by Bitdefender.

 

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