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Speed up Android browsing, turn off Flash

Your web browsing experience on an Android smartphone is strongly influenced by the power of your phone, but turning down a few key settings can make a huge difference.

Plenty has been said about mobile devices and Adobe Flash, with the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously slamming Adobe in an open letter that outlined the numerous reasons why Apple refuses to support Flash web elements in browsers on iOS devices. Jobs claimed Flash was "unstable", and that it "sapped battery life".

Regardless, Android-powered devices continue to be compatible with Adobe's Flash technology, allowing users to interact with web content, play games and watch video. But it's also the way most websites power animated advertising and it can be a strain on the processing power of phones, especially lower powered, budget-priced models.

Switch plug-ins to "on-demand" for speedier page loads. (Credit: CBSi)

If you want to speed up your web browsing experience on your Android smartphone, switching the browser's Flash settings to "on-demand" will make a noticeable difference to the load times of full-sized web pages. Testing this out on a few of our favourite desktop websites, including cnet.com.au, we saw a speed improvement of about 20 per cent.

If you want to halve the time spent watching web pages load, you can also consider turning JavaScript off as well. JavaScript is another web tool used to power animated sections of sites, usually image galleries and front page carousels. Turning off JavaScript will significantly speed up your browsing, but it will also make most web pages look plain and lifeless. This is fine for catching up on the daily news, but you'll want to switch it back on before diving into your favourite scandalous gossip rags.

Switching off JavaScript will speed up your browsing, but at the expense of your web experience. (Credit: CBSi)

Also, don't forget to choose mobile versions of your favourite sites where possible. Most web pages will automatically direct you to the mobile version when the page detects a mobile browser, but if it doesn't, try replacing the "www" in the address with an "m" and see what happens.